Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Whats Going On | | View Counts (205) | Return

Before reaching the market, grain – like all consumables – must pass inspection by the US Department of Agriculture.  The process takes place in order to stabilize fair and competitive trade practices by ensuring standards for the type and quality of the grains bought and sold.

 

usda_logo-300x207

 

Uniform standard bearing is nearly as old as trade itself, and while we’ve dramatically sharpened our ability to measure over time, it may come as a surprise to learn that, in the age of high technology, federal grain inspection still boils down human sight.  Much like every brewery and distillery still employs an official taste-tester, the USDA knows it must trust it’s own eyes above all else.

The Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is the specific branch within the USDA that is tasked with this carrying out this oversight.  While their process relies on good old fashioned expert knowledge – a well trained eye, an encyclopedic knowledge of grains in their healthy and unhealthy states – they haven’t completely ignored modern technology.

In fact, they’ve done quite a bit to share their knowledge with the general public by publishing their library of more than 200 printed “Visual Reference Images (VRI).”  The images represent grading delineations for grains, oil seeds, pulses and rice, and serve as the foundation for the National Inspection System’s Subjective Quality Control Program.

They also serve as a useful tool for the many (and growing) craft whisky distillers around the country.  As grains come in, you don’t have to rely on anyone else’s word to judge the quality and health of the product you’re purchasing.  If something looks amiss, you can cross-reference GIPSA’s library and see for yourself.

Trusting your own senses and handling every last detail – these are the signs of a true artisan.  It should come as no surprise to see this level of care taken by our craft distilleries.

Related

Winston Churchill: Thoughts on Whiskey

Winston Churchill: Thoughts on Whiskey

Thoughts on whiskey: “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whis...

Read More >
What is the difference Between Single Batch and Blended Whiskey?

What is the difference Between Single Batch and Blended Whiskey?

Many whiskey drinkers (and even some bartenders!) have a misbelief that a single-malt Scotch whiskey...

Read More >
Whiskey Sales Continue to Rise

Whiskey Sales Continue to Rise

If you’ve paid any attention to spirit sales in the last decade, it should come as no surprise...

Read More >
The Bourbon Trail

The Bourbon Trail

If you have never been on the bourbon trail you simply have to place it on your bucket list. The tou...

Read More >
Difference Between Bourbon and Rye Whiskey

Difference Between Bourbon and Rye Whiskey

Once a star at the bar, Rye had lost its sheen, and for decades, became an obscure whiskey made by a...

Read More >
5 Surprising Rye Whiskey’s Health Benefits

5 Surprising Rye Whiskey’s Health Benefits

Rye is a crop that shows up in so many of our products today. It is an essential ingredient for cere...

Read More >