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“People are just waking up to its soulful fl avor profi le, richness and unique adaptive uses. I see sorghum as a growing trend for years to come.”

“ “When it came out I was blown away. It was just a re-

ally neat hybrid spirit that was very diff erent from every- thing else that was out on the market,” Weglarz said. “We have now ramped up our production and done a lot more this year, getting to a little over 1,000 gallons of [sorghum molasses] to make more sorghum whiskey.” “It ended up being a big hit with all of our customers,”

he said, “and that fi rst batch sold out pretty quickly.” Since his fi rst batch, Still 630’s S.S. Sorghum Whiskey

has won a bronze medal from the American Craſt Spirits Association competition. “T e judges really loved the taste; they loved the fruit

bouquet,” Weglarz said. “T ey wanted to see it aged a little longer, but they can’t wait to see what it is like in two years.” S.S. Sorghum Whiskey was in a catch-all category

competing against other types of whiskey, Weglarz said, and is one of the few distilled spirits made from sorghum across the U.S. ADI’s Bill Owens said while there are only a few using sorghum, the industry is growing and expects sorghum use to grow as well. T e craſt distilling industry has its share of challenges,

though. Getting a still built and running and starting the business can be nearly a two-year process complete with diffi cult tax regulations and permits. “Taxing and reporting of our regulations to the

government is extremely onerous,” Weglarz said. “T ey charge us disproportionately more on a per gallon of alcohol basis than they do wine or even beer.” Weglarz said as a small, start-up craſt distiller, all of his

capital is tied up in the barrels as it ages and evaporates. “I can’t see any return on that,” he said, “but I’m taxed

enormously on it as soon as I bottle it whether I sell it or not. I have ongoing reporting, paperwork and tax head- ache that is a lot of red tape, specifi cally in the distilling industry, which is unique.” Despite the challenges, Weglarz said building some-

thing from nothing is what he is passionate about and is an endeavor that resonates with consumers and those he interacts with every day. “T ey are buying the story behind it,” he said. “T ey

see that it’s this passionate dream, my American dream, and that’s exactly what it is.” Weglarz said there is more human touch, time and

care put into the craſt side of the distilling industry that allows him and others to take a hands-on approach. “I wear the craſt badge proudly,” he said. “We take

raw ingredients, the grains straight from the fi eld like sorghum, mash it, ferment it, distill it, age it, and bottle it all right here in the distillery, which is the true defi ni- tion of craſt .” Owens has seen a lot of change since the inception

of the American Distilling Institute and said 10 years ago there was no craſt distilling industry, and fi ve years ago there were only about 400. “Today there are just under 1,000 craſt distillers,” he

said. “It’s that revolution in America where we’re going back to the basics, back to the farm.” As the industry continues to grow, Ann Marshall also

feels there is exceptional opportunity for sorghum. “People are just waking up to its soulful fl avor profi le,

richness and unique adaptive uses,” she said. “I see [sor- ghum] as a growing trend for years to come.”

SORGHUM Grower Fall 2015


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