BY RAE RITCHIE
If asked to think of iconic British food produce, what springs to mind? Melton Mowbray pork pies? Scotch beef? Cheddar cheese?
How about Sarson’s Vinegar?
In countries that grow grapes, they drink wine and produce wine vinegars. However, us Brits have traditionally grown barley thus drank beer – and created our malt vinegars using a similar method.
Breweries and whisky distilleries mash then ferment barley to create alcohol. So do the vinegar makers at Sarson’s – they even use beautiful old barrels! Their technicians also share the skill and passion of master brewers, tending lovingly to their wares, even on Christmas Day.
After the initial fermentation, they use giant pine and oak vats part filled with wood wool, which contains a naturally good bacteria called acetobacter and provides filtration to extract the alcohol. This process takes seven days and is unique to Sarson’s; other manufacturers allow just twenty-four hours and use stainless steel vats.
It’s this process that gives Sarson’s its distinctive taste, and they’ve been making vinegar the same way since Thomas Sarson started the company back in 1794.
Today Sarson’s produce an incredible two hundred bottles of their vinegar per minute but still only use the same three ingredients to do so: malted Norfolk barley, water from the Lake District and larch wood wool from the Vale of Evesham.
Their brown glass bottle deserves a place in our national food heritage as well as on our shelves, so next time you’re shopping remember, in the words of their advert, ‘Don’t say vinegar, say Sarson’s’.
Find out more at: https://www.sarsons.co.uk/