Idaho-sourced vodka now for sale in ... Idaho

The early 1960s were the runup to the "space race" between the U.S. and USSR. When the Godless Commies launched the first manmade satellite, Sputnik, lots of things changed in America.

President John F. Kennedy demanded we get our space program in gear. Science studies changed in schools and colleges. Sci-fi books, movies and TV shows on space themes popped up. And, an Oregon distillery began making Spudnik vodka out of potatoes, the first American distiller to follow the Russians' lead in that field.

Kennedy is gone, we won the space race, education quality has plummeted, "Star Trek" and its clones have run their course (except maybe for the brilliant "Battlestar Galactica" and the rollicking "Stargate Atlantis"). Ah, but the Hood River Distillery continues making potato vodka.

The new twist, however, is that Spudka finally is available to consumers in Idaho, the source of its potatoes.

"For the first time in over 45 years, Spudka has been listed in Idaho and is now available at many retailers in the state," said Hood River Distillery President Ron Dodge in a statement.

Sales of Spudka vodka grew by 31% from 2006 to 2007, the company said. It has landed numerous awards including a gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

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