Hoosier distiller clicks with new vodka

The story goes that Stuart Hobson visited a craft distillery while traveling through northern Michigan two years ago and was inspired to get into the business himself.

Actually, he had been in the spirits business, but in a different capacity, as owner of the Fishers Liquors chain. He sold that to a competitor and used part of the proceeds to launch his own microdistillery in Indianapolis.

The result is Heartland Distillers whose new Indiana label vodka is produced from local corn. It was introduced to the market in January, and already being sold at about 300 outlets. Hobson says he plans to expand his product line to include gin, absinthe and whiskey.

The 80-proof Heartland Vodka has a suggested retail price of $25.99 for the 750ml bottle. There's an ingenious little gimmick with this bottle. A thin copper wire is wrapped around te neck of the bottle before it is dipped in melted wax to seal the package. When the consumer grips the wire and pulls it, the wax is cut and the bottle opened.

This is just one of the newer entries in the spirits niche that accounts for more than a quarter of the distilled spirits sold annually in the U.S.

Olinger Distributing Co. LLC of Indianapolis has shipped out 2,400 bottles of Indiana Vodka since February.

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