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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?”
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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.