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About Food Grade Ethanol

What is Food Grade Alcohol?

Answer: "Food grade alcohol" means ethyl alcohol that is safe for human consumption because of it's purity (ie lack of additives).  Period.  Food grade alcohol goes by many names in the industry, including "food grade ethanol", "nondenatured alcohol", "grain alcohol", or "190 proof grain", and "food grade EtOH", "Anhydrous Ethanol".  Denatured alcohol is not food grade alcohol.

Fun fact: The word "ethanol" was picked in 1892 as a combination of the chemistry term "ethane" (for the carbon chain) and "ol" (for being in the alcohol group).   

What is food grade alcohol used for?

Food grade alcohol is useful for so many applications. Most notable applications include:

Culinary Solvent is Food Safe and Human Safe

Used for thousands of years, the long term and short term health effects of small doses of nondenatured ethanol on the human body are known and understood.  Culinary Solvent contains no additives, and the products made using it are safe for human consumption or topical application. 

The Catch: Because there are no additives in Culinary Solvent, there is an additional cost included in the price posted on our store. This cost is known as the Federal Excise Tax (FET), a required tax nation wide for ethanol that is nondenatured.  Even though the FET is paid on the ethanol, using Culinary Solvent as a beverage product is still prohibited by state and federal regulations.

Is Culinary Solvent the Same thing as Everclear?

There are many similarities and important differences between Culinary Solvent and Everclear 190 proof alcohol.  Please read our blog post that explains the similarities and differences between Everclear and Culinary Solvent.


Why use food grade alcohol over denatured alcohol?

Food grade ethanol is a powerful natural human-safe solvent, useful for lots of food safe applications that may come in contact with people.  For this reason, food grade ethanol is especially useful in the kitchen, the laboratory, and the workbench. 
Denatured alcohol contains toxic additives and is a lower quality alternative to nondenatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol cannot be substituted for nondenatured alcohol, but nondenatured can be substituted for denatured.  

It's about the people.

"Who" & "Where" your food grade ethanol comes from matters.  We are the Northern Maine Distilling Company.  Read more about the family owned operation that distills Culinary Solvent in Northern Maine.

    About the people that make Culinary Solvent 

    Continue Learning About Food Grade Ethanol

    Remember: Ethanol is alcohol, but not all alcohol is ethanol.  Only pure unaltered ethanol is food safe alcohol. 

    You will also see common terms added before or after the word alcohol.  These words may include:

    • Anhydrous Alcohol:  Anhydrous means "no water", and is the term used to describe 100% ethyl alcohol.
    • Absolute Alcohol: The term "Absolute" in the chemistry world refers to alcohol that contains no more than 1% water.  
    • Nondenatured Alcohol / Undenatured Alcohol:  Nondenatured means "no additives".  Only nondenatured ethanol is food safe ethanol.  Read more: About Denatured vs Nondenatured Ethanol

    ​The terms "Ethanol", "Ethyl Alcohol", and "Grain Alcohol" are commonly used interchangeably, and do mean the same thing: food safe alcohol.
    We use the term "Food Grade" to distinguish our  pure ethanol from the confusion and distraction.