The Final Word: Ashley Frey
Read our chat with Ashley Frey, cofounder (along with her husband Colby) and chief storyteller of Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers in Fallon.
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NM&VG: What was the genesis for starting the distillery?
AF: The Frey family has been growing high-quality grains in northern Nevada for more than 165 years. Colby and I wanted to make something with our grains we could enjoy. As whiskey drinkers, we wanted to put Nevada on the map as a serious producer of unique bourbons and ryes.
In 2013, Nevada legalized craft distillers, so we began distilling and laying down whiskey stocks for extended aging. Today, we offer Frey Ranch Straight Bourbon, Frey Ranch Straight Rye, Frey Ranch Single Barrel Bourbon, and our new Frey Ranch Single Barrel Rye.
NM&VG: What has been the most unexpected part of this experience?
AF: In less than a year after launching Frey Ranch Bourbon, we were the No. 1 ultra-premium whiskey in the state. The support from Nevadans has inspired us, so we always look at opportunities to engage with whiskey fans in our home state. Our distillery sits on the same land as our home, so we get to welcome Frey Ranch fans like we welcome friends and family when they visit us in Fallon.
NM&VG: While your products can be bought in many locations, why should people come to the Ranch to buy your spirits?
AF: A visit to the Ranch is like visiting your local farmer’s market because all the grains we use are grown on-site. There is full transparency in how and where we source our ingredients. Plus, not only do you get to sample the whiskeys, but you may also tour our still room, fermentation room, and the barrel house.
NM&VG: Have you seen any impact on the local area as a result of your success?
AF: Colby and I are proud to contribute to our local economy in many ways. Because we have total control over the production process (what we call From Ground to Glass) we support our agricultural community as well as the northern Nevada food and beverage community.
We also put a lot of pride into giving back. This year we launched our inaugural Women + Whiskey campaign in March to coincide with Women’s History Month. As a mom myself, we like to say that moms drink whiskey, too. For every bottle sold, we donated $1 to Pinocchio’s Mom’s on the Run, a local organization helping women diagnosed with breast or gynecological cancer. We were honored to present them with a $6,000 donation!
NM&VG: Do you have a five-year plan?
AF: Whiskey is a waiting game. What we lay down today in the barrel house won’t be ready to bottle for at least five years, so we need to look down the road and understand the appetite for American bourbons and ryes, as well as the ever-evolving drinking trends. With that said, we are barreling quite a bit of whiskey and have ambitions to be a national brand in the next five years!