Low carbon ethanol made from dairy



Carbon neutral vodka and lactose-free cream liqueurs

Hand Sanitizer

Sustainable sanitizer for healthcare

Speciality Alcohols

A unique base for alcoholic beverages


Dairy Distillery founder Omid McDonald is an eclectic serial entrepreneur whose past start-ups range from medical devices to software for DJs. He became enamored with distilling while visiting a micro-distillery in Charleston, South Carolina. It wasn’t long until Omid started making moonshine in his basement with a copper pot still he hand built. In 2016, Omid was talking to his cousin, Neal McCarten, who just returned from a visit to his uncle Jim Nelson’s dairy farm. Jim described how a dairy by-product was being dumped and Omid wondered if it could be turned into alcohol. So began the story of Dairy Distillery.


Dairy Distillery

Dairy Distillery started with the idea of making vodka from waste milk sugar (lactose) but we needed a feedstock. We found a source of lactose from a local dairy processor that makes ultra filtered milk, a high protein milk used in cheese and yogurt production. The by-product of ultra filtered milk production is a lactose rich liquid called milk permeate. We commissioned the University of Ottawa to develop a method to transform milk permeate into alcohol. With success in the lab, we built a state-of-the art distillery in Almonte, Ontario where, to date, we’ve repurposed 1,285,700 kg of milk permeate.

Better Spirits

When we started Dairy Distillery, we couldn’t call our spirit a vodka since Canadian regulations required vodka to be made from grain or potato, so we called our vodka Vodkow. People love the name and we now use Vodkow brand for all of our spirits. Vodkow has attracted a legion of fans who like the creamier mouthfeel and touch of sweetness. We also use Vodkow to make a line of lactose-free cream liqueurs.

Vodkow Bottle

Pivoting during COVID

When we realized the large multinational manufacturers couldn’t supply hand sanitizer to our local hospitals, charity organizations and businesses, we immediately pivoted to make sanitizer with our lactose alcohol. We launched a “buy one to give one” program that enabled the donation of 25,000 bottles of sanitizer to frontline groups. Recognizing our contribution, the Ontario government granted us $500,000 to expand our production of sanitizer. Click here to learn more about Dairy Distillery hand sanitizer.

Tanker truck outside the distillery

Greener biofuel

To help us improve our spirits production in Almonte, we hired David Geros who previously worked designing fermentation and distillation systems for a cellulosic ethanol facility. Dave started working on the business model and design of a high volume fuel ethanol plant using the process we perfected at our distillery in Almonte. He discovered that ethanol made using our process has half the carbon footprint of traditional corn ethanol. This lower carbon intensity makes it eligible for significantly more carbon credits than traditional ethanol. The financial return and carbon footprint reduction of a Dairy Distillery lactose ethanol plant is an attractive option for dairy processors.

Announcing our first project with Michigan Milk Producers Association link
Inside the distillery


Dairy Distillery has built a state-of-the-art micro distillery in Almonte. A reflection of our dairy heritage and modern outlook, our distillery building is a perfect union of agricultural and contemporary design. A 30-foot pitched roof supported by gorgeous Douglas Fir timbers creates a stunning workspace for the crafting of fine spirits. Our German made copper Christian Carl stills are proudly displayed in our all glass front facade. Consistent with environmental mission, the distillery uses the latest conservation technology including radiant floors, heat exchangers and water reclamation.

Retail Store and Sampling

Come sample Vodkow at the Dairy Distillery retail store. Our store features the full Vodkow line of products, Vodkow apparel and curated gifts made by local artisans. Visit vodkow.com for store hours.

Row of bottles of all the available flavours

Guided Tours

Interested in learning how Vodkow is made? Come take a guided tour of Dairy Distillery. You’ll be taken through the distillery and shown how the magic is made. Tours include tasting of all available products (including ahead of production creations - when available). Tours are available on Saturdays every 30 min, from 11am - 4:30pm.

Tours inside the distillery

Vodkow Bar

Come enjoy a cocktail at the Vodkow bar. The copper bar and maple tables gifted to us from our friends at Fulton’s can seat up to 15 people. Every month, artwork from a different local artist is displayed. Over 10 Vodkow cocktails are served along with non-alcoholic options. The Vodkow bar is open year-round on Saturdays.
We’ve partnered with PuraVida to provide delicious food to accompany a Vodkow cocktail. Seating for groups up to 30 people is available on our outdoor covered patio. Enjoy a game of cornhole, giant sized tic tac toe or dice on our manicured lawn.
The Vodkow Bar Patio is open May 1st through Oct 31st.

Vodkow Bar