On 24th August 2017, the Dartmoor Whisky Distillery team visited Preston Farm on Dartmoor to help harvest this year’s barley crop. The barley we use to produce our single malt whisky is grown by local farmer Tim Cox in Drewsteignton on Dartmoor.
Greg Millar, Tim Cox & Simon Crow
The harvest period is always a worrying one for farmers, with the success of their crop and livelihood lying in the uncertain hands of Mother Nature. Luckily, with the warm and dry weather we had throughout August, it meant it was time to harvest the barley.
Which barley makes Dartmoor Whisky?
The full name for this particular barley is Propino; a malting barley with medium to tall, stiff straw and improved head retention. Watching the harvest of the barley meant the Dartmoor Whisky team could discuss the quality of the barley, learn more about the conditions needed to grow the best barley and the problems he faces as a farmer growing this crop. Tim Cox has been farming on Dartmoor for decades, supplying the likes of Dartmoor Brewery’s famous ‘Jail Ale’, so we trust his judgement and experience when it comes to cultivating and harvesting this golden crop. It’s hard to imagine that this field of gold will one day be Dartmoor Whisky.
Provenance is key
For us here at Dartmoor Whisky Distillery, provenance and locality has always been a key part of our business. We are lucky enough to have our entire production take place within a 15-mile radius to the distillery. After the Barley has been harvested in Drewsteignton, it is then transferred to one of the oldest maltsters in the country, Tuckers Maltings in Newton Abbot, which is 6 miles from the distillery. Tuckers Maltings is one of only four malthouses still malting using the traditional floor method. Once the barley has been quality checked by Greg, Simon and our master distiller Frank McHardy, it is then sent to Dartmoor Brewery in Princetown, approximately 15 miles away from the distillery, for the beer wash to be brewed.
The proximity of each stage of our production is great for many reasons. Firstly, it makes the entire process very efficient and cost effective, not to mention good for the environment and our carbon footprint. It also means that our local area will benefit from the business both from an economic and social perspective. We hope to do whisky process tours where visitors can see each stage of the production, which will in turn bring tourists and visitors to stay, eat, drink and visit other attractions in the area. It also means that our product is as truly ‘Dartmoor’ as it can possibly be, with three out of four processes taking place in the national park itself. On top of this, it means ourselves and Frank McHardy are able to quality check every single aspect of the production with ease.
Greg Millar shakes hand of Dartmoor farmer Tim Cox
We have built a wonderful relationship with each stage of our production: from farmer, to malter, to brewer, and we are delighted to be working with such a dedicated and gifted group of local people.
Until next time!
Greg & Simon