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East End distillery's vodka wins gold medal

Richard Stabile in the vodka distillery of Long

Richard Stabile in the vodka distillery of Long Island Spirits in Baiting Hollow. (Sept. 22, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday, 2011 / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Island Spirits Inc., an artisanal vodka distillery in Baiting Hollow, has reason to celebrate.

Its LiV Vodka, retailing for a suggested $27 a bottle, won a gold medal in the New York International Spirits Competition, the company said in a Thursday news release.

The company is a natural fit on the East End where potato farming has deep roots, owner Richard Stabile told Newsday in September, noting that it takes 20 to 25 pounds of potatoes to make a liter of vodka.

Launched in 2006, Long Island Spirits also sells potato-based liqueurs with a presence on store shelves in about 1,000 locations, mostly on the East Coast.

In the New York liquor-tasting competition, held in October, LiV Vodka tied with a Polish bottler's product for a gold medal, besting more than 40 other vodkas, the company said. Judging panels included buyers, retailers, restaurant and bar owners, distributors and importers.

"LiV Vodka’s growing popularity coupled with growing recognition from accolades like winning NYSIC Gold Medal Award have helped fuel an expansion" to Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Colorado in addition to its Northeast U.S. retail base, Long Island Spirits said.

The distillery and its 80-acre potato field are also tied in with the network of wineries and attractions that fuel the East End's tourism industry, with more than 25,000 visitors in the past two years, Stabile told Newsday in September.

A 2007 Newsday story on the distillery's early efforts, titled "LI Vodka's no small potatoes," told of its "odorless but potent spirit that happens to be an ingredient in Long Island Iced Tea."

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