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Becky Ross

About Our Name

We are frequently asked "Where did you come up with  the name Peat & Barley?". Originally, because of our interest in Scottish fiddle music, we wanted to include a "Scottish flavor" in the name.

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Scottish Whiskey (i.e. Scotch) receives it's distinctive "smoky" flavor from the drying of the malted barley grain over peat fires.  The peat smoke flavors the barley, which in turn flavors the Whiskey.  Therefore, peat and the barley are two of the major components in one of Scotland's major industries.  But there is a broader Celtic connection.  Peat has a long history as a fuel source in both Ireland and Scotland while barley's use in brewing beer brings to mind the pleasures of having a pint  in the comfortable surroundings of  the local pub.

Another question we are frequently asked is "Which of you is Peat and which is Barley?" - that one we will leave up to your imagination!

So what is Peat?

Peat is actually the first step in the formation of coal.  It is a dense mat of peatwater-logged decaying vegetable matter which forms in swampy areas in cold and temperate climates.  Over time, peat is compressed by the new plant matter falling on top of it and eventually is compacted by so much pressure that it becomes coal.  Peat has been dug out of the ground, dried and used for fuel in Scotland and Ireland for centuries.  At Celtic Festivals or on the Internet, you can buy peat logs to burn for heat, flavoring or simply for the distinctive aroma.  We bought our peat ( for display at our performances) from Sneaky Peat.

What about Barley?barley

Barley is one of the most common and important grains grown around the world and is a staple food for humans and animals.  Malted barley is instrumental in the production of beer and whiskey/scotch.  Evidence indicates barley was cultivated in the Middle East as early as 6000 BC.