The North Bend Eagle


Customers send their corn to Flyover Whiskey, and the recieve six bottles of whiskey made out of their corn.

Flyover whiskey toasts homegrown corn

by Nathan Arneal
Published 7/29/20

Area cattle and hog producers can easily enjoy the results of their sweat and toil and fill a freezer with it. But what about corn farmers?

Andrew Minarick came up with an idea to let area farmers directly enjoy their product, as long as they’re at least 21.

Flyover Whiskey
Andrew Minarick distills Flyover Whiskey not far from where he grew up north of North Bend.

Earlier this month Minarick went live with his new project, Flyover Whiskey. Farmers will submit corn harvested from their own field, and Minarick will turn it into a custom batch of whiskey.

“We want to allow people to enjoy the fruits of their labor in a more tangible way,” he said, “which I think corn farmers are uniquely at a disadvantage. They’re not going into the store and grabbing a box of corn flakes and saying, ‘That’s my corn.’”

After graduating from NBC in 2014, Minarick earned a bio-systems engineering degree from UNL, where he learned a thing or two about the distillation process.

During a visit to the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, Minarick noticed that the tour guide kept emphasizing how important high quality water was to making their whiskey.

Minarick has some pretty strong ties to the water business in North Bend, with his dad Jim Minarick the founder of Webster Well. Andrew recalled his dad talking about a site not too far from his parent’s house that had the best water he’d ever seen in his decades on the job.

The cloudy picture in Minarick’s head was starting to snap into focus.

This spring he started to get serious about his custom whiskey idea. He was pretty confident in the science of distillation, but it would take research and experimentation to learn the art of mashing and aging whiskey.

Flyover Whiskey starts with a batch of Nebraska field corn, about 20 pounds or a third of a bushel’s worth. Water is added to the ground-up corn and is boiled into mash, with the corn starch converting to sugars.

Fermentation starts with water and yeast added, and the sugars convert to ethanol alcohol. Then it is put into a still, where the ethanol and water are separated by differences in their boiling points. The result is a highly concentrated alcohol between 160 and 180 proof.

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