Lough Gill Distillery celebrated its first Harvest Day on September 1st with the cutting of the first crop of barley sown at Hazelwood Estate.
One of the distillery’s objectives is to make their Athrú whiskey as sustainable as possible, and as part of that goal, earlier this year they planted barley in the eight acre field that sits in front of Hazelwood House.
Sligo farmer Lester Hall and sons William, Dean and Philip were on site with their combine harvester for the cut. Commenting on the day, Lester said: “Due to the good weather of recent weeks, the moisture content of the barley was 14% which is exceptionally low and really very good. We would usually cut it at 16% and have to dry it in a dryer. There was also a high yield for ground that wouldn’t usually be tillage land.”
The barley selected is a non-GN species called Laureate – a high yielding barley – which grows well in most soil types and also performs well even when the weather might not be. All of the whiskey made at Lough Gill is made using non-GN malt – the use of it can impact the sale of whiskey in some countries as it’s prohibited.
The barley will now be sent to Athgarrett Malt in Kildare, where it will be malted early next year. Once the barley is returned, having been malted, the distillery team will ensure it is segregated from the start to the finish of the distilling process. This will help ensure that the whiskey produced using their own barley will be completely unique.