One new business in Southeastern Minnesota is turning organic crops into liquid gold.
It started as a dream for Spring Grove, Minnesota native Christian Myrah. After years of hard work, RockFilter Distillery showcases local organic farming in the production of two popular hard liquors.
Along with grass-fed lamb and beef, Myrah farms different organic grains on his 350 acre property.
"I kind of thought jokingly one day, 'Maybe if we converted all of this stuff to alcohol, we could make more money,'" he said.
Like turning grain into whiskey, making that dream a reality took time.
"It wound up being a long process to actually do this to get all of the permits," Myrah said. "Federal, state, and local permits."
He officially sold his first bottle of bourbon from RockFilter Distillery on June 21.
"We are considered a certified farm distillery, because we are the farmers," Myrah said. "I am the farmer that raises all of the grains that we use."
Myrah said the natural resources in the Driftless Region lend themselves to distilling whiskey.
"One of our many slogans is it's local on local on local," he said. "Everything basically comes from within 15 miles of this distillery."
One unique step in the process at RockFilter Distillery includes milling at Schech's Mill. It is the oldest stone mill in the state of Minnesota operating with its original stones.
"We control all of the process literally from the soil right to the glass," Myrah said.
It is a small but dedicated group of people working to serve the best quality of whiskey. None of the ingredients are imported.
"We do it, because it's the right thing to do," Myrah said. "There's something to it--the way that we treated the land and the soil and the grains, the freshness."
"It's awesome to find something like this that you can only find in a bigger city that you can offer it to the locals," said David Wray, Distiller at RockFilter Distillery.
In the grand opening, Myrah showcased three bourbons: Giants of the Earth, Fence Jumper, and Stone's Throw. These bourbons are available to purchase in the RockFilter Distillery Cocktail Room. People can also enjoy signature cocktails made with any RockFilter Distillery bourbon.
Myrah is currently working on a distribution agreement. That agreement will put RockFilter whiskey and bourbon on shelves at select Minnesota liquor stores. He hopes to have distribution start at the end of this year. Some of the first areas to carry RockFilter products include Minneapolis and Rochester.
RockFilter Distillery is located in the old creamery building downtown Spring Grove. It is open every week on Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.