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home : community : business November 25, 2015

9/17/2013 3:54:00 PM
Collaboration between area growers and distillery a success
ProGeneís Kurt Braunwart shows an example of what triticale grain looks like, although this isnít the exact variety Dry Fly uses. Photo by Erik Pague.
ProGeneís Kurt Braunwart shows an example of what triticale grain looks like, although this isnít the exact variety Dry Fly uses. Photo by Erik Pague.
Erik Pague

After years of planning, research and plain old waiting, Dry Fly Distillery, from Spokane, has released a new whiskey blend developed with help from Othello's ProGene Plant Research. The whiskey, released almost a year ago, is made of triticale, which is a hybrid of wheat and rye grown in eastern Washington and specifically at Ritzville's Spectrum Crop Development.
Don Poffenroth, co-owner of the distillery, said their Straight Triticale Whiskey has been flying off the shelves since its release.
"We launched about a year ago and have sold every drop we have," he said. "It's going well."
And others have noticed, as well. Judges at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition awarded the whiskey with a gold medal this past March. Poffenroth said he was happy to be recognized for the hard work they put into creating the liquor.
"We were both amazed and not surprised that Triticale did so well (at) San Francisco," he said. "It is a great whiskey from a great grain. Just happy to be part of it
s coming out party!"
Poffenroth said the original plan was to create a rye whiskey, but their idea transformed into something a little different than what they set out to do.
"We actually wanted to do a rye whiskey, but since rye is like a cuss word in Washington state, we decided to explore triticale," he said. "I'm glad we did."
The distillery decided to look into triticale, a grain hybrid that is a relative newcomer to the North American agricultural industry and is usually used in livestock feeds, according to ProGene owner, Kurt Braunwart. With help from ProGene and other farmers, Dry Fly narrowed down their choices to a few different varieties before settling on ProGene's Tri Mark 99.
"Type 99 had the perfect combination through distillation of the characters we wanted from the rye and wheat components of the grain," Poffenroth said. "It simply tasted the best."
Since Dry Fly is committed to using raw materials grown locally, the triticale grain was perfect for what they were looking for. In addition, Braunwart said triticale grows exceptionally well in the area and was a big factor in finally settling on it.
"It's more durable on marginal ground than wheat is in the dryland country, so that's what makes it attractive," Braunwart said. "It's a crop that's more durable in tougher conditions."
Poffenroth said the process of distilling this whiskey isn't any different than other blends and doesn't require any special equipment or techniques. Also, since it's grown locally, it fits with his company's business model perfectly.
"Dry Fly is committed to using Washington grown raw materials (and) we routinely use 99.5 percent Washington-grown materials every month," he said. "It is an essential part of our company culture and DNA."
More information on the whiskey and where to find it can be found at

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