Chernobyl is all over the news these days — an HBO show created about the 1986 nuclear disaster recently aired and led to a spike in visitors to the Exclusion Zone; in July, the government of Ukraine turned the site into an official tourist attraction; and now, scientists are making booze from crops grown in the area.
Atomik Vodka is an artisan spirit made with grain and water from land in the areas of Ukraine abandoned after the explosion and it’s the first consumer product to come from this part of the world.
A group of scientists from Ukraine and the UK, who have been studying the radioactivity of crops in the area, brewed one bottle of the unique spirit.
And no, the vodka is not radioactive. The distillation of the fermented grains reduces radioactivity in the grain to make a product that is no more radioactive than any other vodka.
Professor Jim Smith of the University of Portsmouth, a leading expert on Chernobyl and a member of the group that led to the making of Atomik Vodka, is confident that this is the start of the economic revival of the area. He said to the University of Portsmouth, “I think this is the most important bottle of spirits in the world because it could help the economic recovery of communities living in and around the abandoned areas.”
Seventy-five percent of the profits from the sale of Atomik Vodka will be given back to the communities still economically impacted by the explosion.