In the Doghouse

Devotion Vodka's Transparency Hides Its Poisonous Product

Proudly endorsed by Jersey Shore's very own The SheepuationDevotion vodka is hiding something behind its nutrition label—the alcohol. They're very up front about the 96 calories per serving, and certainly proud of the 0g of sugar and cholesterol. In that "healthfulness," Devotion joins Michelob and a growing host of other alcohol companies to tout the healthfulness of their booze. Devotion CEO Drew Adelman touts the brand's status as "the first company in a large pool of brands to feature a nutrition label on our bottles, ‘baring all’ with pride," according to MediaPost Agency Daily. But all of this hides the fact that alcohol-related harm has never derived from sodium, sugar, cholesterol, trans-fats, FODMAPs, or anything like that. Alcohol-related harm has always derived... from alcohol.

This is not Devotion's first attempt at cornering the "healthy booze" market. Alcohol Justice featured them on the front page of its 2011 report on Questionable Health Claims by Alcohol Companies" after it infused its product with protein and a casein (a body-building supplement). Despite the enthusiastic support of renowned fitness icons like Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, the brand has now pivoted away from the physical fitness angle and towards an earthier health consciousness. Now billed as sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and American-made, Devotion seems to be striving to reach the patriotic organic farmer with Celiac disease.

Yet the ultimate problem remains: Devotion is highly distilled alcohol. According to the NIAAA, alcohol's toxic effects on the body include: damage to the heart muscle, elevated blood pressure, fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, inflammation of the pancreas, weakened immune system, and increased risk for cancers of mouth, throat, liver, and breast. Ironically, there is little evidence that vodkas—even grain vodkas—contain any gluten in the first place. Alcohol itself causes a number of acute digestive problems, including GI pain, inflammation, bowel issues, and inhibited nutrient absorption, which are similar to those attributed to gluten. But if Devotion is to be believed, stomach pains are due to pizza crust, not the caustic, clear organic poison called alcohol. By tying itself to the values of simplicity and transparency, Devotion is pulling the wool over its customers' eyes.