Royal Oak's Motor City Gas will now grow its own organic heirloom grain on an Ann Arbor farm

click to enlarge Royal Oak's Motor City Gas will now grow its own organic heirloom grain on an Ann Arbor farm
Courtesy of Motor City Gas

Royal Oak's Motor City Gas whiskey distillery recently purchased an Ann Arbor farm where it will grow its own organic heirloom grains.

"'Farm to Bottle' has been the dream from day one," co-owner Tonya Lockwood said in a statement.

Most American whiskey producers use mass-farmed and hybridized crops like corn, rye, wheat, and barley, but Motor City Gas has often used heirloom grains instead. Now, the distillery will be able to grow its own.

"Hybridization leads to reliable and productive crops, but a lot of the fun flavor and aroma nuances are lost for more economical traits," co-owner Rich Lockwood said in a statement. "With older heritage grains that have been allowed to naturally adapt to their environment, you get a seed that’s very expensive and challenging to grow, but comes packed with the flavors mother nature intended."

The farm's first crop will be organic buckwheat, followed by a heritage-style organic Danko rye from Poland and heirloom corn called Otto File that originated in England in the 19th century.

It'll take some time before the grains appear in MCG's whiskey — the company says it ages its whiskey for more than two years on the low end and more than six years on the high end.

Motor City Gas's taproom is located at 325 E. 4th St., Royal Oak, 248-599-1427;

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Lee DeVito

Leyland “Lee” DeVito is the editor in chief of Detroit Metro Times since 2016. His writing has also been published in Hour Detroit, VICE, In These Times, and New City. He once asked porn star Stormy Daniels to spank him with an issue of Metro Times. She obliged...
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