Chris Morris and Elizabeth McCall are no strangers to the show so we’re excited to have them back on again. This time, we explore the controversial topic of “what is a master distiller?”. How is a title like that earned through years of service? How is Brown-Forman laying the foundation for Elizabeth to take over when Chris is ready to retire? We also talk about barrels from their cooperage, the influence of char on their whiskey, and this week’s Whiskey Quickie, the King of Kentucky.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about rapid aging.
- Lawsuit challenges out-of-state retailers’ ability to sell, deliver and ship alcohol to Kentucky consumers – https://www.wdrb.com/news/lawsuit-challenges-out-of-state-retailers-ability-to-sell-deliver/article_4881080e-acc4-11e9-9dbc-8b443dc97b9e.html
- Join us on barrel selections and see what other perks await. Support the podcast at https://www.patreon.com/bourbonpursuit
- Come drink some beer with us at 3rd Turn Brewing on July 26th from 4-7pm https://www.facebook.com/events/327452114804983/
- Elizabeth, tell us about your role.
- Do different Master Distiller’s have different styles?
- Is there a Master Distiller training manual?
- What do you think of everyday people becoming Master Distillers without significant training?
- What is a Master Distiller today?
- How do you know a bourbon will be good once it’s aged?
- What flavors or notes do you consider defects?
- Are we going to see more single malts come out of Brown-Forman?
- Why is there such a fascination with making malts work?
- Tell us about the latest Distiller’s Select?
- Are there two different char levels on the double double oaked?
- Talk about owning your own cooperage.
- Tell us about King of Kentucky.
- Why did you chose this label?
- Is there any pressure on Elizabeth to live up to Chris?
- How did you feel when you became a Master Distiller?
- Recorded live at Down One Bourbon Bar in Louisville, KY.
I love bourbon, but I’m not ready to restart my career to be a distiller. I have a bachelor’s degree and I want to continue to use those skills in the whiskey industry. So check this out. The University of Louisville now has an online distilled spirits business certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry like finance, marketing and operations. This is perfect for anyone looking for more professional development. And if you ever want to get your MBA, their certificate credits transfer into Ul’s new online MBA program. Learn more about this online program at business global.edu slash online spirits
the king right there brother
if you want to use if you want some of that make sure you crack it open now because it’s not open. Oh, I feel
that is it yours? Yeah, I product Yeah, open it.
Like always calls Kenny $1,000.
Bottle every every time it comes over I lose $1,000
Hey everybody, this is Episode 211 of bourbon pursuit. I’m one of your host Kenny and let’s go through a little bit the news. Woodford Reserve has announced the release of its newest permanent expression. The Woodford Reserve Kentucky straight wheat whiskey with wheat as its dominant grain at 52% followed by 20% malt 20% corn in a percent rye. This whiskey was created by master distiller Chris Morris and more said that Woodford Reserve now has all four whiskeys as a part of its permanent family of brands. You have Woodford bourbon, Woodford rye, Woodford malt and now Woodford wheat. The Woodford Reserve wheat is 90.4 proof with a suggested retail price of 3499 verse 750 ml. That’s quite the segue into our guest today, but we’ll save that here for him. It was just a few weeks ago, we talked about the Supreme Court ruling that lifted the ban on out of state retailers in the state of Tennessee that could potentially affect shipping across the nation. Well, I think we’re about to start witnessing the start of the domino effect. A Louisville attorney recently filed a lawsuit in federal district court against Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Kentucky Attorney General Andy this year and the executive director of the Alcohol Beverage Control, Norman, our flag. This complaint argues that the law is unconstitutional because as we’ve said before, it violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, because by quote, It discriminates against out of state wine retailers engaged in interstate commerce. It also argues that it violates the privileges and immunities clause of Article four section two of the United States Constitution because it denies non resident wine merchants the privilege of engaging and there are occupation in Kentucky on the terms of equivalent those given to the citizens of Kentucky. And that’s all according this lawsuit. We are going to continue to pay very close attention to see how this plays out and other states in the upcoming few months. On Monday, this week, we got to take a trip over to Cox’s Creek with a few of our Patreon community members and select two barrels of four roses. The team came together and selected a nine year six month old BASF and a 10 year six month OVSK we’re really looking forward to getting these barrels out to the art community sometime in September. We also selected a new riff barrel once again. You know if you want to see more about all the perks that are offered by supporting this podcast like going with us on barrel selections, please do us a favor go to patreon.com slash bourbon pursuit and get more information. Now if we rewind the clocks back to around February of 2018 all the fellas from the bourbon Community Roundtable we met up in Frankfort, Kentucky to select a barrel of Buffalo Trace what happened next With that said barrel is the next part of this story. When you have a used bourbon barrel you want to repurpose it. And what better way to do that then letting it age with some delicious Imperial stout, we teamed up with third term brewing and did just that. We aged a stout at 12.2% ABV and let it rest in that barrel for an entire year. And now it’s time to release it. On Friday, July 26. from four to 7pm. Ryan and I we will be at third term brewing located in JA town in Louisville, Kentucky and we want to share a pint with you Please come on out and try this beer on tap. And if you really like it, you can take home a crawler for yourself to take home. We hope to see you out there. More information about that can be found on our Facebook page under the events section. Now today’s podcast was recorded while ago when we were on site at down one bourbon bar in Louisville, Kentucky. So if it sounds like we’re recording in a bar, no, it’s because we were, however, Chris Morris and Elizabeth McCall. They’re no strangers of the show. And we’re excited to have them back on once again. But this time, we’re excited to hear them talk about the job of master distiller and how that title is earned through years of service. And really how brown Forman is now laying the foundation for Elizabeth to take over when Chris is ready to retire. We also talked about the barrels that they have in their own Cooper bridge, the char and this week’s whiskey quickie that ended on Tuesday, the king of Kentucky. All right, you’ve heard me talk long enough. So let’s hear from Joe over a barrel bourbon. And then you’ve got Fred Minnick with above the char.
