From Field To Bottle

When people think of bourbon making, Wisconsin isn’t the first state to come to mind. While that may be, J. Henry & Sons has been making a name for themselves over the past several years. They are unique in their process of harvesting their own grain which is then used in the bourbon they make.

One of the grains that they use is a red heirloom corn. It was a hybrid developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Many dairy farmers used this in the 1940’s and 50’s. J. Henry & Sons founder Joe Henry has been growing this corn for decades. It began with his father and continued on through him.

“I remember these big, huge red ears coming out of the fields during harvest and it’s a very pretty hybrid because of the red color,” Henry reflected. “I just thought that was a great idea to try to make bourbon out of it. It’s kind of a great memory of my childhood and to continue that on I thought would be a really cool idea.”

Henry uses 80 acres of corn to make bourbon. The corn used for their bourbon is harvested and dried on the ear at very low temperatures. This process usually takes 3 to 4 days. Henry believes that both the corn used and their harvesting method make the bourbon a higher quality.

No other distiller in Wisconsin that Henry knows of grows and produces their own grain used in their bourbon. “For sure not harvesting it and treating the crop as we do,” said Henry. That is what sets J. Henry & Sons apart from everyone else.