Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Hard Times Rye

  1. #1
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Heart of the Beaver State
    Posts
    2,395

    Hard Times Rye

    A couple of local guys, not what you'd call wealthy, with big plans.

    If you follow the link to their website, pay no attention to the term "straight rye whiskey" - they've already been advised that they can't use that term for their whiskey. They'd love to be able to age it two years in new charred barrels, but can't afford that (yet). Second hand barrels are cheap here in Oregon wine country, and any they buy from the winery next door can be rolled over, eliminating transportation costs as well.

    The following is lifted from my blog, so if it seems that's it's directed to a more general audience than sb.com, that's because it is.

    Hard Times Distillery
    New distilleries are popping up in Oregon faster than mushrooms after a summer rain. This time three years ago there were only ten; currently the number is approaching twenty five. Most are small, variously called "boutique", "craft", "artisan" or "micro" distilleries. We had one in Corvallis for a while (Ransom), during the early years of the 201st decade, but in 2004 it relocated to the greener pastures of McMinnville.

    But just down the road, in the thriving metropolis of Monroe, another one is starting up. Located in a former granary just north of the Broadley winery, Hard Times Distillery will begin producing vodka and whiskey within the next few months.

    It's been a year since owners Dudley Clark and James Stegall began the process of finding a location, obtaining the required permissions and permits from federal, state and municipal authorities, purchasing all the parts and pieces and assembling them into a functioning distillery. There are still a number of items yet to come in, such as a column for the second still and barrels for aging the whiskey, but they're getting very close.

    Initially the partners plan to produce their spirits from rye. A number of vodkas are made from this grain (Sobieski, Square One, Belvedere) and rye whiskey has been around even longer than bourbon. Since the end of prohibition most rye whiskies are made partially from corn and malted barley (a typical "mashbill" being 60% rye, 30% corn and 10% malted barley). At Hard Times, however, the goal is to produce a 100% rye spirit. "I'm a purist," says Dudley Clark, "and I'd like to avoid using anything else."

    The trick with this, of course, will be getting the rye starch to convert into sugar. Unless you add enzymes (something Clark hopes to avoid), then the mash needs to contain a portion of malted grain (grain allowed to partly germinate, which generates natural enzymes that convert starch to sugar). Barley malt is very good for this, rye malt not as much. As of January 10th, Clark has not made a final decision.

    The next step is fermentation, and rye is a notoriously difficult grain to ferment, with a tendency to "ball up" into clumps. Clark is investigating solutions to this as well.

    Their target for initial production is the end of February. High proof spirit will be produced and bottled as vodka, lower proof will go into barrels, ultimately to be bottled as whiskey. Some of the latter may be bottled in as soon as four or six months, not a long time for whiskey, but the partners need to recoup some of their investment. "We're pretty close to maxed out," says Clark.

    Assuming all goes well, longer range plans might include wasabi-infused vodka, and a vodka made from wine. Perhaps even gin (dare we hope for a genever style?).

    In any event, I plan to be first in line for both the vodka and the whiskey, and you'll be seeing my reviews here. Stay tuned.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  2. #2
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Heart of the Beaver State
    Posts
    2,395

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Update on Hard Times.

    The partners have decided to delay whiskey production until next year at the soonest, this year concentrating on vodka. Their still - a small column type - can be converted to operate as a pot still by removing the plates, but they've decided to acquire a new still more appropriate for whiskey when they get ready to do that.

    This, of course, all depends on how successful they are with their vodka. If that fails, then it will be hard times indeed.

    This also affects my own plans. I've communicated to a number of folks here (via chat and PM) that I'd planned to do a private label rye whiskey with HT, aging it in new charred American oak for 4+ years. Looks like that's on hold for a while...
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,604

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Why don't they just buy some rye whiskey and pretend they made it? That seems to work.

  4. #4
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Heart of the Beaver State
    Posts
    2,395

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Why don't they just buy some rye whiskey and pretend they made it? That seems to work.
    Because, Chuck, for some of us the creating of the thing is what it's all about.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,604

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Quote Originally Posted by CorvallisCracker View Post
    Because, Chuck, for some of us the creating of the thing is what it's all about.
    Yeah, but that's a sucker's game. At least one member of the new eleven-member DISCUS Craft Distillers Advisory Council has not sold one drop of anything he's made.

    Then again, I don't think very much of craft vodka either.

  6. #6
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Heart of the Beaver State
    Posts
    2,395

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Yeah, but that's a sucker's game.
    A bit of nastiness purely for the sake of being nasty. I'll give it the response it deserves:


    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    At least one member of the new eleven-member DISCUS Craft Distillers Advisory Council has not sold one drop of anything he's made.
    So? The DISCUS group is irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Then again, I don't think very much of craft vodka either.
    Neither do I. The HT partners are doing it as a means to an end. If they can make enough from vodka sales, they can move on to bigger and better things.