Hi, this is Joe Beatrice from barrell craft spirits. I work with a team that takes blending seriously, we spend months obsessing over hundreds of combinations, until we figure out the perfect blend for you.
You can find it on the shelves at your nearest retail store.
I’m Fred Minnick, and this is above the charm. Every week I asked listeners to send me an idea for above the char, I get so many. But the one request I get most of all, is what do I think of rapid aging. This is the process that new distillers or chemists use to try and make bourbon faster. And I want to tell you, this has been going on for a very, very long time. In technology, they like to seek solutions for problems. And the fact is making Bourbons biggest problem is the fact that making it right and making it tasty, can take anywhere from four to 15 years. So if you’re a businessman or woman, and you want to make some money, it sure looks good if you can make a six month old bourbon taste like it’s 15 years old. Now a little history behind this. The Romans actually employed rapid aging techniques and wine and spirits. You know, the mid 19th century we saw incredible amounts of people attempt rapid aging technology. In 1867. a Frenchman use a roadable wouldn’t paddle to agitate barrels like a butter churn. Using a similar concept. The 1871 us patented peifer and Richards apparatus place barrels on roller slats and a heated room and agitated the barrels back and forth. The inventors claim that this ripened whiskey within a few weeks, several others hit the market in the 1870s to include a heat and motion device that offered practical value and utility. We’d also see ultrasonic radiation center in the 1930s. And the Germans would do things like raise the Ester content up to 120%. And wind is toilets, they also used sound technology. By the 1960s rapid aging fell out of fashion, it was not considered very satisfying. In fact, you would see distillers openly speak out against this. Today we have seen the rise of smaller barrels claiming that it’s aged faster. We’ve seen people play heavy bass music to make the whiskey come out quicker. There’s been chemical reactions there have been agitators very similar to you know, mixing a paint can. There’s been all these efforts to make whiskey faster, and I’ve tasted almost all of them. They all lack a certain depth, a certain mouth fill a certain flavor that makes you want to buy it. In fact, I’d say the thing that we should really look at here, is there a problem with whiskey. And the fact is there is not. The problem is is in the making money of whiskey. So as long as you somebody could make money trying to figure out a solution to getting good whiskey to your doorstep, we will always see rapid aging technology. And I will always give it a shot. But I have yet to taste one that is better than even some of the worst craft distilled whiskies. Rapid aging technology doesn’t add anything to the quality of the whiskey, at least from what I’ve tasted. Instead, it strips out a lot of character, and it doesn’t have the time that’s really required to be a good or great bourbon. So what’s the old saying, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And let’s face it, Bourbons now broken. And that’s this week’s above the char Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Twitter or Instagram. That’s at Fred Minnick again at Fred Minnick. Until next week. Cheers
Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit. The first of the Live podcast we doing here at down one bourbon bar in Louisville, Kentucky, Fred Ryan and Kenny back here. Once again, and we this is a this is a new home, this is actually going to be pretty fun because Ryan and I had a tasting here last week when we did this. But this is going to be a new adventure bringing a guest Yes, I’m looking around and like I’m remembering our first time we record a podcast was in my basement. And like, just me and you and a laptop and like there was nobody there. And now there’s like, like 15 people around us watching there’s all these lights, we got master distillers here, there’s reserved tables even though they’re not for us.
But people thought they would act like there is it’s like kind of crazy. You know, it really is and, and I’m Fred This is how many times you’ve been down one.
So it’s a problem anytime I actually been here so often that I got my own car back there in the closet of things getting too far. But this is a this has been a fun bar to kind of see it develop. There’s been a lot of talent from Louisville, Kentucky. I’m from here and go on to be brand ambassadors for for distilleries and go on to like other opportunities. But this for me is this is one of the places where I come in, and I assess talent for for things that I’m doing and they do a great job here. And of course, they’re connected to the Galt house or part of the Galt house family. And so and never hurts from a purchasing opportunity, you know, for a bar to have that kind of purchasing power to be connected to someone like the Galt house, so they they get a lot of good things that a lot of smaller bars don’t
and hold on. I want to know about this scouting report.
Like Like are you like NBA Scout, you know, going around? Well,
I you know, as, as you know, Kenny and Ryan, I do a lot of festivals. And I’m also on a lot of education committees for for for, you know, cocktail cocktail. And then I try to do things I try to create content for live festivals and and I usually have to tap into bartenders. And bartenders have to In my opinion, from a career perspective, they have they are a lot like an NBA player. Yeah. And like some people come in are like, really great for two years and then they’re gone. Some people come in and they’re wanting to the cocktail world. It’s true. It’s true, like bartending talent is something that from an education perspective, you have to scout you have to find the people that will you know, put on good seminars and can actually make a Daiquiri in a grown in an old fashioned and a man had don’t they don’t they serve the great Chris Morris the right way.
