May 28, 2024
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Oxnard distillery’s vodka wins top award again


Founder and CEO of Oxnard-based Sespe Creek Distillery, Alfred English, alongside his team, had one goal in mind when they were setting out to make their own vodka — to be different.

“At the time, everyone believed all vodkas tasted the same, and sadly for vodka, they weren’t wrong,” English told the Business Times via email.

The team appears to have accomplished that goal as for the second year in a row, Silvergrin Vodka was awarded the prestigious title of “Best Vodka in America” at the renowned World Vodka Awards, Sespe announced in a June 26 press release.

“We are immensely proud to receive this prestigious accolade and be recognized as the Best Vodka in America, especially for consecutive years. The fact we didn’t win just once, but twice in a row, clearly shows that there’s a way to make better vodka, and not all vodkas have to taste the same anymore,” English said.

The World Vodka Awards is one of the most esteemed international spirits competitions, the company said in a press release, bringing together industry experts, distinguished judges, and passionate vodka enthusiasts to evaluate and recognize the finest vodkas in various categories.

The Best Varietal Vodka category acknowledges the pinnacle of excellence in the production of varietal vodka.

It is meant to highlight vodkas that exhibit utmost purity, clarity, and cleanliness while embracing a nuanced expression of the base ingredients.

Sespe’s Silvergrin Vodka is a blend of three crops, potatoes, wheat and corn, that are meant to highlight the U.S.’s strong agricultural legacy, the company said in a press release.

“We call it the ‘Extra Honest Vodka’ because it’s farm-distilled the old-fashioned way and retains the truth and character of the crops that went into it,” English said in a press release. 

“When you use three different, extraordinary crops like those grown by our friends in Montana’s Gallatin Valley, and then combine those together in the right ratio with the right mineral water, you get a vodka with so much balance, rich texture and fresh taste, well, you can just swig it straight out of the bottle.”

The press release included one remark from the judges of the competition for the Oxnard-produced Vodka, stating it has “Hints of sweetness on the nose with creamy mouthfeel and notes of vanilla. Good amount of spicy character with hints of berry sweetness on the finish. Notes of dried apricots with caramel undertones.” 

Sespe currently has eight employees in its Oxnard operations and offers four products since being founded five years ago: Warbringer Whiskey, Warmaster Edition Whiskey, Parlor Cay Rum and Silvergrin Vodka.

“Our plans for the future are to continue honoring the past with Old World spirits that are white knuckle crafted for eye-popping character and quality,” English said.

“And tacos. Lots of tacos.”

A Business Times 2022 report found that, at the time, there were 161 licensed craft distilleries in the state, according to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and at least 20 of them were in the Tri-Counties, showcasing the Central Coast’s potential to be a leader in the craft distillery space.

English shares a similar sentiment as the Central Coast boasts a diverse range of spirits, from artisanal vodkas and gins to meticulously crafted whiskeys and brandies, he said.

“This variety reflects the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the distillers who are constantly pushing boundaries and exploring new flavor profiles. It’s a testament to the talent and dedication within the Central Coast distillery community,” he said.

“We believe that the distillery scene on the Central Coast will continue to thrive and evolve. As more enthusiasts discover the region’s exceptional spirits, the demand for locally crafted and truly stand-out products will continue to grow. We are proud to be a part of this dynamic community and look forward to the continued success and innovation within the Central Coast distillery scene.”