September 6, 2018
3 Family Businesses And The Latest Whiskey Venture
Our Bardstown rickhouses have played a crucial role in our whiskey-making process, but an equally-intriguing stage of our Bourbon process has taken root right across the street.
Last year we planted seeds at a family-owned farm across the street from our rickhouses in Bardstown, KY. The seeds were designed to flourish in this region of Kentucky and were specifically selected for our latest experiment – the Grain to Glass Project.
We embarked on the Grain to Glass Project to examine whiskey’s rawest element – its grain – and to produce a unique product.
It’s an ambitious project in an industry that dates back to ancient times, but there’s no better time to tackle the challenge than in the middle of the Bourbon Renaissance.
Drawing from more than 80 years of learnings as a family-owned and operated company, we decided to partner with other family-owned companies for the project.
We worked with a family-owned seed company – Beck’s Hybrid – to discover unique seeds that were optimal for whiskey production. From there, we worked with Peterson Farms, a family-owned farm, to plant the seeds and harvest the grains.
The first seed selected for the project had never been sold to any other distillery before, and the second seed was a waxy corn seed that yields starch at a significantly higher level than normal dent corn.
The third seed hasn’t been finalized yet, but planting will begin this fall.
To utilize the grains, we created three original mashbills that will produce a high-wheat Bourbon, a high-rye Bourbon, and a high-rye rye whiskey. We will harvest enough grain each year to produce more than 300 barrels of each mashbill.
It’s an interesting experiment that lets us tweak variables in the Bourbon process, analyze the final product, and create something new. And we get to do it with other families that are passionate about their crafts.
We plan to share our learnings in the form of specialty whiskeys, and we hope you enjoy drinking them as much as we enjoyed creating them.