Bently work continuing on pace
March 12, 2017
While 2017 may be the year that work at the Bently Heritage Distillery site is completed, there's lot's to do before the whiskey starts flowing.
Two large heating tanks will be the first equipment craned into the distillery silos sometime in March, according to Bently Marketing Director Kristine Youngberg.
Once the mash tun, fermenters and Forsyth stills are inside the cloverleaf-shaped space that once held Dangberg grain, the company hopes to have the silo roof up a short time later.
Youngberg said the company is looking at completing work on the site through summer and early fall.
Meanwhile, the most important part of the distilling process — the ingredients — are being grown in Carson Valley.
Last year the Bently Ranch grew and harvested four kinds of malting barley and seven types of grain including rye, soft winter wheat, soft white spring wheat, corn, triticale, hulless oats and spelt.
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"In 2017, we will be expanding the malting barley we are planting to include full pint and synergy, and will be including teff in our grain program," she said.
Construction is underway on the storage facilities for all of the grain grown on the ranch, as workers finish construction of the granary and malting facility.
"We will begin malting barley and other grains when the facility is up and running," Youngberg said. "We hope to begin construction on the greenhouse and hoop houses, where we will grow the aromatics and botanicals for the distillery operations."
The company is testing different-year harvests, barley varieties and batches malted from different facilities to work through malt whiskey production runs. Trials on gin, genever and three liqueurs turned out well in the first round. Foraging for natural ingredients has been delayed due to the heavy snowfall this year, Youngberg said.
The centerpiece of the project, the Minden Mill, will be home to a whiskey distillery that's open to the public. Other liquors will be produced in the former butter building, including vodka and gin, which don't require the same aging that whiskey does.
While the mill's shape will remain intact, the facade of the butter creamery, designed in 1916 by Frederic DeLongchamps, is all that remains of the former 94,000-square-foot building. The new structure, located at the corner of Highway 395 and Buckeye Road, is reduced in size to 21,766 square feet.
Much of the equipment required for the distillery will be housed in the creamery building.
Both the mill and the creamery buildings are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The four steel silos have been combined into a cloverleaf structure. Visitors will be able to look down on the copper stills in the silos from floors located inside the brick portion of the mill.
All the red brickwork for the mill will be preserved.