Eating organic is here to stay, and while we continue to analyze and inspect each ingredient we use for cooking, why don’t we do the same for alcohol? When it comes to imbibing, Litty Mathew and Melkon Khosrovian, founders of Greenbar Craft Distillery, have made it their priority to produce environmentally friendly, organic spirits. The husband and wife team unexpectedly discovered the benefits of organic fruit-infused spirits more than 15 years ago when they were celebrating their engagement. Wellwellwell caught up with Litty to learn about their company’s unexpected beginning.
“The company was started with love,” Litty laughs, and it turns out she’s not exaggerating. When Litty and Melkon began their engagement celebrations, Melkon’s family (who hail from the former Soviet Union) would give elaborate toasts to the couple, and per tradition, the table would take a sip of liquor following each speech. Because Litty wasn’t a fan of the traditional, strong-flavored spirits, Melkon began making his own liquors infused with herbs, spices and fruits from their local farmers’ market.
“He would take store-bought vodka, put it in a jar and then follow traditional cooking instructions to develop the flavor. What he was doing was very complex,” Litty recalls.
The couple would then label the bottle and carry it with them to family events. It turns out Litty wasn’t the only one who loved the flavor, friends and family members began asking for their own bottles. The popular demand made the couple consider the business potential of the drinks, and so began their interest in distilling spirits.
After a lot of experimentation, the couple realized the potential of making alcohol infused with organic fruits. Litty explains, “When you don’t use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to grow produce, the item has to survive on its own—it has to toughen up a little bit. This results in stronger aromas and more flavor.”
Environmentally friendly packaging also became a priority. “We thought, why are we using so much heavy glass? And what about our beautiful label—what is the point in all of that?” The couple decided to move forward with 100% recycled labeling and lightweight bottles. “We wanted to focus on putting the luxury—the great flavor—on the inside.”
To take their environmental awareness one step further, Greenbar also plants a tree for every bottle sold with over 377,000 trees planted to date. “We are a pretty small company, and to see that we can make that kind of impact proves that people can really do a lot for the environment.” By drinking their spirits, you will actually produce a negative carbon footprint for the day.
So what’s it like working with her husband day in and day out? “It’s really fun,” says Litty. “We love working together. Greenbar is something we are both passionate about and can focus on everyday.”
Looking for a refreshing new cocktail? Try EVEN Hotel’s Mary in the Garden of EVEN recipe, which features Greenbar’s TRU Organic Garden Vodka.
Author: Allison Klibanoff