Interview: Seth Klann
I first spoke to Seth about a year ago, for a piece about whisky - it was a panicked turn around for a mag to go to print, but then the chaos of what the world was becoming meant at the 11th hour the piece got postponed (hopefully not forever). And I have always wanted to find a reason to talk to Seth further about what he does - luckily I launched a publication where I could do just that!
Seth is owner (with his father) and malster of Mecca Grade farm in High Desert of Central Oregon, and is out to prove there is terroir in grain, and specifically barely. As an arts grad - and then a career in graphic design that didn't meet his desire to experiment - the world of barely and its possibility was a creative calling. He has been working with Oregon State University to develop this research and collaborating with many people in the industry.
We discuss why and how you are able to taste terroir in grain. All the barley they malt is ‘single-estate’, grown on their farm within a two-mile radius of their malthouse, with strict uniformity - near-identical yields, soil types, irrigation rates, and climate; this allows for experimenting in other ways and allows to see the difference in taste.
Also, Seth expressed a favourite sentiment of mine - which, when I made I theatre, I would say a lot - to be creative, give yourself more rules.