California distillery wins USA Today award

Laney Griffo
Jon Dorfman and Dan Kennerson sample their award winning vodka.
Provided/ Katrina Dorfman

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — California distillery South Fork Vodka, which distributes at Lake Tahoe, has won USA Today’s Best Craft Distillery.

South Fork Vodka was founded in Grass Valley in 2018.

Co-founder Jon Dorfman and his partner Dan Kennerson have backgrounds in physics. They worked together at a firm specializing in ethanol remediation.

When the company closed, Kennerson bought the research facility but they needed a way to pay off the loan.

The two used their background in ethanol remediation to launch South Fork Vodka.

Since then, they’ve won three national awards and 21 international awards.

“We couldn’t do it without community support,” Dorfman said.

Dorfman added that they are trying to redefine the definition of quality.

He recommends everyone tries a quarter cup at room temperature to see how smooth it is but doesn’t suggest drinking a lot of it straight.

“It’s a really smooth vodka, it makes a heck of a martini,” Dorfman said, adding that he also likes it with fresh pressed juice and a salt rim.

However, it’s not just the vodka itself that is important to Dorfman, he also wants to use the company to give back.

“We want to repurpose the intention around consumption,” Dorfman said.

They are currently working to develop a way for consumers to decide where their money is donated, including the Humane Society.

South Fork Vodka can be found in South Lake Tahoe at California Burger Company, Raley’s and Safeway.

To learn more, visit

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