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Raw Materials for Making Whiskey

Let’s begin at the beginning, the grain. You’ve heard us mention “grain to glass” before, so let’s dive into that briefly.

There are a couple ways to make spirits. You can source part or all of the ingredients at different stages of production, from raw material to almost ready to bottle liquid. Or, you can start the entire process from scratch. This is commonly referred to as “grain to glass”. Most distilleries make a variety of products and use various stages of ingredients across their offerings.

Grain to glass means that as a distillery, we do 100% of the manufacturing in house. We mill the grain (grind the grain into a fine powder), and then we cook it (more on this later). We then ferment the cooked grain to break down the sugars, which as a byproduct, releases alcohol. Then we distill, barrel, age, and finally bottle and release the spirit. Again, more on this whole process in a bit, but for now know that grain to glass means that we do the entire process in house.

We think of it a lot like how a chef would source ingredients. Sometimes you want to make the dish yourself, from scratch. Other times, you might want to start with, or include, existing products because they will do a better job of giving you the end result you want. At Old Trestle, we like to play in all of these arenas to create our spirits.

Our soon to be released Trestle American Single Malt Whiskey is our premier grain to glass release (so far). We work with grain partners like Admiral Maltings, who produce sustainable, organic grains. All spirits start with grains, and we believe using high quality ingredients will produce a high quality product.

When choosing grains, we look at what is referred to as a mash bill. The mash bill is the list of grains used, and their ratios, for each style of whiskey.

For example, Jack Daniels (we’re guessing you’ve heard of them?) has a mash bill that looks something like:

  1. Corn: 80%

  2. Rye: 8%

  3. Malt: 0%

  4. Barley: 12%

Woodford Reserve has a mash bill that looks something like this:

  1. Corn: 72%

  2. Rye: 18%

  3. Malt: 0%

  4. Barley: 10%

For Trestle American Single Malt, we wanted our first single malt release to be a blend. This means that we took a few different recipes, all of which are 100% Malted Barley, and we picked the best barrels to create our final offering. This allowed us to play with slight variations in the mash bills and learn how our spirits aged in the high altitude environment we live in here in Truckee, CA. Our general mash bill across the barrels we blended for Trestle American Single Malt looks pretty simple:

  1. 100% Malted Barley

We’ll be diving into mash cooking in our next blog post, so stay tuned for more!

If you missed our previous posts as we unveil the steps taken to make our soon to be released Trestle American Single Malt Whiskey, check them out:


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