Don’t give him the cocktail get give him the right cocktail that you know, he asked for
a frozen concoction. It’s amazing Jimmy Buffett,
but but the Daiquiri actually was not meant to be
auction. Although it’s tornadoes.
I love the blended
a bottle and you put a margarita or blender and shake it up, and it’s ready to drink. But
all right, Kenny said about to explode. We got him.
Chris, as you may know, our friend candy here. He’s a little he’s all right.
We got it. We got him taking off the guardrail. Sometimes we gotta bring it back in focus. But that’s really what we’re talking about today’s not cocktails and we are talking about bourbon and most important, we’re talking about Woodford Reserve. So today we have Chris Morris the master distiller at Woodford Reserve and Elizabeth McCall, the Assistant master distiller at Woodford Reserve. And both of these people are alumni of the show. I believe it was back in the episode 40s and Episode 60s when when you made your parents so welcome back on. Thank you.
Thanks for having us back. So have you been
Yeah, and get to get this kicked off a little bit. Elizabeth, I kind of want you to kind of give people another recreation of really what your role has progressed to since the last time you’re on because you were in the lab. You are the head taster, I believe and now your assistant master distiller so what what’s what’s that look
like back when we go back in time as Chris’s wonderfully made Manhattan made its way to him. So when I last was speaking to it was master taster and senior quality control specialist at Woodford Reserve. Working production part of the time and the other part of the time was working with Chris on innovation and of course, tasting batches and all of that and it shifted to more focus on really getting in the weeds of trying to understand how Chris’s mind works. Which
Hold on wait that out.
I have not figured it out yet. He’s kind of
nice. You know how your mind when I respond
to emails as genius? I do he so he’s being very embarrassed. But I really do because I won’t ever be able to understand fully how his mind works and how he puts patches together and how he pulls in history and an actual where’s this the market going? I mean, all that is very interesting, but I try to learn as much as I can. So I’m trying to just follow in his footsteps and learn that and that’s just spending as much time with him as possible. He gives me projects. And he’s like here the other day. I’m like, Okay, how do you build a new grain recipe? And he handed me the book of corn. He’s like, I read this on a trip, like one string of corn. Yeah.
Like a Bible. textbook on corn.
Yeah, there’s a book on corn. There’s a book on corn. And I mean, that’s the kind of thing Morris does when he when he thinks there’s a lot of conscious thought.
It’s amazing Kenny, but actually authors write things.
Yeah, let me know when it turns into an audio book. And I’ll
forget on Audible
or the movie, the movie version.
But that but that’s a lot of what I’ve been trying to learn that and then of course, still learning in the production side of things I you can never, you’ll never know everything. I still have a lot of learning to do in terms of getting my hands dirty at the Cooper bridge and other distilleries outside of Woodford Reserve. So my and then education. I work with Chris and the team of other masters Stiller’s at Brown Forman on educating our sales force and distributor folks on the whiskey category. So there’s just lots of things nuances that go into it.
I got a question for you to Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt but like, so does the master is still or just do each different distillers have different styles or methods? Or is it more like plug and play? Or like, what is Chris’s style? And what’s yours? Or like, how are they different? Or same? Or?
Well, certainly, in my experience,
we see differences good talk with Fred before we stepped in this afternoon, that each company has its own criteria. For the job. There’s no uniform, what is a master distiller what is the distiller it varies from company to company. And we’re are of course, very proud to be the oldest spirits company and in America, the the round form and parent company. So we think we know what we’re doing. And I am the seventh in the history of the company. And Elizabeth is, is working away to number eight. But we have criteria that differ from other companies. But you do see a difference in style. And interpretation. Of course, I everybody knows my mentor. My first boss in my whole life was Lincoln Henderson. And I’m very different than link. In fact, my palate is different than Lincoln. Near the end of his career, we would have arguments, because I was tasting things he didn’t taste and he would get upset. Sorry, that’s the way that it was. Because we know as people age, their sense of taste deteriorates. So a younger person will have a better sense of taste. I know that
I trying to say that you already kind of like see inevitable coming is that was that was happening, and you’re trying to groom her to do
that. That’s part of the process. One of my key roles today is to develop Elizabeth, to succeed me. So that’s part of our brown Coleman process, passing on the mantle from generation to generation, so that nothing changes. Wink wink, things will change. Because Elizabeth is not Chris. Yeah, I wasn’t Lincoln.
But we got a ways before we see that change, right, Chris?
I hope so. But not that I don’t want Elizabeth and
I have a lot to learn.
But we’re having such a good time together. And we got our new master taster over here. Katie joining us tonight. But that’s that’s just if you’re making 100% natural product with reserve is corn, rye, barley, or how many whiskies? It’s the limestone water, its yeast, its exposure to copper, and maturation and an oak barrel. It’s as natural as you can get. And as you put those batches together, based on your perception of our standard, it will evolve. Because again, we’re all individuals. And I think that’s one reason people will love a brand, like what preserve it is our collaborative interpretation of this product. And again, it will change with the changes are subtle, the changes are evolutionary. But the The bottom line is it’s it’s it’s a real product that somebody or some persons a team are putting together. It’s not artificial, it’s not manufactured. It’s not a committee in in some corporate office, it’s real.
