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Celebrating the American farmer

SPENCER — For Ryan and Amanda Bare, entering into the distillery business means more than simply creating a brand of whiskey or vodka.

The Bares own and operate Century Farms Distillery in Spencer where they pride themselves on celebrating the American farmer, using corn to make their Prairie States Whiskey and Open Gate Vodka. They use corn grown from, what they claim to be, the best farms in Iowa.

Amanda Bare said they currently have their Open Gate Vodka, Prairie States Corn Whiskey Rapid Aged and Prairie States Corn Whiskey Unaged in 80 and 125 proofs available.

But they don’t plan to stop there.

Soon, they will be offering Prairie States Corn Whiskey Barrel Aged, Prairie States Bourbon Whiskey, cranberry vodka and blueberry vodka.

Not only do the Bares utilize corn grown in Iowa, they have a program that is unique to Century Farms Distillery.

“We are offering a custom manufacturing program where we will turn a farmer’s corn into whiskey,” said Amanda Bare. “We purchase about 45 bushels from the producer and then there are options as to what type and quantities of whiskey the farmer would like from the rapid aged, to barrel aged to bourbon.”

Type and quantities range from cases of their whiskey in bottles to a barrel full.

Each bottle will feature a QR (quick response) code sticker that has the farmer’s name as well as a link to the Century Farm Distillery website with information about the family and the farm.

“What we wanted to do with this brand is put the farmer’s name, state and county on the bottle. Make it a tangible consumer product using Iowa corn,” said Ryan Bare. “Very few people actually know where corn goes and what you do with it. And I will say, corn is for whiskey.”

Any additional bottles made with a producer’s corn will be sold across the state and consumers will know they are buying an Iowa product made with Iowa corn, thanks to the special labeling.

Bare said producers have the option to purchase their whiskey exclusively by the case or in a barrel.

Another unique product that is slated to hit the shelves next year is their Century Farm Whiskey. This whiskey will be made exclusively from corn grown on registered Century Farms.

“Our focus with our whiskey is really about the farmers who grow the corn we use,” said Amanda Bare. “We want to highlight the importance of agriculture and the incredibly important role farmers play in our lives.”

Both Ryan and Amanda Bare are mechanical engineering graduates from Iowa State University. After living in Texas for 15 years and working in the oil industry, they moved back to Iowa where Ryan worked at an ethanol plant in Hartley.

A few years later, Ryan took a position back in the oil industry where he works for BP in a rotational job working two weeks on and two weeks off.

“While he was on his days off he started thinking about making his own whiskey,” said Amanda Bare. “So, that turned into the distillery.”

The distillery, she said features many unique aspects.

“It was designed and built by an engineer with 20-plus years of designing and operating refining/oil field equipment,” she said. “The still is one of a kind, you won’t find another like it anywhere and it produces incredibly smooth spirits.”

Amanda Bare said if anyone is interested in trying some of the products from Century Farm Distillery, to contact their local liquor store, as they can order it from the sate. The distillery is also open for tastings from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays or by appointment by calling 712 580 3530 or by e-mailing info@cfdistillery.com.

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