Kamchatka Vodka, Ever Heard Of It?

Last year was a record-breaking year for high-proof alcohol sales in Ohio. And the leader of the pack was Kamchatka Vodka. It beat out Jack Daniels, Bacardi and Smirnoff. But Kamchtka Vodka has virtually no name recognition.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

By the way, bison vodka is on its way to the United States. It's a Polish national drink made from the grass that bison eat. Until recently, it was banned from the United States because of a potentially toxic chemical in the grass. But the Wall Street Journal reports a Polish distiller has found a way to remove the chemical.

And we have a follow-up story on another brand of vodka. Our last word in business today is Kamchatka vodka. We told you yesterday that it's the top-selling liquor in Ohio, where hard-liquor sales set a record last year. And that surprised some people who'd never heard of Kamchatka vodka.

David "Cricket" Shaw, of the Library Bar in Columbus, Ohio, says you might drink it without knowing it.

Mr. DAVID SHAW (Owner, Library Bar): Say you just walk into a place and you just order a cranberry and vodka, youre getting that. Usually, its the house -or the well, they call it.

INSKEEP: Kamchatka vodka is named after a Russian peninsula that sticks out into the Pacific Ocean, but it is actually distilled in Kentucky.

Mr. SHAW: Saying it's good may be an overstatement; you don't do shots with it. It's a mixer.

INSKEEP: OK, so it's not the taste. Shaw says other vodkas - like Grey Goose - would ruin him. They're more than $20 a bottle. Kamchatka is about $6.50.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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