Why grow rye? To make whiskey, of course

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HALLOCK, Minn. — Mike Swanson stands in a field of rye and examines the plants as they sway in the wind. He likes what he sees. The field is thriving,...

Far North Spirits distills spirits in tanks such as this one using rye and corn grown by founder and head distiller Michael Swanson as well as domestically sourced Demerara and Turbinado sugar. Photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits of Hallock, Minn. currently produces five spirits including 'Solveig,' a gin made from locally harvested AC Hazlet rye. Photo taken June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson / Forum News Service)
Rows of barrels of rye whiskey are stored at the Far North Spirits distillery in Hallock, Minn. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits of Hallock, Minn. distills a variety of alcoholic products from locally grown and harvested grains, including their rye vodka called 'SYVÄ.' Photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits distills spirits in tanks such as this one using rye and corn grown by founder and head distiller Michael Swanson as well as domestically sourced Demerara and Turbinado sugar. Photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits head distiller Michael Swanson holds a stalk of winter rye in one of his fields near Hallock, Minn. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Michael Swanson, founder and head distiller at Far North Spirits in Hallock, Minn., seals the bung on a barrel of rye whiskey at the company distillery on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Locally grown and harvested rye berries such as these are used by Hallock, Minn. based Far North Spirits to produce their alcoholic spirits. Photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
A barrel of the oldest rye whiskey Far North Spirits has distilled, dubbed 'Charlie's Private Reserve' in honor of head distiller Michael Swanson's father, stands amongst other barrels on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 in the Hallock, Minn. distillery. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits founder and head distiller Michael Swanson speaks on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 about the type of rye he farms to produce various spirits at the Hallock, Minn. distillery. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Michael Swanson, head distiller and co-founder at Far North Spirits, stands in a field of winter rye near Hallock, Minn. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
After aging for one year in 15-gallon charred oak barrels, Far North Spirits rye whiskey, 'Roknar,' is then finished in cognac casks at the Hallock, Minn. distillery. Photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Cases of Far North Spirits' Ålander spiced rum await shipment from the distillery in Hallock, Minn. to retail locations across the country. Photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits head distiller Michael Swanson talks about his company's process of distilling rye whiskey on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson / Forum News Service)
Assistant distiller Johny Barbosa seals bottles of 'SYVÄ' rye vodka by hand at the Far North Spirits distillery in Hallock, Minn. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits offers a wide variety of spirits utilizing locally grown and harvested AC Hazlet Winter rye distilled at their Hallock, Minn. facility. Photo taken Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Racks of charred oak barrels holding Roknar rye whiskey age at the Far North Spirits distillery in Hallock, Minn. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Equipment lays on top of a barrel of rye whiskey at Far North Spirits in Hallock, Minn. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)
Far North Spirits assistant distiller Johny Barbosa speaks about the individual characteristics of each alcoholic spirit the company produces while sealing bottles of vodka at the distillery in Hallock, Minn. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. (Nick Nelson/Agweek)

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