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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Spirit of the Panhandle: Distillery 98 in Santa Rosa Beach makes oyster-filtered vodka

A row of drinks on a table surrounded by dried fruit and flowers.
Distillery 98
Distillery 98 is a nod to U.S. Highway 98, which hugs the Emerald Coast.

Harrison Holditch, who owns the distillery with his brother-in-law, discusses the inspiration for Half Shell Vodka.

Listen to the episode

Harrison Holditch has heard the jokes: Florida Man, Redneck Riviera.

The Sunshine State, and the Panhandle in particular, are an easy target.

But Holditch and his brother-in-law, who own Distillery 98 in Santa Rosa Beach, wanted to make something their town could be proud of. (The distillery’s name is a nod to U.S. Highway 98, which hugs the Emerald Coast.)

So during the glass shortage of 2021, the guys got the idea for Half Shell Vodka. It’s a spirit made with Florida corn, filtered with Florida oysters and sold in a bottle made of recycled paperboard (a version of cardboard).

Harrison recently road-tripped to Tampa Bay to spread the word about Half Shell Vodka. Dalia met up with him to discuss the inspiration for the spirit, Harrison’s commitment to repping the Panhandle and his favorite ways to enjoy the beverage.

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