Wyborowa (which means exquisite in Polish) is a brand of vodka originating in Poland. Its production started in 1823 in Poznan distillery owned by businessman Hartwig Kantorowicz. However, it took over 40 years until Wyborowa was exported. In the 1950s and 60s, Wyborowa became known in all major European countries - it constituted over 60% of the total volume of vodka exported to the United Kingdom.
After the period of economic transition in the late 1980s and early 90s, the Poznan distillery, like many others in the country, got itself into serious trouble and was close to filing for bankruptcy protection. However, due to the large international popularity of its major product, the plant was bought by the French alcohol producer Pernod Ricard. The new owners have shown great respect towards the long traditions of Wyborowa and have kept the product unchanged.
Wyborowa is produced from rye grain, using a double-step distillation process.
The rye is sent to small privately owned agricultural distilleries, where the rye is mashed and distilled once to produce "raw spirit". When the rye arrives at the agricultural distillery, it is ground and then cooked within a large vessel using heated water from the distillery's own source. The mixture is treated with enzymes that facilitate the hydrolysis of starch to glucose. Afterwards, it undergoes fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Once the fermentation has been completed, the resulting liquid is known as the 'wash' and has an alcoholic strength of between 7% and 11% ABV The wash is distilled in a copper column still, yielding a spirit around 90% ABV. It takes 3 kg of rye to produce one litre of spirit. This "raw spirit" is then transferred to the rectification plant for further purification.
The raw spirit passes through three columns of a continuous still to remove impurities. Before Wyborowa is bottled, the rectified spirit needs to be reduced to the bottling strength of 40% ABV by diluting it with water from a dedicated spring. Once diluted the vodka is passed though natural cellulose plates and mesh filters to remove particulate matter. Filtered vodka is pumped to the bottling line, where 5,000 bottles of Wyborowa are filled per hour.