How is Vodka Made? Inside The Process! 

How is Vodka Made? Inside The Process! 

One of the most popular drinks globally, Vodka’s estimated retail sales in the year 2022 alone were marked to be $41 Billion. Interestingly, nearly half of this entire sale was generated in the US alone. The United States sells around 77 million of vodka annually, or 31% of all alcohol sold there! 

However, many customers are ignorant of the manufacturing process or how to assess the quality of vodka. Despite the drink being so popular globally, there are many questions about Vodka:

  • Are all the Vodka the same?
  • How to tell if one Vodka is better than the other? 
  • What makes one Vodka premium and others not?
  • What is the price difference? 

With the core purpose of protecting consumers, the US government controls the information that can be disclosed on Vodka’s labels. However, there is not enough depth in the existing vodka labeling scheme to allow for a critical assessment. Marketing & promotions made available for the general public have a huge impact on how people get to know the value of vodka. Big corporate distilleries try to shape perceptions by spending money on marketing. People must understand this in detail to unlearn myths and learn truths regarding vodka.

Therefore in this blog, we will try to get more into how Vodka is made and other questions that our readers must know. 

What is Vodka? 

Vodka in simple words, as said by U.S law, is diluted ethyl alcohol or Ethanol. To be labeled as Vodka, there must be 40% ethyl alcohol in a liquid and the rest can be water. Any product in the world that can be fermented & distilled to make high-proof alcohol is eligible to make Vodka. 

According to US law, the volume of ethyl alcohol must be purified to a minimum of 40% ABV after being diluted (or proofed) down to about 190 proof (95% alcohol by volume, or “ABV”).

The Process of Making Vodka

On American Liquor shelves, Vodka enjoys good and a very popular spot. This popularity expands globally. Understand how Vodka is made from Fermentation to Flavoring: 


Exactly like all other alcoholic drinks, the first step that goes into preparing Vodka is fermentation. This step begins with feeding sugar to yeast so sugar produces alcohol. To prepare Vodka, any high-sugar plant matter or some starchy product can be used and it’s mixed with yeast & water. However, grains like rye, wheat, malt, flaked maize, corn, or sorghum are some of the popular ingredients used to make Vodka, a blend of these to be precise. The reason is that all these grains have a very minimal or neutral flavor that’s what Vodkas are known and famous for. Therefore, producers go with a blend of all these grains. 

For a not-so-mild or flavored Vodka, flavorful ingredients like potatoes, soybeans, rice, sugar beets, honey, grapes, and apples are used. But Vodkas when prepared using all these flavorful ingredients have a different taste with some sort of flavor. Although this might add a little mystery to your drinking experience, it’s crucial to read the ingredients on a bottle of vodka before putting it in your preferred mixed drink because the variations in flavor may affect the final product.

Moving on, every Vodka producer prefers to use or uses a yeast strain that’s their own proprietary to ferment the ingredient they choose to prepare their Vodka. If ingredients used to make Vodka are high in starch, an enzyme is added to it to break the starch down into edible sugar for yeast to consume. 

Before fermentation begins, the ingredients chosen to make Vodka are usually thoroughly mixed and heated by the vodka producer.

The time span for the fermentation process is usually one or two weeks. When it’s done, all the solids are strained away and the liquid is left behind. This results in an ethanol or ethyl alcohol product with about 16% alcohol by volume (ABV).


“Distillation is the process of purifying a liquid by heating it in a still condition to the point where it evaporates and converts into vapor.”

The boiling temperature of alcohol is less than that of water. Now, the distillation process effectively separates Vodka from the water. During the process, many impurities are also left behind when the liquid entirely evaporates. After that, the vapor condenses again into a clearer liquid with a higher alcohol concentration. If a flavored Vodka is in the making, some botanicals can also be added during the distillation process only.

Some Vodka makers do the distillation process for only a single time, while others can repeat it several times.

Now, before moving on to the final stage of production, Vodkas have to go through a test of catching fire. The distillation process must be repeated if the Vodka is too easy to catch fire. The alcohol content rises with each additional distillation. A product with up to 96% ethanol can be produced by some still masters. 

When the entire distillation process is done, it’s time to sort the final product. The initial thirty-five percent of the distillation process is a potentially hazardous ethanol product called the “head” or “foreshot.” This can include methanol or acetone. Usually, the heads are thrown away.

Then there’s “heart” that’s another 30% of the product. This is the best part of the entire process that goes on to the next process. Now comes the “tail” that’s the next 35% of the product. The tail is not pure to use, but some makers might keep it to distill further to get some extra product. 


After the distillation process, the product produced is very strong to consume. Therefore, the dilution process is important which gets the product to the required ABV. In the US, a standard Vodka’s ABV is 40%. In the European Union, it’s 37.5%.

Some manufacturers start to sell the product after the distillation process only. This produces 190 proof products like Everclear. This is now called Repaired Spirits that are not safe to consume by individuals. To reach a safe ABV, rectified spirits should be diluted with water or another liquid. Repaired spirits are banned in many states because they are harmful.

Vodka’s dilution with pure distilled water is the right step to follow. Vodka makers want to achieve a neutral, flavorless taste that’s why they chose pure distilled water that’s free of any kind of flavor. 


Now, either before or after the filtration process, Vodka needs to go through a filtration process. For this, products like carbon or charcoal are used. Some Vodka makers use lava rocks or quartz crystals to perform the filtration process. This part is important to make sure that the Vodka produced is clear. 

The filtration process is very important to get clear Vodka, but many Vodka makers like to skip this step because they trust their distillation technique for clear, clean, and pure Vodka. 


There are so many flavors of Vodka that you can find all around the world. Each Vodka maker has a different method of adding a flavor to Vodka. Some find the distillation process the right time to add the flavor of choice to the Vodka like ginger, fruit, vanilla, chocolate, etc. Russians love their vodkas with flavors like pepper and honey. Cherry, lemon, black currant, and watermelon vodkas are among the fruitier varieties that are more popular in Estonia. Famous for its honey flavor, krupnik is a vodka made in Poland and Lithuania.


The process of bottling involves vodka producers carefully measuring and filling each labeled container with precisely the proper amount of Vodka. This is the very important part because this is the final stage of all the hard work that goes into producing Vodka. To make sure that the vodka tastes the exact same in each bottle it’s poured, close monitoring of quality control is crucial. 

Vodka makers even choose the perfect bottle style and apply labels that highlight the company. You always get a premium vodka when you pour yourself a drink because of all this attention to detail.

You will be surprised to know that the bottle chosen to fill the Vodka has a huge impact on how much the bottle will cost. The cost can be extremely high because the bottle is high-end. Therefore, never settle for how the Vodka looks from the outside but focus more on quality and ingredients. 


The way vodka is produced tells a lot about what the flavor and purity are going to be like. By being aware of the process, you can make a better choice of vodka for yourself. Get less influenced by marketing and be more attentive to what matters by understanding things well and right!