DENVER (Circa) - Colorado High Vodka's name might be confusing to some customers.
"That's the first question. Somebody's like, 'Hey, will I get high?' I'm like, I don't know if you will, but it will have have nothing to do with me if you do," says Pater Caciola, President of Colorado Gold Distillery, who makes Colorado High Vodka. "I can just get you drunk."
The Colorado Springs-based company started making booze in 2010, but was actually focusing on whiskey to start.
"When we started, we were a whiskey distillery. And that's how I got into this. I wanted to make small-batch craft whiskies," explains Caciola.
But through a combination of Caciola's personal passion for vodka ("I drink a lot of vodka. Almost all the time I drink vodka."), and the attention that hemp was getting after Colorado residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, the company decided to pivot. And Colorado High Vodka was born.
Colorado High Vodka isn't the first company to use hemp in vodka, but they claim to be the first to ferment and distill their vodka using hemp as the raw material. The difference is that there are other vodkas that infuse their product with hemp, which basically involves soaking hemp in the vodka to permeate it with hemp flavor, as opposed to actually making the alcohol by fermenting and distilling hemp. Thus, people who smoke marijuana won't find a familiar flavor when drinking this vodka, as they might if they drank vodka infused with hemp.
The reason why you won't get high drinking this, is that there is not actually THC in the hemp, which is the cannabinoid that has psychoactive properties.
The vodka is straight forward, and has a clean taste to it. Caciola points out additional hints and notes customers might taste. "The hemp is just a nuttiness, almost a butterscoth after-finish to it."