Many people drink coffee or tea every day, but a company in Conrad has created a replacement out of barley.
Linda O’Brien’s husband is a wheat and barley farmer and she knew she had to get creative once her children were in college, thus creating RoBarr.
“We have always contracted with Anheuser Busch or other brewing company, so we were looking for a way to sell our barley in a different manner so that it could be a more profitable product for us,” O’Brien said.
The manner was taking barley from their farm and transforming it into something of her own.
Like any product, though, it has a trial and error stage.
“I started out trying to roast it like you would roast coffee,” she said.
She does all the roasting in the kitchen at Coach’s Corner when they’re closed.
“There’s no flavors added. The only ingredients in RoBarr are barley and chicory and Mugicha is actually 100 percent barley. The flavors are achieved by using different roasting times and temperatures,” O’Brien said.
She even said the drink has some health benefits.
“Almost everybody that I’ve ever had try it tell me that they’ve seen some side benefits," she said. "Everybody’s going to react differently, and each person has to try it and see for themselves what benefits they’re going to gain from it.”
So far business has been good.
“It’s been successful. It’s been growing slowly because people have always had a steak, or they’ve always had a hamburger…not everybody has had roasted barley so only the adventurous are the ones willing to try it initially.”
O’Brien packages and ships online orders from her home.
RoBarr is also being sold in some stores like 2J’s in Great Falls, Good Food in Missoula, Town and Country in Bozeman, Belgrade and Livingston.
Visit the company website here.