Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

In an ongoing effort to bring the production of rye grain back to Kentucky, Woodford Reserve announced a five-year commitment to purchasing the grain from local farmers while working with the University of Kentucky to conduct research.

Beginning this summer, Woodford Reserve will run small distillation trials on ten rye varieties to determine their flavor nuances that impact bourbon.

“If we can bring rye back to Kentucky, it would not only support farmers but give a sustainable grain to whiskey producers across the state,” Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall said. “Sustainability is a topic I care passionately about – and, working with partners, we can make a big impact.”

Woodford Reserve will purchase the rye grown by four farmers in the trial for the next five years. The grain will be used in production and distillery trials to run sensory tests on the final distillate.

Rye is difficult to grow in Kentucky because of its warm, humid climate. Rye is mainly sourced by distillers from the cooler climates of Canada or Europe. To overcome these challenges, more than $1 million will be invested collectively by partners in the development of an open-sourced Kentucky variety over the course of the program.

This project aims to uncover an open-sourced rye variety that will grow locally in Kentucky.

Click here to sign up for The Bourbon Flight Newsletter.
Click here to join The Flight Club.