Grass Valley distillery wins USA Today award |

Grass Valley distillery wins USA Today award

Jon Dorfman and Dan Kennerson sample their award-winning vodka.

Grass Valley distillery South Fork Vodka has won USA Today’s Best Craft Vodka Distillery award.

Co-founder Jon Dorfman and his partner Dan Kennerson have backgrounds in physics. They worked together at a firm specializing in ethanol remediation.

When the company closed, Kennerson bought the research facility, but they needed a way to pay off the loan.

The two used their background in ethanol remediation to launch South Fork Vodka, founding it in 2018.

Since then, they’ve won three national awards and 21 international awards.

“We couldn’t do it without community support,” Dorfman said.

Dorfman added that they are trying to redefine the definition of quality.

He recommends people try a quarter-cup at room temperature to see how smooth it is, but doesn’t suggest drinking a lot of it straight.

“It’s a really smooth vodka, it makes a heck of a martini,” Dorfman said, adding that he also likes it with fresh-pressed juice and a salt rim.

However, it’s not just the vodka itself that is important to Dorfman. He also wants to use the company to give back.

“We want to repurpose the intention around consumption,” Dorfman said.

To learn more, visit

Laney Griffo is a staff writer with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of The Union

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