Ashley and Colby Frey on Making Whiskey, from the Soil to the Glass

Listen on

Episode notes

Bourbon Whiskey is one of the most popular spirits in the United States and consistently growing in popularity. It's an exclusively American spirit- to be called bourbon it has to be made here in the United States. Most distilleries use grains of mixed quality from farms across the county or even the world, but in Fallon, Frey Ranch has a rare business model: They grow all the grains used in their Bourbon, Rye, and several other unique varieties of whiskey right there in Fallon on their own farm.

This "Estate Distillery" model is rare, but lets them control the entire process from tilling the soil and growing the grains, to the malting process, to the distilling, bottling, and into your glass.

On this week's episode of Renoites, Conor traveled to Fallon to meet with Ashley and Colby Frey, the owners of Frey Ranch Farm and Distillery. The family has been farming in Northern Nevada since before Nevada was even a state, and as they built their whiskey business in recent years, were instrumental in creating the laws allowing such a distillery to exist here.

Topics in this episode include the technical processes of how whiskey is made and why the farming is an important part of it, the beneficial soil and climate conditions that allow quality control of the grains used, the differences in types of stills and production methods used at Frey Ranch, the challenges of creating a business before regulations and taxes existed for the category, the "between years" of creating various spirits while waiting for the bourbon to age, the importance of having a story and message behind a brand, the increasing presence of women in the distilling and spirits world, sustainability as a common-sense practice on a farm, and much more!

The Frey Ranch tasting room is open every Saturday from 12-4 with tours throughout the afternoon, and the first Saturday of the month there is also a food truck on site. You can find Frey Ranch products at most local stores and bars in Northern Nevada, and they are rapidly expanding across the country.

You can learn more about Frey Ranch at their website, 

Renoites is a community-oriented and listener-funded project. If you find value in the podcast, please consider becoming a financial supporter on Patreon. For as little as $3/month you can help Renoites become financially sustainable while remaining independent. Learn more at

If you have guest suggestions, topic ideas, or feedback in general please feel free to email [email protected] and be sure to follow us on Instagram at