R/Farm Distilling Co. Goes Against the Grain to Create Opportunity in Rural MO

R/Farm Distilling Co. family owners

R/Farm Distilling Co. Goes Against the Grain to Create Opportunity in Rural MO

The Rosier family has farmed on the same land in Holt County, Missouri, for nearly a century, Dylan Rosier shares, and now he and his brothers are doing their part to make sure the farm is still thriving for the fifth generation.

Starting with Dylan’s great-grandfather in the 1930s, the Rosiers have always farmed row crops. But in 2019, the family – including parents Kim and Kirby, brothers Cole and Gage, wife Lauren, and sisters-in-law Holly and Ashley – decided to go against the grain and diversify by adding a distillery.

“The goal in the family is that every generation has provided at least the opportunity for the next generation to be able to come back to the farm and continue to keep the farm alive,” Dylan explains. “The next generation – with my kids – is so big that we can’t grow the farm fast enough really to do that and be able to provide for all of them, if all of them even want to come back.”

So Dylan, who got an agriculture degree at Northwest Missouri State University, decided to explore ways to add value – including specialty crops and aquaculture – but landed on a distillery, he says. R/Farm Distilling Co. made its first bourbon and opened its tasting-room doors to the public in spring 2022.

R/Farm corn for bourbon
R/Farm grows its own grains used in its spirits, like the corn it cultivates for its bourbon.

“Distilling is an ag practice,” he notes. “It always has been an ag practice way back before they had the technology to store grain.

“On top of that, bourbon has to be at least 51% corn. We are corn farmers, that’s who we are and what we like to do. So it was a natural fit.”

The family approached the distillery like any other investment for the farm, he shares, as the current economy is pressing farmers – like the Rosiers – to dive into value-added agriculture.

“There’s less and less farmers farming more and more acres on thinner and thinner margins,” he explains. “And that gets harder and harder to continue to grow on that path and have a successful outlook. So that’s kind of what drove me to try to diversify a little bit and try something a little bit different.”

In the summer of 2023 to help propel the new venture, R/Farm Distilling Co. received an innovation grant through the Show-Me Entrepreneurial Grants for Agriculture (SEGA) program, which is funded by an appropriation from the Missouri General Assembly to encourage value-added agriculture in the state. SEGA is just one of several grant and loan programs available through the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Authority for farmers looking to diversify

“Adding value to our agricultural products is a huge opportunity to grow Missouri’s top economic driver,” says Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn in a news release. “Funds awarded through the SEGA program will kick-start ideas across our state and help our farmers and small business owners create more opportunity.”

From field to finish

Building up a distillery on top of managing the row crops, Dylan notes, has been an adjustment and requires a total family effort. The family is planting and harvesting all of the corn, wheat and rye crops for their spirits, plus distilling and aging them right on the farm.

“There’s growing pains that go along with that,” he adds. “But I think we’re still on the right track for what we envisioned.”

The R/Farm Distilling Co. spirits include baked apple whiskey, ginger spice whiskey, gooey butter cake cream liqueur, community grown vodka, tangerine ginger vodka, cherry limeade vodka, plus bourbon and rye whiskey that’s been aging and will be available soon. On top of the distillery, the spirits are available to buy at several stores and restaurants through northwest Missouri and Kansas City.

R/Farm Distilling Co. vodkaThe distillery – 16755 Highway 59 in Mound City – is open for tastings and tours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Cocktails – like the bomb pop cocktail and baked apple whiskey sour – are available at the grain-bin bar, plus there are guided tours of the distillery and grain fields.

“You can see the whole process from beginning to end,” Dylan notes.

R/Farm also hosts public events – like game nights, classes and live music – and takes reservations for hosting private events.

R/Farm Distilling Co. Tasting RoomSince opening, he says the business has received a lot of local support from the tri-county area and that Interstate 29 also brings curious visitors.

“We’re just a little over an hour straight north in Kansas City on I-29 and are basically the same amount of time straight south of Omaha,” he explains.

“We’ve got a really cool view,” he adds. “We sit basically right on the bluffs that overlook the Missouri River bottom. We’ve got a cool spot to hang out (outside), and we’ve got a cool facility on the inside, too.”

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