How Is Vodka Made?

While vodka is traditionally linked with Russia and several Eastern European countries, it is also one of the most popular spirits in South Africa, in the United States, and several other countries worldwide. Yet, despite its reputation, this crystal clear spirit is still often misunderstood. 

If you like vodka, you may be curious about how it’s made.  How many times does vodka go through the distillation process? Why is it necessary to distil vodka? This article answers all of your vodka distillation questions!

Understanding The Production Process Of A Spirit Distillery

Distillation is a method of separating the various chemicals or components found in a liquid at different boiling points. When a material is distilled, its purity increases in proportion to its boiling point. Because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it must be distilled. 

At a lower temperature, it vaporizes, allowing all the alcohol to be collected and condensed back into liquid form. Doing this eliminates contaminants that may be present in the mixture.

How Is Vodka Made?

There are several vodka distillation methods. The most common is a three-stage distillation procedure. Alcohol is essentially a byproduct of yeast.  

Most alcohols, but not all, get their sugar from raw grain. They begin as starches, but after being boiled with malt or particular enzymes, they become sugar. This is further processed by yeast to produce a variety of compounds, one of which is ethanol alcohol. 



First, a mash must be made, which is the basis for the vodka’s flavour and aroma. This fermented, sweetened mixture is made by heating water, grains, and yeast. The purpose of this step is to:

  • Combine sugar with the liquid and the yeast.
  • Enable yeast to convert sugar into alcohol over time.

After the sugar has been completely absorbed, the yeast will no longer produce alcohol.



When a liquid fermentation is complete, the liquid is heated in a still.

Stills have evolved into a variety of shapes and adaptations over the centuries.  All stills have three components:

  • Boiler. 
  • Column.
  • Condenser. 

The liquid vaporizes and rises through the column as the temperature progressively increases from room temperature to about 190 degrees (F). When it reaches the condenser, it comes into contact with a cold surface and condenses back into a liquid form.  It then exits the still as a number of different chemical compounds, including;

  • Acetone.
  • Methanol.
  • Ethanol.
  • Isopropyl.


Flavouring & Filtration

If the desired outcome is flavoured vodka, it will be added botanicals throughout the distillation process or introduced into the fermentation o processes. Lavender, rose, and citrus peels are some of the common botanicals used to flavour vodka.

Once it’s been distilled, it goes through a filtration process using charcoal filters.   This eliminates any contaminants that may have remained after distillation. 


How To Ensure Premium Quality Vodka

The larger the size of the still, the purer the vodka. This is due to the increased contact between the alcohol and the heat in a larger still. Which, as a result, yields a product of greater quality.

The stills used in the distillation process significantly impact the quality of the vodka. They must be able to generate a clean, high-quality product with as few contaminants as possible. This requires that the stills be in excellent working order with a state-of-the-art production line to ensure a premium and consistent finish between batches.


Premium Quality Vodka With Midlands Distillery, South Africa

This is why The Midlands Distillery continually sources the latest in state-of-the-art equipment. Constantly evolving our copper distillery equipment and production line for premium quality output at every stage of production. We are equipped to manufacture premium local and international vodka brands, both in-house and in partnership with our contract distilling brands. Our vodka is triple distilled for a smoother finish.


Visit our online distribution platform to sample our award-winning premium African vodkas.

Interested in launching a contract distillery partnership of your own? Get in touch with the Midlands Distillery, South Africa – today.

Established in 2016, The Midlands Distillery has since become one of South Africa’s fastest-growing spirit producers, creating a variety of award-winning, premium quality artisanal spirits for both domestic and international distribution. 

Visit our Brands Page To learn more about our 

  • Locally produced, Premium Quality and affordable London Dry Gin variant – Newbury Gin.
  • Award-winning internationally recognised Artisinal Gin brand – Bayab.
  • Or get in touch to find out more about our contract distilling and export services.

Midlands Distillery

1 Quarry Road