Startup company is sweet on vodka made from Minnesota sugar beets


A new Minnesota entry in the U.S. vodka industry hopes to beat its established rivals with beets.

Makers of a new vodka brand called Bet (pronounced "beet"), will sell a product distilled not from potatoes or rye but from northern Minnesota sugar beets.

Ben Brueshoff, who launched Bet with fellow Twin Citian Jerad Poling, tells the Business Journal the first bottles should arrive at liquor stores this weekend, with the brand gradually expanding to more stores and bars.

Bet will be made at 45th Parallel Distillery in New Richmond, Wisconsin, the Business Journal reports, with bottles selling for $30 to $34.

Sugar beets have been gaining a foothold in the vodka production in recent years.

Last winter a distillery in Missoula became the first in Montana to use sugar beets in making vodkas infused with flavors ranging from huckleberry to vanilla to bacon.

Orange County Distillery in New York, bills itself as a farm to bottle craft distillery and brags "We can pull a sugar beet out of the ground and turn it into vodka within a week."

The good stuff #gin: 30 , corn whiskey : 24 , sugar beet vodka : 27 - all the stuff is made in Orange County #ny

A photo posted by Kishi Arora (@kishiarora) on Aug 7, 2015 at 2:28pm PDT

Nowhere in America are more sugar beets pulled out of the ground than in the Red River Valley.

The American Sugar Beet Growers say only 11 states produce beets and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota are the country's "largest and most dynamic region for sugar beet production."

If Americans cultivate a taste for vodka made from beets, it could bring an economic boost to the Valley. As with corn and soybean farmers, sugar beet growers have generally seen strong harvests but weak market prices in recent years.

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