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Meet Todd and Emily Olander of Root Shoot Malting in Loveland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Todd and Emily Olander.

Todd and Emily, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Olander Farms is an integral part of our history here at Root Shoot Malting. Todd is a 5th generation farmer, and alongside his dad, Steve, their intentions to build a malthouse have always been to save the family farm and secure our agricultural roots in Loveland. The Olander family has been farming since 1926 in Northern Colorado and grew barley for Coors for almost 40 years. Small, craft brewers (and distillers) never had a good option to purchase grains from a family farm and malthouse, so we wanted to close that gap. We value the high standards of being in one of America’s most esteemed locations for craft beer and know that Colorado is a great region to grow barley. High-quality, fresh malt was just what our industry needed.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Farming is in our blood, so our main obstacle was to learn how to malt! There were (and still are) limited resources about craft malting when we first started researching, so we had to create our own path. Knowing what type of equipment to purchase, which barley variety to plant, determine the malt our brewers needed and how it could perform in the brewhouse where some of our first questions. Building relationships with our partners has been imperative – we all grow symbiotically and learn together. This has shaped who Root Shoot is today.

Root Shoot Malting – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Many craft maltster’s contracts with local farmers, but we are among the few that farm ourselves. This sets us apart. Root Shoot is in the unique position to control the entire farm and malting processes from choosing a seed variety, planting, growing, irrigating, harvest, and then malting the grain. We produce a malt that is completely unique to us. It gives the brewers a sense of place and that terroir is shown right through to the end product.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
We won the Craft Maltster’s Guild Malt Cup in Feb. 2019! This award gave us validation that we are producing a malt that is truly unique, has great flavor and performs outstandingly in the brewhouse. We are also incredibly proud to say we’ve worked with over 200 Colorado brewers and distillers. THEY are the real heroes for trusting our product and creating beers that are truly unique.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The Brewtography Project (symbol on each photo), Emily Sierra Photography (field photos), Traverse Image.

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