Rice is a staple in Acadia Parish and on our dinner plates.
Soon, rice could also be a staple in your liquor cabinet or at your favorite bar. A rice farmer here in Acadia Parish has a vodka made from rice on store shelves and a whiskey could be on the way.
Michael Fruge was looking for a way to add value to his rice crop, on a farm that produces 9 million pounds of rice a year.
He says it was after much brainstorming that the idea of producing alcohol was born.
“We were throwing around lots of ideas and this is the one that stuck. We are still in the middle of the experiment. We don’t know of we are going to make rice whisky or not. this could be a big waste of time,” Fruge explains.
The company’s vodka, JT Meleck is already being sold in Louisiana.
“It’s named after my great uncle John Meleck, he is the founder of our farm. Even though it’s made from rice, the taste is no different from any other vodka,” Fruge said.
It’s labeling, a clear indication of the connection to the place his founder has lived all of his life.
“I’ve had many opportunities to move. i have another business in Dallas so by all right i should have moved there a long time ago. I haven’t and don’t want to. I like being here and being apart of the culture,” Fruge said.
So the business is here to stay. The vodka has been on store shelves since July 2018. Most of the whiskey has been going through the aging process in these barrels for about two years.
So, when will it be ready?
“I don’t know, it’s never been done before,” Fruge explains.