Will Chase loves potatoes, cows and vodka. The farmer behind Tyrrells gourmet crisps starts each day "talking to my cows". He is about to make his first batch of premium potato vodka, made from spuds grown on the farm that are too small to turn into crisps.
He is using a £5m interest-free loan he won from Bank of Scotland, after being crowned a regional winner in its Corporate Entrepreneur Challenge last November, to build a distillery at Rosemaund Farm, deep in the Herefordshire countryside. The vodka will be made in a copper still, using traditional artisan methods combined with the latest technology. Chase reckons he will be able to produce 3,500 bottles a week retailing for £31 each – in line with luxury labels such as Belvedere of Poland.
This seems a high price to pay for an as-yet unknown brand. But Chase is convinced that his vodka, made from traditional potato varieties such as St Claires, Golden Wonder and Rosettas, will taste at least as good as the best on the market.