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How We Grow Whiskey

Here’s what two week old whiskey really looks like.


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What you’re seeing are the first shoots of the Dream Rye we planted earlier this month at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon. Not much to look at right now, we know. But starting next spring they’ll transform into tall stalks filled with rye kernels. By mid-summer they’ll be several feet tall and ready to be harvested for new batches of Oregon Rye Whiskey and Roguenbier Rye Ale.

Beer and spirits begin in the dirt.

A closer look at a shoot of Dream Rye.
A closer look at a shoot of Dream Rye.

The shoots are barely more than two inches tall. The crop goes into a dormant like state during colder months, setting down roots while drawing moisture and nutrients from the alluvial soils of Rogue Farms, while saving up energy for the spring growth spurt. But for now, the shoots stay short, limiting their exposure to cold temperatures.

We planted 20 acres of Dream Rye on higher ground out of the flood plain.
We planted 20 acres of Dream Rye on higher ground out of the flood plain.

Rye is a tough grain. Except for the slugs which ate our first crop a few years ago, Rogue Farms Dream Rye can handle pretty much anything Mother Nature sends its way. That toughness gives rye a unique spicy flavor you’ll taste in our Roguenbier Rye Ale and, when it’s ready, Oregon Rye Whiskey.

One of the great things about growing our own ingredients is that we can look at small shoots emerging from the soil and imagine how they’ll taste in one of our beers or spirits a year or two down the road. Can we really wait that long? Of course we can. If anything, farming has taught us to be patient.

Join us at Rogue Farms this winter and see for yourself the beginning of the journey from ground to glass.

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