I was recently invited to a launch party for Sidney Frank’s newest product, American Harvest Organic Spirit. As someone who made my living in the bar business for the better par tof my life, the Sidney Frank Importing Company is a heavyweight in liquor marketing and promotions, so these invitations are coveted, and their events are must attends!
In the 80’s Sidney Frank made a little known herbal concoction named Jagermeister, into a monster of brand, and even created a new drink category, by introducing the ever popular Jagerbomb- Jager mixed
with an energy drink, like Red Bull. The brand has proved to have longevity and has remained a top seller for decades. In 2012, Jagermeister was the #8 most sold liquor brand in Ohio, selling 256,526 gallons.
Sidney Frank’s next big hit came out in the late 90’s, with Grey Goose, when they introduced this French made vodka and sold it for a super premium price. Grey Goose became such a success that Sidney Frank eventually was able to sell the brand to Bacardi for $2 billion in 2004. I give you this history so you understand why when Sidney Frank announced they were introducing a new vodka (now that enough time has passed that their non-compete has expired), most people in the industry, including me, were curious with high expectations.
Would they be able to create another homeroom with an American made vodka? If messaging counts for anything, Sidney Frank has all the right buzz words wrapped into their pitch:
American Harvest is handcrafted in small batches from organic winter wheat grown on a family owned and sustainably managed American farm. It is distilled and bottled in Rigby, Idaho using water from aquifers deep beneath the Snake River plain. The result is a distinctly smooth and silky spirit with a crisp, clean taste. American Harvest is the creation of Sidney Frank Importing Company, Inc., a third generation family business that is 100% US owned and operated.
From field to bottle, American Harvest takes steps to ensure that they produce a product that is not only of the highest quality but also does not compromise the environment. In addition to adhering to strict organic and sustainable growing practices for all its ingredients, AH also has no artificial additives or preservatives and the distillery supports renewable energy resources through the use of local wind generated power. In addition, all unused materials from the distillation process are used as cattle feed so nothing is wasted or discarded and American Harvest bottles are 100% recyclable, containing no heavy metal and using only organic inks and water-soluble varnishes.
The interesting thing about the taste of this vodka is that it has a very subtle flavor, that is incredibly hard to describe. And believe me, I’ve tried. I recently shared a bottle with some friends and none of us could quite nail what the ” organic flavors” were. The best we came up with was slightly sweet, hint of citrus, crisp and vanilla undertones. American Harvest is only saying, “it’s a proprietary blend of flavor which is aimed at making it very clean and smooth.”
American Harvest was just named a finalist in the 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge held in New York, scoring a 93 out of 100 and was noted as excellent, highly recommended and of great value. Prices at about $23 a bottle, it certainly compares with pricier vodkas. At our tasting we all decided that is was a very easy sipping vodka whether by itself over ice or easily mixable with juice, a little tonic or mixed with a little vermouth as a dirty martini. Of course the American Harvest website has many cocktail suggestions, and I’m betting you have a few of your own favorites. Try it and share your reviews with us in the comments below.