After five seasons of growing rye at our farm in Independence, Oregon, the time was right for a change.
We hauled our bags of seed 171 miles across the Cascades to Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, Oregon. The new Field of Dream, 20 acres in all, was planted this spring.
All we’re trying to do is grow the best possible rye for our Oregon Rye Whiskey. Here are three reasons why this was a smart move.
Reason 1: Terroir
We’ve proven that the terroir of Tygh Valley produces great malting barley year after year. Since rye is also a cereal grain, we expect it will thrive here as well. The volcanic soils, a colder and drier winter than the Willamette Valley, and hot sunny summers create a terroir where our Dream Rye will grow tall, fill with kernels and ripen beautifully.
We were happy with the quality of the harvest in Independence. But out here it’ll be even better, and getting better is what we’re all about.
Reason Two: It Was Coming Here Anyway
The Dream Rye we grow to craft Oregon Rye Whiskey is floor malted here in Tygh Valley at the Farmstead Malt House. So… it was coming here anyway. Why not move the field here, too.
Our maltsters craft each small batch of malted rye with the same artisan techniques that floor maltsters have used for centuries. From steeping the grain, to flipping it on the floor, to drying it in the kiln and bagging it – each step is done by hand. Our guys see, touch and sniff the rye at every step from steeping to bagging.
Because the Dream Rye we planted at the farm this spring will also be floor malted at the farm, it will be a genuine Farmstead Rye Floor Malt.
*Reason Three: #@!% Slugs**
We haven’t had the best of luck growing rye in Independence, thanks to some annoying field slugs. Our first crop of rye was completely eaten by slugs back in 2011. Last year, we lost ten acres to the hungry little gastropods.
If you can’t beat ’em, move. Out here we can finally just say no to slugs!
What Doesn’t Change
Rogue’s legendary Brewmaster John Maier will continue to craft the wash.
Our Spirits Wizard Jake Holshue will transform John’s wash into Oregon Rye Whiskey.
The whiskey will gracefully barrel age in the ocean aging room at the Rogue Distillery in Newport, Oregon.
We don’t know how long it will take until we open the barrels and hand bottle the first batch of Oregon Rye Whiskey made with the Dream Rye we grew and floor malted in Tygh Valley. Let’s just say it’ll be years, not months. Growing your own, floor malting your own and crafting spirits requires a lot of patience.
But it will be so worth it. Stick with us and your patience will be rewarded too.