By Jennie Orton
VANCOUVER – In what will helplessly become the Era of Trump to those unearthing evidence of our withered husk of a civilization after inevitable nuclear winter has subsided years from now, there is ample material for discourse, humor, and good ‘ol fashioned trolling. Neutrality has become a phantom term: one that is slowly losing its meaning and appeal in favor of flavours too strong for half of a population to stomach. But there is a local vodka, the fastest growing vodka in Canada no-less, that is taking that term and defining it in a way I think we all can agree on.
Nütrl Vodka, made in Delta, is a lovingly crafted high-end spirit that believes in one thing: neutral on taste, not on opinion. The brand lives as a fully functioning being on its own, the makers preferring to not dwell on themselves in any way when talking about it.
A founder we will call Mr. P explains that it is the local BC rye from the South Peace River Valley, the absence of glycerin, and the 79-step process through a 38-plate rectification plate “Carl” copper still that gives the vodka its smooth character and sophisticated mouth feel. But what gives Nütrl its audacity is its nose-thumbing, bear-poking marketing campaign.
During the election campaign, early into the two-year-old distillery’s life, Nütrl began poking fun at the behemoth that would become the Donald Trump phenomena. The campaign grew and, though it inevitably drew criticism from a few (not to mention a Smirnoff copycat attempt), it started a buzz that gathered a large and rabid social media fan base.
“This whole notion of opinions is good,” says Mr. P. “So, our opinion on him [Trump] is popular with some and unpopular with others, but it’s our opinion. If someone disagrees with us, we’re totally open-minded. We’re not this bleeding heart…you know, snowflake.
The poetic symbiosis of this approach is the fact that Nütrl began after the founders had discussed spirits with an unnamed yet very successful UK gin producer who claimed vodka was “rubbish”; that there was nothing special about its “absence of flavor.” This accepted challenge by Nütrl alongside the desire to create a high-end product with a bold personality make this particular brand a perfect foil for the blustering target of their relentless campaign of opinion. A vodka that practices his own image; and it becomes clear who wore it better.
“This ‘more is more’ thing, which I don’t really subscribe to. It’s winning at all costs, it’s xenophobic, sexist, racist stuff that keeps popping up. Our opinion is that it’s wrong. Did we point at him to be political? No. Is there an overt amount of asshattery going on? Yes.”
Though the intent was never to have Nütrl be a political brand, the climate offers ample opportunity to not only promote your product’s key goal of “neutral flavor” while celebrating the cathartic freedom of speech that lies within the social media cesspool of opinion.
Or, as Mr. P puts it: “Poke a little fun at this and try to deflect a little stress.” And that kind of thing always pairs best with a double shot of vodka, neat.
Nütrl Vodka is available at BC Liquor Stores. Follow them @nutrlvodka on Facebook to witness the campaign in action.booze, craft spirits, craft vodka, Donald Trump, local spirits, Nütrl, Nutrl Vodka