Ryefarmer

California newbie

6 posts in this topic

Hi,

I'm another newbie. I'm on a 3 generation family farm in Northern California. My family also owns a winery and we would like to start making brandy. But we also grow lots of rye (more than the cows can eat). It grows like a weed here and it doesn't sell real well so we would like to make rye spirits as well. Others have used it a little and it makes great whiskey. It would also be great to use much of the equipment of the winery in off season. We are currently in the process of permitting and are about to receive our DBA which is different than the winery.

I've spent the last few days traveling the website and really appreciate the info I have found.

Ryefarmer

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Hi Ryefarmer,

Just curious if you were looking to sell any of that extra rye you are growing? The distillery where I work is on the lookout for California rye. Preferably organic.

If so, reply here and we'll get in touch.

Cheers

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Hi Ryankf,

Most of the rye we have left now is outside on the ground going to the cows and is too weathered. So there is little available now. But could be in the future. We do raise quite a bit of organic grain (wheat and barley) and we are organic certified. Up until now we've only put rye on outlying and not so good lands 'cause it'll grow anywhere and provide good weed control. But we sure are reconsidering putting more in. It is pretty good rye gown at high altitude in volcanic soils and makes a very complex sweet and spicy drink.

The problem growing rye commercially. for us anyway. is that it is a pretty low yield crop and large amounts haven't been cost effective to grow. We have typically dumped around 30 tons a year (a truck load) to the cows (but they really don't like it much except for the stuff we hay). That would be sufficient for our little operation but isn't very much for some or most distilleries. My brother and I are talking about more in this year and have discussed the commercial avenue but haven't yet decided. I afraid we would  have to price our self out of the markets if we grew commercial organic rye.

At any rate I really can't commit right now but if you are interested I can keep in touch with you. How much do you think you would need?

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That'd be great, we're definitely interested if/when the economies of scale make sense. I'd be looking for around 15-20,000 lbs per year. right now i'm taking grain in 2,000lbs super sack totes.

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That amount shouldn't be hard to put aside in the future. Organic land around here is high dollar land and I suspect organic rye would have to be in excess of $700 a ton. (yeah I know!!) whereas regular rye is going for $160 a ton. This year we tried selling 30 tons to our local organic dairy who buys the rest of our grain and to the local grain marketer and neither one of them wanted it. so it is not an attractive grain for many farmers to grow around here. Most of it is hayed off and fed. It was only when we tasted the whiskey that we began to think maybe we ought to get into it. It would work well with the winery and some of it is grown on the same piece of ground the winery (and future distillery) is on.

I look forward to possible future dealings.

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Yeah, that's what I've been hearing from other farmers down in Paso and Tehachapi Valley. For it to be realistic for us we'd be looking at around $0.30 per/lbs, so you're really not as far off as you might think. The freight might be an issue, but if we purchased in large enough quantities it might work. Maybe I could give you call sometime and we could talk about possible options? - ryan

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