Emily Darchuk is revolutionizing the dairy and liquor industries by turning whey into vodka. She originally got this idea when she was out visiting local farms. She noticed that there was an abundance of whey that was getting thrown away at the end of every day. It was wasteful that all of this unused product was leftover with no purpose to it. Since she is also a chemist, she knew that the leftover product could be turned into alcohol. After playing around with some formulas, she finally got the perfect recipe, and Wheyward Spirit was born.
A different whey
Before she was making barrels of vodka, Darchuk was actually a food scientist. She worked as a product developer that focused on turning consumer needs into tangible products through the use of science. When she was out in the field collecting data firsthand, she got to see the amount of whey waste that happens on the daily. There are hundreds of millions of pounds of whey that get lost through the cheese-making process. There is nothing wrong or unhealthy about whey except for the fact that there wasn’t a market out there for it. After two to three years of hard work, she figured out how to make alcohol out of the product. This completely transformed the steps they took for making their alcohol.
How does it work?
Darchuk makes sure to work closely with local dairy farmers, specifically those who make cheese. Every 10 pounds of milk they bring in their door means nine pounds of leftover whey. By working with these cheesemakers, they find the highest quality whey and collect it to take it to their distillery to start the alcohol-making process. It is a win-win situation for every party involved.
For more on the food industry, check out this video.