The Teton Mountains have one of the purest watersheds in the country. The water is perfect for distilling the finest vodka and gin. Square One Organic Spirits is a liquor manufacturer that uses this mountain spring and American-grown rye to make its organic line of alcohol.
The brand was founded by Allison Evanow in 2006. The CEO believed that the alcoholic beverage sector was lacking in organic practices after reading an advertisement for all-natural vodka. It’s easier to say a product is all-natural without certification — it’s very open to interpretation. Thus, Evanow pursued the idea of making a genuinely certified-organic spirits line.
All of Square One’s ingredients are USDA-certified organic. The liquors are made from 100% American-grown rye, organic yeasts, grains, and botanicals. There is even a cocktail mixer line that is certified organic.
The Teton watershed fills the distilling chambers for these liquors. Square One’s organic measures earned the business a certification from Oregon Tilth, one of the toughest organizations to certify organic products.
“Back in the early 2000s, artificial ingredients, added sugar, and preservatives were all the rage in spirits as the race to launch flavors filled the back bar,” Evanow said in a press release. She noted how some restaurants were serving farm-to-table food but not beverages. She saw an opportunity to close that gap. In fact, Square One was one of the first distillers to make cucumber vodka.
The distilling process is thorough. According to the company website, nothing artificial goes into the solutions, and batches are distilled several times to blend the flavor properly. That’s where the gin and vodkas get their distinct taste.
But it is not without its challenges. Rye is difficult to use because it’s high in fiber and dense. However, it gives off a nutty flavor compared to corn and wheat vodkas. The company sources all of the rye from Montana; its dry, plain climate is perfect for a high-quality product.
There are more sustainable measures incorporated at Square One. The business says labels are made from soy-based inks and are Forest Stewardship Council-certified. Wind farms power the distillery for a low-carbon impact. Packaging includes using chlorine-free cartons and using as much recycled content as possible, and post-consumer waste paper is used for printing. The bottles are designed to be reused, with the labels being easily stripped off after soaking in cold water for 10 minutes.
Evanow’s leadership has been imperative to the success of Square One. She comes from a background in liquor marketing, with stops at Jose Cuervo tequila and the Napa wine industry. Her brand relies on truthful marketing and hearty standards.
“No herbicides, no pesticides, no fake stuff,” she told C-Ville Magainze. “You’re telling the truth in your marketing — and no sexy bikini marketing!”
As an influential leader in female entrepreneurship, Evanow and Square One were certified in 2019 by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council for their continued efforts to foster diversity in the corporate world.
“As one of the first women to start her own brand in the liquor industry, I know how critical a network is to overcoming the daily challenges of business while exploring new opportunities,” Evanow said in a press release. “The WBENC not only helps open doors, but it also helps make sure you have an ally on the other side.”
Square One celebrated 15 years of operation in 2021. The company has expanded its distribution footprint with United National Foods and KeHE Distributors as new partners. The further it grows, the more attention will be brought to the brand and its organic mission.