Anchor Distilling Company, taking advantage of its brewing heritage, has become the latest distiller to put hops in a spirit.
Distilled entirely from two types of dried hops from Washington State’s Yakima Valley, Hophead is a vodka built on flavor, but is not a “flavored” vodka. This premium craft vodka captures the fresh, aromatic character of hops without the typical bitterness.
David King, president of Anchor Distilling and the creative mind behind brands like No. 3 London Dry Gin, The King’s Ginger Liqueur and Pink Pigeon Rum, arrived at Anchor in 2011 and was immediately mesmerized by the aroma of hops permeating Anchor’s brewery and distillery. No stranger to innovation, David thought, “We have all these hops and a distillery on site – why not combine the two?” After much experimentation, head distiller, Bruce Joseph and brew master, Mark Carpenter, two of the original visionaries of Old Potrero Whiskey and Junipero Gin, developed Hophead Vodka using Anchor’s small copper pot stills and two varieties of hops used in the brewery.
“We’ve been looking to add a vodka to our portfolio for quite some time, but couldn’t seem to find the right fit,” added King. “So we decided to distill our own, blending the history and heritage of our brewery and distillery, creating an amazing liquid that fits perfectly in our portfolio of craft spirits.”
The hop-spirit combo is gaining in popularity. Tennessee's Corsair distillery, for instance, recently launched a series of hopped whiskeys, including Hopmonster and Rasputin.