GOOD GUY DISTILLERS W RITTE N B Y L A S H AY MAY F I E L D P H OTOGR APH Y B Y R O B I E Z I E G L E R
FOR AN ESTATE DISTILLERY THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ESTATE GRAIN
o manufacture distilled spirits as an estate distillery in the state of Nevada, the law requires under code NRS 597.200 that “85 percent of the agricultural raw materials from which the distilled spirit is manufactured, in the aggregate, were grown on land owned or controlled by the owner of the distillery.” Code NRS 597.237 states that “none of the spirits manufactured at the estate distillery can be derived from neutral or distilled spirits manufactured by another manufacturer.” As an estate distillery, Bently Heritage must operate by these stipulations. This article will focus on some advantages and disadvantages of growing grain as an estate distillery and ways to maintain grain quality for both malted and unmalted grain. W W W . ARTISANSPIRITMAG . C O M
ADVANTAGES TO GROWING YOUR OWN GRAIN CONDITION OF THE GRAIN The main advantage of operating as an estate distillery is the ability to work directly with the farmers to ensure that quality standards are being met throughout the growing process. Knowing the condition of the grain reveals information about the consistency and condition of the kernel, including moisture content, objectionable odor, insect infestation, and damage by frost, heat, mold or rot. There are many factors that affect grain profile, including varying weather patterns. The growth and condition of the grain can easily be affected by the amount of sunlight, which can vary within a field. In addition, all grain types may not germinate at the same rate, even on the same plot of land. It is common practice in barley growing to harvest different batches from different spots of the same plot of grain when the barley is intended to be malted. This
provides more consistent malting as protein levels and germination rates would be more consistent in the batch. Keep in mind that not all grain types should be treated equally. Some should be handled with more delicacy than others during different growing and harvesting periods. For example, barley intended for malting should be grown and harvested with care to prevent problems, such as processing issues, off flavors, poor yeast growths and yields, milling issues, varying protein content, moisture content, and plumpness. For all grain types involvement in grain growth helps identify issues early on, keeps all of the same grain profiles separate from one another, and ensures it grows more consistently.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FARMERS Building a working relationship with the farmers not only allows the distiller to know the farming conditions, but control over varietal choices. Understanding the varietal of grain allows for more consistency, especially in growing varietals that lead to changes in overall flavor profile. Most heirloom 31