Sometimes, inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places. Tina Karras moved to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming a singer-songwriter. While she was pursuing her dreams and recording her first album, she worked in restaurants and music venues as a bartender, waitress, and manager. There, she discovered the industry’s need for a vodka sourced from organic corn that is both delicious and sold at a reasonable price.
Current standard farming practices heavily utilize genetically modified (GMO) crops designed to be resistant to the pesticides that have taken such a hold in the industrial farming industry. By trying to produce as much agricultural output in as little time as possible, larger agricultural companies are changing the natural order of things, harming the planet — and the consumer — in the process.
The difference in organic vodka
Whereas many domestic vodkas are produced with GMO corn sprayed with pesticides like glyphosate, Tina’s Planet Vodka is made with non-GMO corn. The company is now in the process of obtaining their non-GMO and USDA Organic certifications. As a result, consumers know that when they buy Tina’s Planet Vodka, they are purchasing a vodka made with the highest-quality organic ingredients.
For Karras, vodka was a natural product to target for an organic option. “I’m a big fan of vodka, and it’s been my go-to spirit for years,” she says. “It’s just such a versatile liquor, being a fundamental part of many staple cocktails. Many people, myself included, like to eat organic food as much as possible. But for liquors, there aren’t that many options for savvy consumers to choose from. We hope to fix that with Tina’s Planet Vodka.”
As an avid vodka enthusiast herself, Karras has noticed a distinct difference in the taste between her organically-sourced vodka and other vodka produced with GMO corn. “Tina’s Planet Vodka has a natural, subtle sweetness to it from the organic corn,” she explains, “and our proprietary organic coconut shell filtration system removes all the impurities, making for a very clean vodka. It gives the vodka a different mouth feel that is wonderfully smooth.”
How Tina’s Planet Vodka will change the industry for the better
With Tina’s Planet Vodka, Karras hopes that she will be able to set an example for the craft spirits industry, and that others like her will help to completely revolutionize the way that the industry operates. Studies have shown that spirits have a massive carbon footprint, producing 6.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per 750mL bottle of alcohol, and 12 times as much wastewater as the amount of alcohol produced. By switching to organic sources of produce, distillers have the opportunity to significantly reduce their negative impact on the environment.
Karras is a big supporter of regenerative farming. Although the company is still in its infancy, she knew the importance of these more sustainable farming practices and made an early commitment to the Kiss the Ground movement. “Through my partnership with Kiss the Ground, I can talk about regenerative agriculture in a visual way with the film, trailer, interactive website, and social media,” she adds. “The movement perfectly fits my ethos of organic non-GMO produce and gives back to the farmers that feed us.”
Karras proposes that our quality of life will vastly improve if we cooperate with the planet, rather than continue interfering with its natural order. “Throughout history, we’ve had so many examples of how detrimental it is to disturb Earth’s natural rhythm,” Karras asserts. “Think back to the Black Death in Europe when they killed all the cats only to have the plague-infected rat population explode, or the Chinese famine in the ’50s when they killed all the sparrows to stop them from eating some of the crops, not realizing they were the natural predator to the locusts who then ate all of the crops.”
By organically sourcing the non-GMO corn her company uses to distill its vodka, Karras hopes to show the rest of the industry that natural is the best approach to take. Not only is it much better for the environment, but it also has a significantly cleaner, smoother taste. If the rest of the industry follows Karras’s lead, the result will be a spirits industry with a less harmful ecological footprint.