Why, yes, we are glad you asked…
We use a special method that was all the rage and considered super high-tech in the early 1800s. It is sometimes referred to as the German or drip method. We think it produces incredible vinegars with a nuanced depth of flavor and bright colors.
This is actually the way many vinegar works around the world produced vinegars through the early to mid 1900s.
And then there was a leap in vinegar ‘innovation’ that allowed bigger companies to produce vinegars more quickly and efficiently using a new process called submerged vinegar fermentation. This new method was so great for production that just about every vinegar maker gave up on the drip method.
What was so great about this method? Well, mostly, it came down to speed and efficiency—something that could take months before now could be done in two hours to two days.
You will notice that we didn’t say this submerged vinegar fermentation innovation was great for taste or quality—just production, profits, and bland standardization. For context, this vinegar production method came shortly after Americans were introduced to other culinary delights such as canned pasta and tasteless, sliced white bread.
Because of the cost and efficiency savings this new submerged method completely drowned out other vinegar production methods. With very rare exceptions this is the process being used to make the vinegars you find in most supermarkets—and this is why most vinegars are cheap but just taste like acid and barely anything else.
We are proud to be delightfully inefficient at American Vinegar Works and produce with retro tech from 1800s.