Chernobyl Vodka

First consumer product made in exclusion zone

“It’s the only bottle in existence – I tremble when I pick it up,” says Prof Jim Smith, gingerly lifting a bottle of Atomik grain spirit.

The “artisan vodka”, made with grain and water from the Chernobyl exclusion zone, is the first consumer product to come from the abandoned area around the damaged nuclear power plant.

The team started the vodka project by growing crops on a farm in the zone. “Our idea then was [to use that rye grain] to make a spirit,” they say.

The aim of selling Chernobyl artisan vodka and hopefully making a profit, he says, is to enable the team to distribute most of the money to local communities. The rest will be reinvested in the business, although Prof Smith hopes to provide the team with an income to work on their “social spirit enterprise” part time

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