A distillery in the Ottawa area that uses cow’s milk may soon see its product as vodka. The owners welcome the intention of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to expand the framework for this type of beverage.

According to current Canadian standards, a distillery can only qualify a product made from grain or potatoes as vodka. In November, the CFIA announced that it would review this definition.

This is good news, according to Omid McDonald, founder of the Dairy Distillery distillery in Almonte, west of Ottawa, which until now had to label his product “vodkow”.

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A vodka made from milk made in Canada
In Canada, we could not say it was vodka and it caused confusion in the market, he explained.

McDonald contacted his MP and two federal ministers before the CFIA agreed to meet with him in November.

I thought it would be months before I heard anything, but the next day a friend of mine sent me the press release announcing that the federal government was going to make some changes he argued.

Comply with US and European standards
Vodka can be created from a variety of foods, such as milk, corn, beets, apples and even grapes, McDonald said.

There is discrimination against all these agri-food products for no good reason, argued the producer.

The vodka is distilled until it reaches almost 100% alcohol, then it is diluted in water and filtered. The final product should have a neutral flavor, but McDonald said the use of different ingredients can change its taste.

There is always a difference in taste, depending on whether the vodka is made from grain or milk, he said.

The United States and the European Union have adopted broader definitions of vodka than Canada, and the CFIA has indicated that it wants to align with the standards of the country’s trading partners.

CFIA’s consultations with distilleries are scheduled for completion in February.