158 – Bourbon Archeology and Forgotten Distilleries with Nick Laracuente

There used to be thousands of distilleries spread across Kentucky at houses, farms, and industrial sites. As time moved through the industrial revolution, prohibition, and the clear spirit movement, many of these became ruins and were long forgotten. Nick Laracuente has dedicated years to uncovering these forgotten pieces of history as an effort to piece together their story. He is also on the forefront of Buffalo Trace’s Bourbon Pompeii exhibit. Listen to this episode as Nick tells his story of discovering artifacts and uncovering the history of bourbon distillation.

Show Notes:

  • Did archeology turn you into a bourbon enthusiast or was it the other way around?
  • I suppose it really helps to know more about the product you are researching
  • What is the drive or economic reason for wanting to dig up these sites and learn?
  • Are distilleries funding this or the state? Where is the money coming from?
  • Who was Jack Jouett?
  • Can you talk about the magnitude of the footprint you are dealing with?
  • What is your fascination with the Fraziers or Ecklers who haven’t had much history documented?
  • Have you been able to uncover something that isn’t part of today’s distillation techniques?
  • When you are exploring a site, do you have an idea of how big the operation was to figure out what to look for?
  • When you are digging holes looking for artifacts, how big are these holes?
  • What is your “eureka” moment when something is found?
  • At what point does the story start coming together for the Jouett distillery?
  • Let’s talk about the poster child of bourbon archeology, Bourbon Pompeii.
  • Other than the vats, anything else cool that was discovered?
  • Follow Nick on twitter (@archeologist) and instagram (bourbonarcheology)

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