13th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Grain on the floor of the malt house at Hillrock Distillery
Hillrock is one of the few “field-to-glass” whiskey producers in the world and the first USA distillery since before Prohibition to floor malt and hand craft whiskey on site from estate grown grain. Hillrock’s commitment to quality embodies the rich history of artisanal distilling in the Hudson Valley. By controlling every aspect of production from planting & harvesting heirloom grains, to smoking their malt, to aging in small oak barrels and hand bottling, they are able to create whiskies reflecting the unique local terroir.
Hillrock’s Malt House provides the essential bridge between the estate’s farming and craft distilling operations and plays a critical role in the alchemy of turning grain into fine whiskey. It is also the first new malthouse to be built at a distillery in the United States since before Prohibition.
While local malt houses were once common throughout Europe and America, today only a handful of distilleries in Scotland have operating maltings on site. The vast majority of distillers worldwide now use “factory” malt produced by a few large corporations focused on maximizing output and creating a homogenous product. Hillrock's own naturally grown grain is traditionally steeped, floor malted, smoked and kilned all by hand in our purpose-built malt building which stands proudly alongside the distillery and our barley fields. Floor malting our grain on the estate gives us unmatched control over the quality and character of our malt and creates truly unique whiskies with complexity which can’t be duplicated by factory maltings.
© Saundi Wilson.
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||Nov. 16, 2015, 8:10 p.m.