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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Grain

    A couple of things I learned recently that you might find interesting.

    The American distilleries have their own sources for corn, some buying direct from farmers, others from silos. While some of the corn is grown in Kentucky, most of it is from Indiana.

    The rye mostly comes from the Dakotas, Minnesota, or Canada.

    The wheat used mostly comes from Kentucky, usually directly from the farmer.

    One silo in Louisville supplies all of the rye for the industry.

    The malt comes from Milwaukee. Malt is in short supply right now and the maltsters are allocating supplies.

  2. #2
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    Re: Grain

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    A couple of things I learned recently that you might find interesting.

    The American distilleries have their own sources for corn, some buying direct from farmers, others from silos. While some of the corn is grown in Kentucky, most of it is from Indiana.

    The rye mostly comes from the Dakotas, Minnesota, or Canada.

    The wheat used mostly comes from Kentucky, usually directly from the farmer.

    One silo in Louisville supplies all of the rye for the industry.

    The malt comes from Milwaukee. Malt is in short supply right now and the maltsters are allocating supplies.
    Chuck,

    As I recall from my distillery visits last year at least 2 distilleries (4 roses and WT) claimed that they used imported rye from Sweden. I think our bistre climate serves rye quality good. We do use a lot of rye ourselves for bread. Rye bread in Sweden is not bread with a certain rye content; it is bread made of entirely rye.

    Leif
    Swedish lover of American whiskey

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Grain

    I find this extremely interesting and wonder if (as for so many things in the whiskey world) this is a surviving trace of a historical pratice originating in the distant past. And if so, it might point to the European origins of the distillation of rye in America (or rather, this would be additional data or evidence).

    Gary

  4. #4
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    Re: Grain

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    While some of the corn is grown in Kentucky, most of it is from Indiana.
    Another reason why Indiana is awesome!

    That is very interesting information actually. I wonder why the distillers don't do their own malting like the Scotch distilleries do?

  5. #5
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    Re: Grain

    I can smell the yeast and malt plants here in Milwaukee. It is good to know that something in bourbon is produced here.
    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough". Mark Twain

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Grain

    The information is from Craig Beam at Heaven Hill.

    It may be that the one grain silo in Louisville that deals in rye gets it from different places, including Sweden. Silos are just distributors, after all, and rye is not a big crop here.

    Although I didn't mention it, HipFlask guessed right. Their yeast also is from Milwaukee.

    As for malting, very few of the Scottish distilleries do their own either. Just like only Brown-Forman makes its own barrels and nobody makes their own stills. Some things are just better left to specialists.

  7. #7
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    Re: Grain

    That is very interesting information actually. I wonder why the distillers don't do their own malting like the Scotch distilleries do?[/quote]

    The only distillery that does all the work still by it self is Springbank(Campbelltown) all others malting just a wee bit themselves for the touristindustry,the most of the malted barley comes from big plants nowadays just because it is cheaper.There is a big malting plant in what was the Port Ellen distillery on Islay and a big plant in/near Glasgow serving most of the country and even Japan.
    Eric.
    Netherlands

  8. #8
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    Re: Grain

    Interesting info indeed. Couple questions:

    Any idea what percentage of the total annual production of these grains goes to the whiskey industry?

    When I visited the Tabasco factory some years ago (a distillery tour of a different sort), the tour guide explained that they have pepper fields not only in Louisiana but also in Central and South America. The reason was that they couldn't risk a crop failure in a given area cutting off their pepper supply for a whole year, so they spread the production around to mitigate the risk. Does the whiskey industry have similar contingency plans with its grain suppliers?

    Thanks,
    Larry
    I got the St Louis blues, I'm blue as I can get.
    I sent Louis to the liquor store, and he ain't come back yet.
    -Jimmy Johnson, "The Twelve Bar Blues"

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Grain

    A bit of rough research...(this may be totally incorrect)

    Beam used about 3.4 million bushels of corn in 2003.
    We'll assume that Beam produces 1/5th of all US whiskey
    So that means 17 million bushels of corn are used in whiskey production in the US.

    17 million bushels is 531,250 metric tons of corn

    The same year there was 256,278,000 metric tons of corn produced in the US.

    That gives a 0.2% of total Corn usage.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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