142 – The Man Behind 100 Distilleries, Dave Pickerell

Dave Pickerell is well known in the bourbon world, he was former master distiller at Maker’s Mark and owns a consulting business, Oak View Spirits, where he has designed equipment, systems and processes for about 100 distilleries worldwide including WhistlePig, Hillrock, Corsair, and many others. This episode dives into to the distilleries themselves, the pricing behind Boss Hog,  and questions we would want to know from a master distiller like grain sourcing.

Show Notes:

  • As usual, lets start from the beginning. Do you remember your introduction into whiskey or bourbon?
  • Did you think chemical engineering would lead to spirits?
  • First off, do you get tired of talking about your past at Makers?
  • Do you think Maker’s put you on the map?
  • Do people still ask you to sign Maker’s stuff?
  • It seems that consulting is becoming a pretty big business because there’s the likes of you, Jim Rutledge, Nancy Fraley, Greg Metze, and the list goes on. Is there that much demand?
  • Are you training new distillers?
  • Do they get off track?
  • Master distillers today are seen is high regards as a big marketing tool and the face of the brand relies on that one person. However, you’re wearing the badge of many distilleries at one time. Are you asked to go to places to talk about a specific brand? Do you play favorites?
  • You’re still heavily involved with WhistlePig still, correct?
  • Talk about the brand a bit because it’s one we typically don’t talk about on the show.
  • It’s just sourced MGPi, right? So what are you doing that’s adding a bit of pizzazz to it?
  • Tell me, what’s up with the pricing on Boss Hog? What sort of magic are you doing that makes a $500 bottle of whiskey?
  • You are working with craft distilleries every day, what’s the biggest challenge you see facing them?
  • Are you trying to produce the same product at all these places? Because when I think about it you could just have the Dave Pickerall SKUs where you say here’s your 3 options, choose one and we will put everything in that bucket
  • Whats your theory on sourcing grains?
  • Are chewing on them? Or after distillation?
  • Discuss year to year variation of crops affect on flavors.
  • Discuss how sourcing grains from different parts of the world makes a difference in the finished product.

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