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Ont. distillery makes vodka from cow’s milk

Ont. distillery makes vodka from cow’s milk

Dairy Distillery produces a vodka aptly named Vodkow

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

An Ontario agribusiness has found a unique use for locally produced milk.

Dairy Distillery in Almonte, Ont. uses cow’s milk to create vodka. The company markets the product under the name Vodkow.

Omid McDonald, founder of Dairy Distillery, thought of using cow’s milk to produce this beverage after conversations with his wife’s cousin, Neal McCarten. The pair discussed how farmers were disposing of skim milk because of excess volumes.

McDonald reached an agreement with Parmalat to use its unwanted milk permeate, which is the remnants of the process of removing fats and proteins to make dairy products like ice cream, cheese and butter.

Typically, producers and processors must pay to dispose of permeate.

Using dairy in alcohol presents a unique opportunity for the spirits sector, as well as for the dairy industry, McDonald said.

“Right now the alcohol industry, other than us, purchases nothing from the dairy industry,” he told CBC yesterday. “We hope more people will start making use of this lactose, which is currently being wasted. So, we will see it as a positive thing if other people also started working with milk-based spirits.”

“By buying milk permeate, we will also help Ontario dairy farmers,” Dairy Distillery’s website says.

The distillery worked with the University of Ottawa to find a yeast that can work with lactose.

Even those that are lactose intolerant can enjoy Vodkow, McDonald said.

“The yeast will cleave the lactose into their basic sugars and then eat those sugars,” he told CBC. “So, there is absolutely no lactose in the final product.” has reached out to Dairy Distillery for more information on their products. has also reached out to Dairy Farmers of Ontario for comment on the importance of finding uses for all dairy products.

Omid McDonald/CBC photo


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