Award-winning rye in Indiana

Oct 13, 2022 | Blog, Uncategorized

Did you know that Indiana now has an official whiskey designation?

The Indiana Rye Whiskey designation took effect last summer and follows the federal requirements for rye whiskey — a minimum of 51 percent rye in the grain bill, distilled at no greater than 160 proof, placed in a barrel at no more than 125 proof — then adds the Indiana-specific requirements that it be mashed, fermented, distilled, and then rested at least two years in the state of Indiana.

“Distillers in Indiana have historically produced some of the highest quality rye whiskeys in the world,” said Bryan Smith, master distiller at Hard Truth Hills Distillery in Nashville, Ind. “Rye is a notoriously difficult grain to handle through the mash, ferment and distillation process. Craftsmen and women here in Indiana have long shared secrets and tips and tricks, resulting in a quality standard which sets Indiana apart in the world of rye whiskey making.”

While folks are likely more familiar with Kentucky bourbon, they’ll be hearing more and more about Indiana spirits. The state now has more than 40 distilleries, from large to small. Hard Truth, as it notes on its website, began distilling in 2015 in the small upper rooms of Big Woods Pizza Co. in downtown Nashville, Indiana. The tiny craft distillery quickly grew, and by 2017, construction had begun on a new facility set on a rolling, wooded, 325-acre property about a mile away from Hard Truth’s original home.

That property became the Hard Truth campus, and the Hard Truth Tours & Tastings Center opened its doors to guests at the end of 2017. The following summer, the Restaurant at Hard Truth opened. And, in the fall of 2018, Hard Truth Distilling Co. made the move to its brand new, state-of-the-art, sweet mash distillery, where it’s been producing Hard Truth spirits – including Indiana rye – ever since.

“Rye whiskey is synonymous with the great state of Indiana,” said Hard Truth partner Jim Dunbar. “We are proud to be part of that heritage and tradition.”

In fact, Hard Truth Distilling Co.’s first batch of Sweet Mash Rye Whiskey was named last year among bourbon curator and taster Fred Minnick’s Top 100 American Whiskeys of 2021 during his annual ranking event.

“We’re on the forefront of a new era of whiskey-making as sweet mash pioneers here in the state of Indiana, and it is truly an honor to be included on a list with such legendary distillers, especially with our first batch,” said Smith. “Crafting the highest quality sweet mash rye and bourbon whiskey in the state of Indiana is at the core of our efforts here at Hard Truth Distilling Co., and our passion for hard work in making world class whiskey really seems to resonate with people.  We can’t wait for you to taste the whiskeys yet to come.”

Hard Truth Distillery offers tours, tasting, mixology classes and more. You can find out more about other Indiana distilleries, many of which offer tours, tastings and special events, by checking out Indiana Grown’s Distillery Trail, which features 18 of its member distilleries.