Head Distiller at Hangar 1
Hangar 1 created Fog Point, the first vodka made from fog -- yes, the white fluffy stuff in the air. To do this, they partnered with FogQuest, who installed fog catchers around the Bay Area to pull water out of fog that was then used to blend and cut the vodka. Bonny Doon provides the final ingredient: premium biodynamic wine from which the vodka is distilled.
Why it’s important:
“A bottle of vodka is fifty percent water, so we use a ton of water in our process,” Shoemaker says. “So I wanted to find a cool way to source water that was sustainable and different, but was also going to make a great tasting vodka, and would eventually be an opportunity for us to share something new with the agricultural community.”
Shoemaker and her team did a lot of research to try to make this happen, which is when they stumbled upon FogQuest. “The people at FogQuest use big nets to passively, quietly, and inexpensively collect fog for agricultural use in South America. It’s a technology that’s actually very accessible, but that not a lot of people know about.” After that, it was just a matter of setting nets up around the Bay in places like the Outer Sunset, Sutro Tower, and the Berkeley Hills.
How it’s changing the industry:
Shoemaker didn’t want to just stop there though. “As we got to the point that we decided we were going to make fog vodka, I thought this would be a great opportunity for us to take it a step further,” she says. “[We] work with a winery that engages in biodynamic farming and dry farming practices and has the same sustainable mentality we do.” Which is where Boony Doon wines came in.
For Shoemaker, 29, Fog Point was more than just making vodka using fog. “For us it was an opportunity to talk about the drought and to talk about a solution and other options for water collection instead of just focusing on what people are doing wrong.” She adds, “A lot of people thought this was just a marketing ploy, and thought we just put two drops of fog in the bottle, but the only two things in the bottle are the fog and the wine.”
The reaction was much better she expected. “When we did this we didn’t know if anyone was going to like it, so to see that people have responded to it so well is exciting. As a distiller, it tells me that I can decide to do fun, innovative things and the consumer is excited to try new things and is willing to suspend the judgment of what traditional vodka should be and allow us to come up with cool, new stuff.”