Root Shoot Malting Looks Back on Productive 2023


January 18, 2024

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Colorado craft malthouse Root Shoot Malting had a milestone year in 2023, hitting its seventh year and launching Root Shoot Spirits.

Root Shoot continued its commitment to sustainable farming practices along the way, earned awards for its high-quality malt and celebrated the release of its first whiskey.

In 2023, Root Shoot was recognized at the Craft Maltsters Guild’s Malt Cup, taking home Gold medals for its Pilsen, Light Munich and Vienna malts, a Silver medal for its Pale Malt, and traveling Malt Cup for its “Best in Show” Genie Pilsen malt.

Root Shoot’s Root Shoot American Single Malt Whiskey (50% ABV), which debuted in August 2023, also earned a Gold Medal at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition last year. This award-winning Root Shoot Whiskey incorporates 100% Colorado-grown and malted grain, sourced from Root Shoot’s 5th generation family run Olander Farms, and malted by the sustainability-minded craft maltsters. Root Shoot Whiskey travels only about 30 miles from field to bottle, representing a uniquely hyper-local and sustainable supply chain journey. 

“After five years in the making, we’re so proud of the response we received from the launch of Root Shoot Whiskey this August,” Root Shoot Farmer and Founder Todd Olander said in a news release. “Single Malt Whiskey uniquely captures the unique flavor profile of our grain, and we worked with so many great people to bring this Colorado spirit to life. We’re looking forward to more limited releases in 2024 and beyond.”

The sustainability-minded maltsters at Root Shoot introduced two new malts to the lineup in 2023, Munich Wheat and Chit Malt. The new Munich Malt was a part of a beer recipe selected as a Colorado Grain Chain microgrant project this year. Brewed by Cortez, Colo.’s WildEdge Brewing Collective, the microgrant supported its October 2023 release of “From The Fields” (5.6% ABV), a Dunkelweizen-inspired beer made with 100% Colorado-sourced ingredients.  

Since its inception, Root Shoot has been committed to implementing regenerative farming practices to improve soil biology, reduce the need for tilling and replanting, promote carbon sequestration and reduce carbon released into the air. In 2023, the craft malthouse experimented with three grain varietals, including Kernza and two winter barleys Thunder and Lightning, to combat the challenges of farming while dealing with a changing climate. 

The fifth-generation family farm, also increased its malthouse production capacity by 33% in 2023, continuing its commitment to meet the increasing demand for consistent, high-quality malt. By installing a third malting drum, the maltsters have the ability to malt in multiple drums simultaneously for the first time. The innovative build provides space for research and development, increases efficiency, and provides a more consistent product.

“The expansion of our facility is the culmination of years of thoughtful planning and consideration of how to create the best system for creating remarkable malts, serving our customers and for future growth,” Olander said. “We were able to increase production drastically this year, while staying tenaciously committed to quality. We’re excited to see where the future will take us.”

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