Yeah. So is that like training manual? Is that something you do? Or is that something that, you know, brown Forman has like, here’s how we want it done. And Chris is like, Yo, this should be done. Like so how’s that kind of work in that process? Brian Yeah,
it’s an audible book I had,
I had produced for me or developed for me. The that manual before it didn’t exist. And when I was coming up, it was a guidepost for me, you know, sort of tailored to me, and, and that was back in 2019 years ago. And, and I’ve taken those that original work as as we’ve evolved and developed and tweaked it. And now brown Forman does have a professional development guide for master distiller, which means assistant master distiller we have a professional guide for master taster that both Elizabeth and of course Katie have gone through courses of the destruction experiences.
Let’s take it Okay. All right. So you’re just talking about like all these manuals you have and all this effort that you put into the terms and titles master distiller master taster system master distiller when I can just go right down the street, and get a diploma from a moonshine University, and then come out, start my own distillery, or Heck, I don’t even have to go there. I can start a distillery tomorrow and say, I’m a master distiller even watching YouTube channel, I could watch it and
say, I’m a master distiller in the old Ascot brand takes off from there,
that’s right, was shaking her head. What in the world is happening to American whiskey right now, where you have one company who’s going through all this effort for the titles of distiller and then you have some random schmo wearing wherever and USA saying that they’re a master distiller and they haven’t done a liquor distilling What’s going on?
Yeah, Elizabeth, I kinda wanna get your take on that one. Because you’re, you’ve been, you’ve been trying to groom yourself for this role, and you’ve been really putting years of effort into it. So
so I only have 10 years in this industry, and which some people are like, Oh, my gosh, that’s a long time. Long brown Forman that’s not baby. And, and in this industry, in my opinion, that’s not I don’t feel it’s a long time. And I am very, very much very proud and I think you hear it when I talk about Chris’s going nowhere, I hope anytime soon, because I have a lot of pride in the fact that I’m assistant and that in implies a great deal of learning I had still have to do and the respect I have for the title of masters Still, if they were to tell me tomorrow, you’re going to be masters still or I would have serious issues with being called that for especially for a brand like Woodford Reserve or or any of our brown Forman brands that have some much weight behind them. Um, it’s just a title to me that I look to and I think of somebody like Chris Morris, who is a it has lived and breathed bourbon and whiskey his entire life. And it’s not just about running stills, anybody can learn that skill. You really can you
think anybody can run a still.
If you have the right manuals, and you go out and you spend time training. Now you can’t just walk in off the street and do this. No. But can you learn anybody can learn how to do that. A lot of people can learn maybe not anybody,
but there’s a lot of people in backwoods that have stills before
you can learn how to do these skills. And but there’s time and thought and experience that goes into something that really makes you want to believe that your product like what Chris Morris, I mean, what he’s done for Woodford Reserve is unreal. You look at the like we sit down and we talk about things and we talked about brand planning. He introduced like, was he there for the start of the actual bourbon. No, that was he was with a different company at the time. But when he came in, we have right we have our masters collection that came out you have our malt you have wheat that’s coming out soon. And that’s not all out of just willy nilly. Like ma this would be fun. It’s it’s a lot of it is well thought out when you look at history. And when you look at what’s the plan we we talked about flavor with Woodford and I mean, that’s his genius and experience in the industry that led him to that path and that guided vision for brand and that takes nothing but time. I mean time is Yeah, I think is so hear
what you’re saying there like with with with branding and everything like that. I think we don’t know, as a society when I when I say society, I mean bourbon society. What a master distiller in so Chris, I’ll bring that to you. What is a master distiller because it meant something in the 1800s and the 1950s? It means something different today. What is a master distiller?
Well, of course there is no, there is no criteria. In terms of industry, there’s no set of requirements. As I mentioned earlier, it varies from company to company. And I believe ground Coleman believes. Number one, you’re responsible for the overall quality of the product that your name is associated with the distillery associated with. And as Elizabeth said, that means a whole lot. If you’re our colleague, Jeff Barnett at jack daniels, you’re the master distiller of jack daniels. That’s sort of important. Woodford Reserve, my gosh, old Forester, you know, those are important brands, not only to our company, but to the history of our industry. So there’s there’s a lot of gravitas, there, there’s a lot of response ability. And also, I think it means your brands that you have helped create and develop, have won awards are recognized as good brands, you’re, you’re a master of what your master of a brand that is acknowledged to be of the utmost quality. You haven’t won an award. I don’t know how you can be a master yet. But again, that’s our opinion, not a global opinion of any degree.
So again, I think it’s a nice baseline. I mean, Kenny, wouldn’t you agree that it’s at least a baseline for what is a master distiller you have to have a wonderful an award when you have so many?
I don’t know. I mean, you kind of you kind of take the anti part of that, right? I know that you’re you’re a judge at San Francisco, and then you’ve got the other group of bourbon enthusiasts out there that say, don’t don’t take that as as gospel. Right. You take that as as a as a way that you can start learning about a spirit or anything like that. But when you see gold, double gold.
Well, in fairness, I wasn’t thinking about San Francisco. Question. I was thinking of like best bourbon at San Francisco, or, I mean, one of the three medals there. I
think that’s what Chris was thinking to, or I could just pay off the
Forbes writer that I know Yeah.