    There seems to be a common misconception that the craft distilleries are all started by "some rich guy" who's doing it as a self-indulgence. That may be true is some cases, but not all, and it's definitely not the case with HT.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,604

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    God, I hate to have to explain my jokes.

    I wasn't mocking the HT guys, Scott, I was mocking the guys who don't care about making anything and who operate Potemkin Craft Distilleries. I was being sarcastic. I get enough grief from those guys without getting it from people who agree with me but don't get my jokes. I complain about those guys all the time so it's my fault, my hubris for thinking people here actually read what I write.

    Obviously, my comment about the new DISCUS group just muddied the water. The DISCUS group is very appropriate, in that it represents the small producers who are furthest along in operating small scale distilled spirits businesses. But the fact that at least one of them has never sold a drop of anything he's distilled shows the focus is not on craft, it's on business.

    I think those guys are confusing this emerging industry, which is supposed to be about craft distilling. I certainly hope your buddies want to be craft distillers, not phonies who use the illusion of craft distilling to drive a different kind of business altogether.

    Feel free to disagree with me, Scott, but not when we actually agree.
    Last edited by cowdery; 03-03-2010 at 10:26.

  8. #8
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Tallahassee
    Posts
    1,384

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Feel free to disagree with me, Scott, but not when we actually agree.
    I don't get it. What exactly do you mean by that remark?

  9. #9
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Heart of the Beaver State
    Posts
    2,395

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Oh, I was quite aware that this

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Why don't they just buy some rye whiskey and pretend they made it? That seems to work.
    was a case of ironic humor.

    Quote Originally Posted by CorvallisCracker View Post
    Because, Chuck, for some of us the creating of the thing is what it's all about.
    So is pretending to not get it.

    However

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Yeah, but that's a sucker's game.
    when it involves name calling, it ceases to be amusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    God, I hate to have to explain my jokes.
    So do I.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I wasn't mocking the HT guys, Scott, I was mocking the guys who don't care about making anything and who operate Potemkin Craft Distilleries. I was being sarcastic. I get enough grief from those guys without getting it from people who agree with me but don't get my jokes. I complain about those guys all the time so it's my fault, my hubris for thinking people here actually read what I write.
    Sure, I read what you write, and completely agree with your view about these so-called distilleries. However that agreement is based on the knowledge of what they're doing/not doing. Yes, you've done us all a great service in bringing these facts forward, but others have done this as well, as well as providing information that bears on the character of some of the individuals behind these operations (paragraphs seven and eight are particularly revealing).

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Obviously, my comment about the new DISCUS group just muddied the water. The DISCUS group is very appropriate, in that it represents the small producers who are furthest along in operating small scale distilled spirits businesses.
    The OR distillery that's furthest along is Clear Creek, and it would be nice if it was CC, and not Rogue, on the council. Unfortunately Steve McCarthy is very much a "go my own way" guy and I'd bet any amount of money that he does not belong to the DISCUS group.

    Rogue is a real distillery, and they make some decent rums, but their 30 day old "Dead Guy Whiskey" is an embarrassment.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    But the fact that at least one of them has never sold a drop of anything he's distilled shows the focus is not on craft, it's on business.
    Which is one reason I question their relevance.

    Here in OR we have our own group, the Oregon Distillers Guild, which performs many of the same functions and then some.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I think those guys are confusing this emerging industry, which is supposed to be about craft distilling. I certainly hope your buddies want to be craft distillers, not phonies who use the illusion of craft distilling to drive a different kind of business altogether.
    I believe that they are. I wouldn't be considering a business relationship with them if I didn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Feel free to disagree with me, Scott, but not when we actually agree.
    I don't agree that using back-handed humor (particularly when it involves name-calling) is the best way to express approval of a distillery which is not doing something you've been saying shouldn't be done.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  10. #10
    Irreverent One
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Heart of the Beaver State
    Posts
    2,395

    Re: Hard Times Rye

    Anyway, in an attempt to get this thread back on track...

    Quote Originally Posted by CorvallisCracker View Post
    The partners have decided to delay whiskey production until next year at the soonest, this year concentrating on vodka. Their still - a small column type - can be converted to operate as a pot still by removing the plates, but they've decided to acquire a new still more appropriate for whiskey when they get ready to do that.

    This also affects my own plans. I've communicated to a number of folks here (via chat and PM) that I'd planned to do a private label rye whiskey with HT, aging it in new charred American oak for 4+ years. Looks like that's on hold for a while...
    ...I'll say that I probably have only myself to blame for this. I repeately advised them that it would be a mistake to age whiskey 4-6 months in second-hand wine barrels. Now they want to wait until they can get a whiskey-only still, new charred barrels and can age it longer. It would be silly to fault them for taking my advice, but the delay was an unanticipated consequence.
    Last edited by CorvallisCracker; 03-03-2010 at 13:05.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Los Angeles Times Article: Rye Whiskey Is Back
    By Sweetmeats in forum American Rye Whiskey
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 09-30-2005, 16:10

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top