Devon Cove was started by Lianne Carr and her family four years ago following two years of initial preparation work.
Director Lianne Carr explained how it all came about: “My family had been growing potatoes for over 50 years overlooking Hope Cove, right out to Torcross and round to Bigbury as well and I actually got made redundant from my job at the time.
“The family said ‘do you want to join us?’ and I said ‘only of you want to make vodka’ and we all thought that is actually a really good idea.
“I’d seen companies like Chase who make an absolutely fabulous potato vodka in Herefordshire.
“So I started learning about vodka making.
“I had some friends who had Barnaby’s Brewhouse.
“We started experimenting with different potato varieties, grating them, cooking them in a 25 litre pot and then fermenting them to get the alcohol content and then we worked with a Devon distillery.
Lianne explained more about the characteristics: “What you get with a potato vodka is the smoothness on the palate.
“You don’t get the burn in your throat that you get with some vodkas. It’s warming but it’s much creamier and much smoother.
“Vodkas are mainly grain such as Smirnoff and Absolut but they’ve been making potato vodka in Russia and Poland since the 18th century.
“About 40 potatoes go into a bottle of vodka but because we wash and size our potatoes for jackets which are used for things like wash jackets for school lunches and other things and the really small ones called ‘mids’ we use all the wonky potatoes that aren’t visually appealing so we’re really using something thats pretty much a waste product that might otherwise go for pig food or into mixed bags.
“It can be drunk simply over ice or mixed.”
The only ingredients that go into the vodka are potatoes grown in the fresh sea air, Devon Spring Water and a little yeast and enzymes added during fermentation.
The carbs in the potatoes don’t translate into the vodka so it’s exceptionally low carb with no sugar meaning it’s as low in calories as an alcoholic drink can be.
The family have been growing potatoes in the South Hams since the 1960’s. Lidstone’s potatoes are of top quality and the seed potatoes are planted in early spring, tended over the summer months and harvested in late autumn.
Devon Cove’s logo shows Thurlestone Rock which is visible from the field where the potatoess are grown.
The actual distilling is sub-contracted to the English Distillery at Treguddick in Cornwall.
It’s single-distilled with a long bespoke rectifying pipe which means some of the sweetness of the potatos remains.
Following on from vodka the company decided to make a damson liqueur as Lianne explained: “Damsons are a lovely English fruit with a fabulous taste and it works really well in a glass of prosecco which broadened our market.”
Around the time of Covid we started putting together cocktail kits. Everyone loves a Nespresso Martini so we decided to make our own coffee liqueur which uses our vodka as the base then dark roast coffee beans from Salcombe Brew and sugar as well, great over ice or a scoop of Salcombe vanilla ice cream. Next was the passion fruit liqueur and the hazelnut liqueur with locally-foraged hazelnuts and finally an oak-aged golden rum as I really love rum. We use Caribbean molassas and a dash of Devon honey then its aged for 12 months with a two-year version on the way.”
The company collected three gold awards and two silvers at the Food Drink Devon Awards at the start of the month.