Rye's role as a food source shifted when farmers found it could be used as a cash crop for distillation. By 1700 most farms in the German Rhineland had a home still that was fed most of their rye grains. Rye was replaced by buckwheat as a cereal grain, and slowly fell to the sidelines and the market for wheat grew and grew.
I just find it so interesting that what was once a major crop has become so marginalized. I wonder if it's because people lost the taste for rye, like the move away from offal as a normal meat source. There's not a lot of information on rye's history, so I've been piecing together what I can, along with picking up rye recipes and testing them out. In the photo you can see rye bread, whiskey, kvas, beer, and some assorted rye grains.