Main Street Kansas: Kinsley man turns milo into vodka

The same milo often used to feed cattle could end up in your next cocktail thanks to Kinsley, Kansas man Tim Kyle. (Photo courtesy KSN News)

KINSLEY, Kan. (KSNW) – The same milo often used to feed cattle could end up in your next cocktail.

A man in Kinsley, Kansas, has figured out how to turn the grain sorghum into vodka and a small business.

“Making drinking liquor from 100% sorghum grain is unique to the world,” said Tim Kyle, as he demonstrated the still he set up.

He uses milo because it grows easily in Kansas, but turning it into vodka is anything but easy.

“From when I put the grain in until it gets in the bottle takes about three weeks,” said Kyle.

Not only are there several steps to ferment the grain and then distill it, but Kyle is the only employee.

“I’m a one-man band right now because I’m the only one I can afford,” he said with a smile.

From the production of the vodka to the bottling of it, Kyle does it all by hand. He puts a label on each glass container, uses a filling machine to add the liquor, and then corks and shrink-wraps each bottle.

Even the name of the liquor, “Ornery Brother,” is personal.

“Let’s just say for the four or five generations I’m aware of, I don’t know a male in my family that doesn’t qualify,” he said laughing.

Kyle opened his micro-distillery in a once-vacant building in downtown Kinsley.

“They’re just happy we’ve taken a building that was basically abandoned in the 1990’s and are putting it back to use.”

Someday, he hopes to create a few jobs for the town.

“The help I’ve gotten from everybody in the community makes it feel much more like a communal effort instead of a one man, one guy against the world kind of thing,” said Kyle.

But right now, he can barely keep up with demand from liquor stores. With every box he sells, this “Ornery Brother” is becoming a legitimate success.

The milo vodka is now available in more than 100 liquor stores in Kansas.

If you are not a fan of vodka, just wait– Kyle is also working on a recipe for gin!


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