W(a)hey: Black Cow champions zero-waste with latest competition

Imbibe Editorial

Imbibe Editorial

18 June 2018

Milk vodka distillery Black Cow has announced the theme for its 2018 Gold Top Cup cocktail competition, with this year’s focus on food and drink pairings with zero-waste cocktails.

Each bartender will be challenged with creating a food dish and partner cocktail that uses the by-product(s) of the dish, for the chance to win $1,000 (£755) prize money.

The competition is inspired by the distillery’s own ethos of using excess whey from its dairy business to create a smooth, creamy-textured spirit.

Co-founder Jason Barber comes from the world’s oldest surviving family of cheddar-makers. The idea for a ‘spirited’ extension to the dairy farm was sparked when he heard about a nomadic Siberian tribe that distils fermented mares’ milk and realised there could be a use for the otherwise wasted whey.

This year marks the third for the competition, which has previously focused on British foraging (2016) and a more emotive ‘significant moment in one’s life’ (2017). Last year’s winner was Erica Brown, from Bar Stella in Silverlake, LA, whose cocktail the Beautiful Bovine won the judges’ hearts. This year, she will join the judging panel in deciding the contestants’ fates.

The regional heats will be held around the world in August of this year, with the winners of each invited to the final on 6 September at the Black Cow Distillery in West Dorset.

Enter the competition.


A recent study from Oregon State University highlighted the huge environmental gain of using whey, a byproduct of the dairy industry, to create vodka.


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