Let me add maybe as a close to this, or we continue. But that’s one thing brown Forman and the Kentucky distillers Association because this was the this was a subject of discussion years ago with the the membership, and we don’t think anyone company organization can define or impose any restrictions on the rest of the industry. As Fred said, if a little startup distillery wants to call its whatever person master distiller that’s up to them, that’s fine brown Coleman is not gonna say you can’t do that. It’s not our job to improve punk upon the industry, our opinions. This is America, we don’t do that. So I think the ultimate, the ultimate, the bottom line is, our brand speaks for itself.
Does it taste good?
Good. taste. I think that’s fair for for the professional side. But now we’re starting to see like this growth within like, the bar community. And everybody’s saying they’re an expert, about whiskey. And you in and Kenny brought up, you know, the judging competitions and what is best. There was just a gas station whiskey, that one world’s best whiskey. And I seriously question how that one, you know, and I’m a judge or a lot of those things. And I and I know like people have to pay entry to get in that. So there could have been like a low point of entry, there might not have been a lot of, well, Chris, what do you think about like this rise of so called x books that are tasting things and putting their names on on things and hosting podcast hosting podcast,
full disclosure, we always say, and we
never ever named a whiskey of the year, you to have never done anything like that. So like, now we’re in a situation where there are 1500 different, you know, whiskey, Somali A’s, or experts or whatever. And, you know, they’re not coming from the ilk of brown Forman. And you may even think that I’m that, too. But I’m curious as to what your thought is, in terms of like the people who are tasting. Consider the tasters of the community,
I would just be curious to know I mean, for me, like, you know, we’re tasting and we want to know quality. Do you know what are the all the defects you can find in bourbon, whiskey distillate? And when you find them, like, Can you describe like, well, what did they taste like? What are those those defects? Where did they come from in the production process? How do you troubleshoot and work around that and get through all of that, and
I guess it important to know how to fix it, or it’s just important to spot it as a taster.
As a taster, you probably don’t have to know that if you’re going to be a master distiller, you have to know how to do that.
But a taster can’t fix it. Because it’s already the
case. Yeah, you’re tasting it at the end of the year. It’s already out there too late, I guess. But you could maybe you could talk about but if you’re a taster, you should know. I don’t know. I mean, will will does this as if it’s a new mic. Does it stay in new mic? What happens to that defect? Does it age out? Is it something that and so if you’re tasting it something at New make and then you’re tasting something? That’s a finished product or maturing? How do you troubleshoot it on that end? If you don’t know where it comes from in the production process? I don’t know. I don’t those things are important, I guess because my background and where I
that’s an interesting question. Are you talking about how it push through the age and improve? How How much does that like experience like with Chris, are you like, you know, that like, what are those some of those notes? I guess that you’re like, well, that
that is this is going to eventually work itself out? That’s where
experience helps. Yeah, but sometimes you’re surprised either positively or negatively. But that’s an interesting point that everybody’s bringing up. How has this person this expert been trained? As Elizabeth said, we’re professionally trained, we’re trained. We have PhDs on staff for professional professionals in the sensory science. Elizabeth is a sensory scientist, has her beginnings at Brown Forman. We have sensory science consultants come and test us and work with us. So we’re, and these just aren’t whiskey sensory scientists, they work for food on aroma only like perfume companies. These are experts, and sensor science. And so it surprises me and sometimes alarms me. When we taste a whiskey, and we note, defects. And a person critiquing that whiskey is just singing its praises. And you’re like, there’s these obvious defects in the whiskey. And this person either doesn’t understand them doesn’t recognize them, and
what they want in their
whiskey or they like defects. And so things become more complicated, Fred, when I almost had when I started the industry, because there was nothing like this in the industry. But when early books Gary and Marty Reagan and way Mac and Harris and the legendary Michael Jackson are starting to write about whiskey when nobody’s right about whiskey.
It was a very tight
sorority and fraternity of whiskey riders and everybody knew each other. There weren’t that many whiskeys. You know, there were a handful of Bourbons a handful of this. And they had there was nothing that we see today pre micro distillery movement. And pretty much everybody was on the same page, you understood what you’re talking about, right? And as bourbon and rye and whiskeys have become popular, and everybody jumps on, which is fun. Again, that sort of dilutes the level expertise. And I think today, people well can be self styled experts, but what is their their base. So again, we leave that to the consumer. To the side, somebody says something good about a brand new glass of whiskey, try it, if you like it good for you, if you don’t learn from it. So we can’t impose upon the entire industry. Our views, again, we just have to hope people pay attention to what for reserve and what we’re doing and, and go from there.
