5280: Your family has been farming in eastern Colorado since 1912. Why did you make the switch to growing for distillers in 2015?

Stephanie Ohnmacht: I was having a conversation with Alan Laws [founder of A.D. Laws Whiskey House] about sourcing local grains. I was in the fashion world at the time, but I thought, There’s an opportunity here. So we went to our folks back at the farm and said, “How would you feel about selling grains to distilleries?”

How do you cater to distillers?

SO: They want more heirloom varieties, not to just source general rye from a conglomerate. We’re selling more unique things like blue corn, millet, oats, and red corn.
Felicia Ohnmacht: We provide quality grains, but it’s more than that. Distillers can meet the farmers and form a great relationship.

What makes your grains better?

FO: We have a consistent product grown on one piece of land. Commodity grains could be mixed together from 15 different farmers and grown with different methods.
SO: Also, our grains are 99.99 percent clean, whereas some mass-market grains can have stuff from the field in there—dirt, corncobs, we’ve even heard of nails—which will affect the flavor of the booze.

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin

Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen

Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.