At Native Vinegar Company we specialize in spontaneously fermented, small batch, barrel aged vinegars.
We believe that using local grains, foraged fruits and plants fermented with native yeast and bacteria from our surroundings can create a unique product expressive of ones terroir.
Where does the name NATIVE come from?
The name Native refers to the native yeast and bacteria used to ferment our malt, local grains, and often used native foraged items in our area.
We start with our spontaneously fermented ales that have been barrel aged from one to four years. Then we solera our spontaneously fermented ales into a variety of choice casks, all while allowing a secondary fermentation to occur in which acetobacter converts alcohol to acetic acid.
We then allow our vinegar to mature and reduce naturally through the means of evaporation. This process allows for a completely unique expression of our terroir.
What is Spontaneous Fermentation?
Spontaneous fermentation is the fermentation that naturally occurs when wild yeast and microorganisms are encouraged to propagate in a specific type of medium such as cider, unfermented wort/malt, and fruit juice. Before commercial usage of yeast, this was the way alcohol was prepared. We believe that by taking a natural and historic approach in preparing our vinegars were able to encapsulate a little window of our terroir, allowing expression of time, place, and those around us.
Finding Beauty In Spontaneity
Spontaneous fermentation can produce some of the most diverse and exquisite flavor profiles. Ranging from bright floral aromas to citrus, cherry, tropical fruit all the way to barnyard funk. Every batch of vinegar is going to be slightly different every time due to the wild yeast and bacterial populations currently in our air source on the day of production. Our window for producing in Western Pennsylvania is however very short, ranging from early November till late March. Typically it’s safe to spontaneously ferment when the ambient temperatures consistently fall below 50 degrees, thus allowing the wild yeast and good bacteria to populate.
All of our spontaneously fermented vinegars will spend some time in barrels. Some will see extended maturation in neutral barrels as others will be transferred to specialty spirit based casks to compliment their flavor profiles.
At Native Vinegar Company, our spent grain used to make our spontaneously fermented vinegars is given to a local farmer named Brian, who uses the grain for feed and compost.
When we forage in our local woods we ensure we are ethically harvesting and leaving some for the next year and our fellow furry friends.
We truly enjoy partnering with local farms as much as possible, utilizing the crops of the season and produce that may not be able to be sold at market when available.
Grapefruits, Bananas, X fruit, veggie, etc are not Native to Pennsylvania
Correct, while the majority of the additions to our vinegars are local orchard fruits, foraged fruits and plants that can be found in Western Pennsylvania, some are not. In an effort to not stifle our creativity we may branch outside of what is available during the season from time to time.
Is my vinegar Alive?!
Yes, all NATIVE VINEGAR Co. products are spontaneously fermented, unpasteurized, and unfiltered. Its not uncommon to see a small raft that will develop on the top of the vinegar in the bottle, thats just the living mother reforming.