So I kind of want to educate some of the listeners and the watchers out there. Because, you know, you’ve talked about and both of you have talked about trying to find defects and whether it’s in new maker whether it’s in aging whiskey, and you know, today we brought these, I’m going to put words or words in Elizabeth now here, we brought our Bourbons to compete is because last time we talked, you said that compete is where sort of the, the way that you like to use in the tasting room to kind of get the most flavors, Adam because of the tool of shape and stuff like that. But I kind of want to pick your brain a little bit. What if there’s somebody that’s at home, and they’re listening? And they want to try to understand what flavors to pull? And what are those possible defects that they’re buying, or they’re finding. Now, of course, not coming in at Woodford Reserve or this double out. It’s definitely not going to be in this. But however they’re going to go and they’re going to find some random bottle you ever heard about and they’re gonna buy it? And they’re going to taste it and be like, Oh, what is this? So what what are those some of those of those flavor, those notes that you really think are the biggest defects that
that any good master distiller should be able to find. And before Elizabeth jumps in, again, we’re looking at two sides of the coin, the first four sources of flavor, which is our mantra of the five sources, what is the water, the grain, the fermentation distillation bring to the palate. So that’s our new make our new spirit. So we judge that. So it has a set of criteria. And we’re looking, of course, you never look for good things, because you, you assume the good things are there. So we do look for defects. And at that point is too late, unless there’s a certain defect, or saying forget this. But we want to know that defect is there as we barrel and then adjust as we go forward. But we use those defects to then go back into the distillery and say, something’s not working here. Let’s fix it, because where do you go to first to fix it? What do you like?
This is probably mostly the
reverse engineering part of it was
that you go to grain you go to fermentation, you go to distillation, yet one of the one of the three, the water, the water is going to be solid. And then we go into the would go into the barrel for maturation. And then of course, 678 years later, there could be different defects, because now the wood character has come into play. So it depends on where we are that we’re looking for certain defects. Because as Elizabeth said, some of the new mech defects can be overcome by maturation. They’re still there, you just don’t know them because the wood has taken lead wrong, but you don’t want them there in the first place. So we now have two places to adjust. New make means we adjust the distillery but what’s in what’s there can’t be adjusted. But we can do that on a week basis. Years later, we adjust by bashing barrels together. So we can fix what we have in front of us except for one defect which is unfixable and, and go forward from there. So bad, she becomes very important, you know, a couple of barrels of this with 98 barrels of that are going to be okay. We don’t like that. But it’s
just one one bad apple makes them all bad. There’s the one defect that we can’t hide it. We can’t hide
it. And what is that? Oh, my god yesterday. That’s right. Jackie told us. We probably
got a little bit of that going on with all this rain right now. A lot of mas probably going in those non Pete cycle. Yeah. warehouses.
Yeah. Or if you have a leaky roof.
I got I want to switch gears a little bit for a second.
Brown Forman is such a dominant American whiskey company. And then last, like I’d say, 10 years there’s been a such a dynamic effort to pull in malts like to try and do like, not necessarily a single malt, but some kind of like malt mash, or the five malt released from a few years ago. And I was and I know your passion, you have so much passion for single malt scotches. You have a you have a real like, craving for those and sometimes, Chris, but are we going to see a stronger effort from Brown Forman on the American single malt category that’s just taking off and I know we’ve had some releases of late, but are we going to see more of that?
Yes, that let Elizabeth talk about our particular products. But
yes, I’m a big fan of single malt Scotch, if that upsets anyone, I’m sorry.
He’s not really sorry.
And of course, brown Forman owns three single malt Scotch distilleries, which we Elizabeth and I visited back in July that we’re just so proud of that. But I am the only Kentucky bourbon distiller who’s a keeper of the quake. I’m the only Kentucky bourbon distilleries been honored by the Scotch whisky Association, which I’m very proud of. So scotch whiskey, of course, is our is our ancestor, you know, the bourbon tradition is, is the evolution of scotch whiskey evolving in Kentucky, in the 1770s through the 1850s based on our environment, so we love We love that, that that touchstone of Scotland and Ireland are is where our tradition comes from. But we released a Masters collection as as this group knows, and maybe many of the listeners do not know we released a Masters collection do I many years ago, that was 100% single malt, or hundred percent malt question say that was our distillers malt, it wasn’t painted. It wasn’t smoked. It was the same malt we make our wood reserve bourbon with. And we distilled that 100% malt fermentation and inner half of the volume produced and used Woodford Reserve barrels so they’d held Woodford Reserve bourbon one time. And then we barrel the other half of the volume produced a new with reserve barrels. And that became season seasoned malt and new cast some silly name. I can’t remember what we called it, because we didn’t want to call it single malt. Because at that time, if you said single malt and probably to this day, if you say single malt people immediately go to Scott. Hello malt. Yeah, you know, some
change up the verbiage and malt
and they weren’t. They didn’t. They weren’t very popular.
You know, I remember the, some of those like, there was one classic malt.
Right. Thank you for remembering. Yes.
And there was classic malt in there straight malt. I can’t remember which one I like more. He has a good memory.
But I liked one of them more than the other classic was
that you liked the I liked the the straight malt. I knew Cooper edge.
It might have been but,
I’ve always and I wrote this in one of my reviews. And and I have to tell you, Chris, I’ve always appreciated the fact that if I’ve ever been critical of your stuff, you’ve never taken me to dinner and yelled at me for an hour.
