adding problems:

additives & preservatives

You might be wondering why we’re talking about additives and preservatives. We make vodka not cakes…

But surprisingly… additives, preservatives and artificial flavourings are commonly used throughout the drinks industry – with no requirement for producers to declare they are present as they do on food labels.

More than 2,500 chemical substances are intentionally added to foods to modify flavour, colour, stability, texture, or cost. In addition, an estimated 12,000 substances are used in such a way that they may unintentionally enter the food supply. These substances include components of food-packaging materials, processing aids, pesticide residues, and drugs given to animals.


*Disclaimer: IF you grow it right.

Several studies1 show links between artificial food additives and diseases. Harvard Health lists various interactions between food additives and children’s health, finding that artificial colourants increase symptoms in children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – think blue smarties, but these are going in to your drink.

Now, we are all comfortable with putting a few ‘bad’ things into our body – vodka isn’t quite as ‘good’ as a piece of fruit, but at PURE we are keen to limit the bad to the bare minimum. It’s all about balance!

So, we make sure to keep all additives and preservatives away from our products.

This stuff fascinates us, so we thought we’d give you a bit more information about the most common items in your drinks…


The main additive used in spirits is E number; (E422). This artificial thickener and sweetener is approximately 26 times sweeter than sugar. It is used to hide the harshness of the spirit. Believe it or not, it is actually a by-product of making soap!

Glycerol in spirits add thickness and weight. It makes spirits more viscous and have a texture closer to honey, helping spirits slide down your throat, with the sweetness hiding the harshness as it does so – so it is understandable why many producers use it.

However, this adjustment throws off the balance of the spirit and affects the flavour and quality of the vodka’s original ingredients, resulting in a need to use another additive to rebalance the flavour. Additives plus more additives to achieve a ‘natural’ effect… it doesn’t add up to us.

We believe that if producers focused their efforts on sourcing higher quality raw ingredients and using cleaner distillation, they could achieve a better taste without needing additives to mask their flavour, resulting in a better-quality product that avoids the nasties. Unfortunately, high quality raw ingredients are often more expensive than adding additives, and for some, that profit margin needs to be at a certain level… but that’s none of my business.

In many countries, authorities are beginning to demand that producers list additives, such as glycerol, on their labelling, causing the demand for natural additives to steadily increase, and forcing companies to turn to more natural ingredients. According to the Oekobarometer 2017 study conducted by the German Ministry of Agriculture and Nutrition, the average German consumer’s main reasons for buying organic products include animal welfare and avoidance of additives and pesticides.


These are a type of preservative. They are a group of Sulphur-based chemicals, used for hundreds of years to preserve food and stop it spoiling. Without them, for example white wine2would be a brownish colour – which we know would look a bit yucky.


Sulphites are obviously useful and in the majority of cases, harmless to consumers, but they can have negative effects on some people – commonly asthmatics. They cause severe headaches, recurring coughs, and can be the reason you wake up with a husky voice the morning after a night out. To us its illogical to use an artificially manufactured substance when there are natural solutions available that don’t come with the unpleasant side effects. At WM Spirits, we would rather avoid the risk and keep them out of my drink, and out of our head.


We ensure that all of our products are both sulphite and preservative free.

(Just like William McCoy would’ve wanted)

1Read more about the effects of common food additives at: Harvard Health Publishing

2Read more about sulphites in wine at The Wine Spectator: Sulphites in Wine

Say no to Glycerol (E422). Be sure that your drink is additive and preservative free. Drink PURE.