MUTINY Island Vodka™, the world’s first and only vodka distilled from breadfruit and the brainchild of award-winning Chef Todd Manley, has launched as the inaugural spirit distilled and bottled at the newly-opened Sion Farm Distillery on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. The first vodka produced on St. Croix is revolutionizing the vodka category and is set to shake up the cocktail culture.
Conceived on St. Croix and perfected during the 2017 Hurricane season that brought us Irma and Maria, Mutiny Island Vodka™ started production in a Virginia distillery in April the following year. The stateside distiller produced the original vodka until June 2019 when the new Sion Farm Distillery took over. Now, the brand is 100% VI production, being distilled AND bottled right here on St Croix. MUTINY Island Vodka™ is the inaugural spirit of the newly-opened Sion Farm Distillery and is available in 750ml and 50ml sizes. The vodka currently retails in the Virgin Islands for a recommended retail price of $25 per 750ml bottle.
Manley, originally from Virginia where he was chef/owner of multiple restaurants, owns four popular restaurants on St. Croix: 40 Strand Eatery, Rum and Wine Bar (RAW), The Mill Boardwalk Bar and Brick Over Pizza, and Toast Diner. He has called the Virgin Islands home since 2010. Manley’s passion for his adopted home and his commitment to the finest, most authentic ingredients drove his vision for Mutiny Island Vodka, created in collaboration with gold-medal-winning distiller Chris Richeson.
“St. Croix is a magical place where history, culture, and incredible people come together to create a rich experience,” said Manley. “Mutiny Island Vodka started as a way for us to give back to this amazing island and its people.”
Manley continued, “With the creation of MUTINY Island Vodka™ and the opening of Sion Farm Distillery, we are committed to supporting the growth of St. Croix, and all of the USVI, by way of employment, agriculture, environmental initiatives and the vibrant tourist trade of the islands.”
MUTINY Island Vodka’s™ mission is to create the world’s first and finest Island Vodka™ distilled from breadfruit, made on St. Croix and exported around the globe; support local breadfruit food production; promote the use of breadfruit for nutrition in the USVI; stimulate the economy; reignite agriculture and be involved in and connect with the broader USVI community.
The name was inspired by the famous tale of the mutiny on the Royal Navy vessel HMS Bounty in 1789. It’s known to most, thanks to numerous tales in literature and film, as “The Mutiny on The Bounty.” While the story made famous the names of William Bligh and Fletcher Christian, breadfruit is the leading star in the drama. It was breadfruit from Tahiti that the voyage was sent to bring back to the West Indies.
Breadfruit, touted by many as an untapped superfood, is a versatile tropical fruit. Enjoyed locally on St Croix in West Indian and Latin cuisine, breadfruit is cultivated in 90 countries, throughout South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa. MUTINY Island Vodka™ is handmade from breadfruit in a state-of-the-art artisanal copper still and is naturally GMO and gluten-free.
Sion Farm Distillery is committed to sourcing its breadfruit from the USVI and is making progress daily towards an agricultural infrastructure that will allow them to increase their supply of breadfruit on St. Croix. Work is being done in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture and other non-profit organizations to provide local farmers with seedling trees.
According to their fact sheets: Breadfruit is an energy-rich food and a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In a world with nearly 1 billion hungry people, 80% of whom live in the tropics, the propagation of breadfruit is relevant and necessary. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of MUTINY Island Vodka™ will be donated to the Trees That Feed Foundation to support their efforts to alleviate hunger in tropical countries.
“Trees That Feed Foundation has been promoting the planting and use of breadfruit and its post-harvest products across the world,” said Mary McLaughlin, TTFF chair and founder. “We’re delighted that Todd and his team at MUTINY Island Vodka™ have had the vision to create a breadfruit vodka that consumers will enjoy and that will provide economic benefit to the farmers whose ingredients are used. We welcome their support of our efforts to build self-sustaining communities and entrepreneurs based on agroforestry”
Unlike other distilled spirits, MUTINY Island Vodka™ is made at a zero-waste facility. After distillation, 12% of the volume becomes vodka, which results in 88% of waste. As a result of incorporating only natural ingredients, 100% of the waste is reusable and can be considered a co-product of our distillation process. The Distillery refer to this waste as “nutrient water” and it will be put to agricultural use.
By recycling waste for agricultural use, the Distillery can then conserve water for other useful purposes. The “waste” will be used to water their own planted breadfruit trees and will be given to farmers for the cultivation of their crops. It is also an amazing feeding product for goats. Currently undergoing testing with DPNR, once approved, the water co-product will be freely available to farmers on St Croix.
With the Grand Opening set for August 10th, this is just the beginning for the distillery and the MUTINY Island Vodka™ brand. The distillery is adding an additional fermenter to increase production. Distribution is right around the corner for Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands with the United States soon to follow, likely starting with Texas, Florida, and Virginia. The Sion Farm Distillery has begun production on a unique, hand-crafted rum. There are also plans to expand the Island Vodka™ line with infused vodka flavors from seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
Attending the Grand Opening will be celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality, Sam Choy, who was raised with breadfruit as a staple ingredient in many Hawaiian dishes and is an enthusiastic supporter of MUTINY Island Vodka™. Choy has visited the island numerous times in the past bringing Aloha to the annual Taste of St Croix and participating in many of the Food & Wine Experience activities that give back to the community. In addition to Choy, Samoan celebrity and Polynesian culture-bearer, Kap Te’o-Tafiti, will also be on hand. Prior to the public event, they will facilitate and perform a traditional Samoan Kava welcoming ceremony with dignitaries and invited guests.
MUTINY Island Vodka™ anticipates achieving global recognition, which will, in turn, bring more awareness to St. Croix and the value of breadfruit. The stimulation of agriculture and the subsequent jobs and business opportunities will be the biggest economic benefits, adding more value than taxes and initial jobs combined.
The Sion Farm Distillery is available for private rentals. The interior bar and dining area have a seating capacity of 30 with a maximum capacity of 50 guests. For larger functions, there is ample outdoor space.