I’ve never taken a dinner. Yeah. But
I’m one of them. I was just like, what and what in that review set I the one that I didn’t care as much for I think said I wish they would do more focus on bourbon. And the thing is, is that you all are such brilliant bourbon distillers. I wonder why it is that there’s such a fashion fascination for making malts work. Okay,
well, so the malls came out. And of course 10 years ago who was buying bottles of would reserve masters collection, bourbon drinkers. And bourbon drinkers don’t drink scotch by and large. And so it didn’t go over very well. And I can understand that they wanted bourbon. They wanted seasoned oak finish, they wanted to cinema cherish Chardonnay finish, they wanted sweet mash, and we forward Don’t forget 401k. And we sort of let them down, which is the way it goes. But we learned a lot in terms of the process of making malt heavy whiskey. And in my bottom line, lonely was going back to our earlier conversation of taste, he’s just sort of boring. He’s just sort of boring. Hundred percent malt again, we don’t have this smoky that PD characteristics of some of the European malt or Japanese malt. And we’re not, we’re not aging for 20 3040 years, and we don’t have port pipes, cherry butts, it was all American oak. And they were sort of born. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t taste good, but they were sort of born. And that learning leads to our new release of last year, Kentucky straight malt whiskey, which is a permanent member of our family. It will be coming back this late spring, early summer.
And it’s it’s a member of the family. So Elizabeth, have you been doing well?
Yeah, it’s been doing really well. We released it last June. And
it all sold out right away. I mean, people were like, six months later, like, Can we are you making more like, what’s the deal? And, you know, Chris, and I get approached like, well, how can we make this you know, get get to the shelves a little quicker? Can we adjust something with our process or our quality? You know, we’re like, Nope, can’t do that. But we humored them and we put it into a little bit in the last Oh, there’s a lot of pressure for that because
what 1910 from old for sir,
there’s a lot of pressure because people really like we put out good products at Brown Forman if you didn’t know and people get excited about it. But you know, the job of a master distiller you know, is to say no, I mean Chris’s name is on that bottle. So you know, at the end of the day, yep, it’s when things go wrong. They’re like Chris and that was you know, he’s the one who has to talk about it. And so when with the mall, it was very popular we did a Kentucky straight malt whiskey and we fought for it to stay at the process where we released it that we released that and because the taste you even a year makes it mean that there’s a time difference with agent you know, you’ve got to let it go to what it should be. I got a
question dinner up just because I’m clueless about Malton. And I assume you’re making these malts are you doing them in the call a copper still or Chi Stiller.
Yeah, it’s both and they both okay. It is a if we’re going to produce something and put it under the distiller select Woodford Reserve distillers select bourbon rye malt wheat that’s coming out soon is always going to be that that batches of column and pot still because that’s
all I’m from Shively and then the pots from were for sale.
Yes, yes. Because because we were tasting some Kings County I was Tom and it’s a 80% corn 20% malted barley and we thought we were tasting like young younger notes and their distiller said hey, that’s not younger knows that’s our our pot still. And it’s creating like some different buttery for me kind of funky flavors. And so I
like stuff figuring it out. Yeah.
So I was curious to get your take on that. Like, you know, funk.
He’s not one of our don’t say
funky. Okay. No, I was just curious. But
no, I mean, I think that I wasn’t around at the beginning of starting our pot stills. But from those that I’ve spoken to figuring out how to run your pot stills is a challenge. We have gotten to a point with Woodford Reserve we’ve got it figured out. done all the hard work over the years to figure it out. But the notes you get from a pot still are big, bold, oily notes. You see the grain come through more. I mean, Chris, if you wanted to add it, I mean, that’s there’s a distinct difference between the two types of dis focus
on we normally use them wrong. Yeah.
You know, you don’t you don’t use it very often whiskey.
But if you’re gonna it’s probably coming from a pot still. Yeah, no distillation level pots.
But here’s here’s a fun bit of our story. And Elizabeth will tell you about our recipe is one thing that I’ve drawn on from inspiration is the history and heritage of our industry in Kentucky and certainly brown Foreman’s history and heritage and started research on malt multi malt whiskey in the history of Kentucky. And one thing, brown Forman has a tremendous archive again for the the oldest spirits company in America 140 849 ish years old right now. We’ve got a wonderful archive it which is housed at the Frazier History Museum. And we have a we have a complete set of the wine and spirits journals from from the 19th and early 20th century, much less our own documents. And we found that there were there were malt whiskies made in Kentucky before prohibition, brown Forman had a brand called marrow malt MAROW. And when you look at the old Sanborn Maps, which are diagrams, schematics of distilleries for insurance purposes, you’ll see these at the University of Kentucky at the Phil center, University of Louisville. And of course, in our collection, we see that the original brown Forman distillery had a mult floor and a malt kiln. We were sort of we were a Scottish distillery in the 19th century. And that’s incredible. And that in the history of our state, their first Malthouse, and remember, we don’t have a malt house in Kentucky any longer. The first multi operation in Kentucky 1785. Before we were Kentucky, is in Woodford County. So I thought what better provenance than a brown Forman brand made in Woodford County to be what is now the only Kentucky straight malt whiskey on the market, or Woodford Reserve malt is the only one of it’s a
That may be true. But folks crave the bourbon. And as they
as they did back all goes back to birthday.
