In 2006, while drinking Scotch and barbecuing with mesquite scraps from our custom furniture company, Arroyo Design, we had a thought. Why couldn’t we malt barley over mesquite instead of peat, as they do in Scotland, for a single-malt whiskey with a flavor distinctive to the American Southwest?
Arroyo Design had started with a similar question – Why couldn’t we take this wild and spectacular wood from right here in the Sonoran Desert and make it into fine furniture, instead of using exotics from the rain forest? Arroyo Design came to be a nationally recognized and much-published design and manufacturing company, thanks to the use of old-world joinery, careful wood selection and uncompromising attention to detail.
Unable to shake the concept of a Sonoran Desert single-malt, Stephen began learning how to make whiskey, starting with a 5 gallon alembic pot-still from Portugal. While getting that process down, he also began learning how to malt barley, first using 6-row cattle-feed barley from nearby Coolidge, AZ, and later 2-row malting barley from Southern Colorado.