Prentiss Orr and Barry Young founded Boyd & Blair in 2005 with the goal of making classic vodka by hand using local potatoes from sustainable farms. And they've stayed true to that goal: all of the potatoes for their vodka come from three nearby counties in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania. This philosophy helped them receive an agricultural grant aimed at helping potato farmers develop new markets for their harvest. They're following another tradition as well: Boyd & Blair was one of the first distilleries to open in Western Pennsylvania since before Prohibition, helping to rekindle a once thriving industry.
A potato base gives the vodka a sweet, clean flavor more similar to Russian style vodkas than the grain-based versions that have become popular in America. And they pour their hearts into every bottle....literally. For every batch of vodka produced in a single still, there are three parts – the "heads," bitter, toxic alcohol that's tossed; the "hearts," naturally sweet spirits collected a batch at a time; and the "tails," which most distillers recycle – but not Boyd & Blair. They bottle just the hearts.
The company is named for a patriarchal relative of each founder who inspired them to not only start their company, but also stay dedicated to the craft, quality and partnership with farmers. These days, Barry leads the company as Chief Distiller along with a team including Rob Ricci, Patrick Neidig and Andy Riegner. Together, they do it all, from creating their own potato mash to sealing and signing every bottle, resulting in a pure, smooth vodka meant to be savored sip by sip.