New vodka venture is small potatoes

When one calls a vodka "crisp," it usually refers to its character.

But, say "crisp" around Will Chase (right) and he'll think opportunity.

Chase, an entrepreneurial farmer and food product maker in Herefordshire, England, recently sold his majority stake in the popular Tyrells crisps (potato chips, for those of the American persuasion) company for about $60 million. Using some of that money, he hopes to parlay it into another success, this time in the vodka business.

Chase has overseen the growth of his premium-end snacks, made using home-grown potatoes, since their 2002 launch. His new venture will use potatoes to small to made made into crisps/chips to produce up to 3,500 bottles of vodka a week.

Tyrrells Potato Vodka will immediately check into the ultra-premium niche, retailing at about $65 per 750ml bottle. It will be distilled in traditional style, using copper batch pots to boost the quality of the alcohol.

Distiller Jamie Baxter told The Press Association, "There is a chemical reaction between the alcohol and the copper which improves the vodka. Most vodka is distilled using stainless steel then finished off in copper. ... We've got to make the product and get it out in front of people, but I think they are going to like it. It's an interesting story which I think people are going to buy into."

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