While “drink responsibly” is a common phrase, you rarely if ever are told to “drink eco-responsibly”
In 2008, Melkon Khosrovian had been successfully making spirits for about four years when he hit a roadblock. He and his wife had transitioned from amateur home infusers to bonafide distillery owners in 2004, with the opening of their Monrovia, California Greenbar Distillery, and their recipes and methods were locked in solid. But during a three month period in early 2008, batch after batch of flavored vodkas such as grapefruit honey or celery peppercorn, turned out poorly. "We kept making the same thing, with the same ingredients, but one ingredient was overwhelmingly dominant each time," he says. "We couldn't figure out what was going on."
The problem, it turns out, was the fruit Khosrovian was sourcing from local California farmers. Self-described as someone "chasing flavor," Khosrovian had constantly been asking the farmers he purchased from for "the most flavorful, most aromatic things" they grew. When the farmers switched to organic practices, they began sending Greenbar organic produce, knowing Khosrovian would appreciate the upgrade in quality, but without telling him or increasing the price. "Once we understood the reason for the change, we realized this stuff is so much more flavorful," he says. "We can make better liquor."