The Hooch Life

RoughStock Distillery: Made In Montana

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Photo courtesy RoughStock Distillery

Distiller Details

RoughStock Distillery

Bozeman, MT

“All of the distilleries in Montana are all doing their own thing,” says Bryan Schultz, who owns RoughStock Distillery in Bozeman. “We have a vodka distillery, we have an absinthe distillery…[RoughStock] is still the only whiskey-only distillery in Montana.”

RoughStock is inspired by the distilleries that Schultz toured during an extended trip through Ireland and Scotland. “[Europe] reminded me a lot of eastern and northern Montana where we grow a lot of wheat and barley. They have huge distilling industry there and I thought, ‘why don’t we have this in Montana?’ 5 years later we were at our state capital changing the laws and allowing this type of thing to happen.”

Schultz started his whiskey distillery with his wife Kari in 2008. The two entrepreneurs are passionate not only about whiskey-making, but also about sustainable farming. Agriculture, says Brian, is the state’s number two industry behind tourism, and integral to its culture. Small-scale agriculture “is a trend everywhere else, but it seems to be a way of life here.”

Schultz and his wife were born and bred in the state, and it shows. “We make Montana-grown product,” he says. “We have mountain snowmelt and beautiful water for the base of our spirit. We’re trying to use as much locally grown and produced raw ingredients as possible.”

RouchStock produces Montana Whiskey out of malted barley, Spring Wheat Whiskey, Black Label cask strength Montana Whiskey, Sweet Corn Whiskey, and Straight Rye Whiskey. “We wanted to make something that was a product of our surroundings. Out here we grow a lot of malt barley and a lot of wheat,” says Schultz.

He gets his malt from one of the newest malting plants in the world, Malteurop, which just so happens to be in Great Falls. “Not only do we know where the grain comes from, but we know the people who malt it, too. It’s symbiotic,” says Shultz, “Because they love doing what they do and helping to produce a finished product all made in Montana.”

The Department of Commerce in Montana just trademarked the state as the “last best place,” a name that originated from an anthology written in 1988. “We were the first ones,” says Schultz, so we are “The First Best Whiskey In The Last Best Place.”

Spirits from RoughStock:

Black Label Montana Whiskey
Montana Whiskey
Spring Wheat Whiskey
Straight Rye Whiskey
Sweet Corn Whiskey

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