Hey, it’s Kenny here. And I want to tell you about an event that’s happening on Saturday, August 24. Because I want to see you in historic downtown Frankfort, Kentucky, at bourbon on the banks. It’s the Commonwealth premier bourbon tasting and awards festival. There’s live music and over 100 vendors of food, beer, wine, and of course, bourbon. But guess what even will be there in the bourbon pursuit booth. You can check out all the events including tastings with the master distillers that you’ve heard on the show before and the People’s Choice Award for the Best bourbon out there. You can get your all inclusive ticket for $65. Plus, you can join on the free Friday night event. Go and check it out bourbon on the banks.org you’ve probably heard of finishing beer using whiskey barrels but Michigan distillery is doing the opposite. They’re using barrels to finish their whiskey. New Holland spirits claims to be the first distillery to stout a whiskey. The folks at Rock house whiskey club heard that claim and had to visit the banks of Lake Michigan to check it out. It all began when New Holland brewing launched in 97. Their Dragon’s milk beer is America’s number one selling bourbon barrel aged out in 2005. They apply their expertise from brewing and began distilling beer barrel finished whiskey began production 2012 and rock house was the club is featuring it in their next box. The barrels come from Tennessee get filled a dragon’s milk with your twice the mature bourbon is finished in those very same barrels. Rocco’s whiskey club is a whiskey the Month Club on a mission to uncover the best flavors and stories from craft distillers across the US. Along with two bottles of hard to find whiskey rack houses boxes are full of cool merchandise that they ship out every two months to members in over 40 states go to rock house whiskey club com to check it out. And try a bottle of beer barrel bourbon and beer barrel rye use code pursuit for $25 off your first first box
that may be true but folks crave the bourbon and as they
as they did back all goes back to
bourbon you know I it’s hard for me to sustain now
no no I agree with that. But so Woodford Reserve is the home of innovative whiskeys first and foremost that’s the big thing for us is that we can we have the with what our distillery we have the ability to be flexible and to play with Greg sorry,
but hold on folks. Let’s just have a moment for King King Kentucky. I am this is good. Yeah. So good.
As good as names on
those labels to
every every one of these is like man it’s just like a trip down like great whiskey bro. Holy shit balls.
I’m glad I can bring that least you let me open it with some
goodbye. There’s so there’s so many complicated notes in this. I did I know even Yes. And this was one of my This was one of my top whiskies of the year last year. And you know, the craziest thing is I went into like a blind competition. This was like my front runner to win it but you know how blind tastings go you just you just never know how it’s going to go but
it’s so good.
It’s so good.
Kenny I’m gonna get us back my buddies get us back on the rails here. Because you were kind of interrupted her because she was kind
of talking I’m sorry I apologize.
bourbon like it is
because she started she
started going I love Barbara What can I say? That wrong?
Yes, drinking a beer. So
what I’m saying is that we’re the home of innovative whiskeys and so we do a lot of really fun things and I you know, with the with our malt whiskey, we are 51% malt 47% corn and just 2% right, so we’re right close to that bourbon requirement. You know, 47% corn, you know, the way malt is a gateway mall. But the thing is, is that yes, it’s a gateway market who really knows you know, what, what is American mall? At this point in time? We’re still defining what that really means. It’s not it
was the marrow balter. Do you know the recipe that
was on your corn book?
Pick up a glass slipper.
What is American mall? There’s actually incredible debate about that. I think the greatest mall producer in this country is Lance winters from St. George he’s been making American mall you know since the 90s. Or there abouts legally
but it’s not a category I mean, like it’s not a category it’s not something that people are really seeking out so why why do we produce these things and bourbon is is Woodford big thing Why are we producing more Why are we introducing we were introducing what why are you introducing this makes no sense. We are flexing the muscle muscle in fact that Woodford Reserve is the home of innovative whiskeys and we can play in flavor. It’s all flavor so you look at our Woodford Reserve distiller select product and it’s balanced and complex you can find 212 flavors in a glass of Woodford Reserve bourbon buy them all
start with the eighth at the gold order go
within you get into
acid TO acid
within you look at him and everything is done with purpose. I told you earlier Chris Morris is a genius when it comes to bourbon and understanding it and when we’re planning out Woodford Reserve it’s not just all willy nilly like oh, wouldn’t it be fun to do a mall? How cool nobody else is doing it? Let’s do that. No, it is thought out because you look at we got our distiller slick bourbon which hits all five areas of flavor. Then you have our double oak which came out in 2012. It’s sweet, aromatic forward, it hits that we want you to know we want you to taste sweet aromatics. Then we’ve got our rye which is spice forward trying to hit that area of flavor. Then you’ve got our malt which is this grain wood notes coming through and then with our wheat will complete it with our our fruit forward notes, but then also going back to 1939 when they establish the TTP establish what are the four types of American whiskey, bourbon rye, malt wheat we’re hitting all those so not only are we covering flavor, but we’re also looking at from a historical standpoint as well.
Yeah. And you’re doing a lot of the experimentation that hopefully bourbon geeks are really trying to trying to harness and on because you do it, you do it you know the you have the standard, you’ve got your double load but then you also have your distiller select series, right? These these sort of one offs that people really kind of they gravitate towards because it’s something you knew is something unique. What’s been the the latest one that has come out that that sort of garnered some attention?
Well, the latest one is our good old favorite.
Double, double, double, double, double,
double. Okay, okay, I don’t know how many doubles we’re on now.
It’s just double double it’s it’s double ups but ah words of the 12 months 24 months. But man, I mean, it’s, it’s a totally shifts the flavor profile completely from our double oak. And people are obsessed with this.
How many? How many when you start taking over how many doubles are going to be on this?
Well, I just want to interject here like there was I got my Christina the story. I my wisdom teeth taken out one year. And I like where this is I died after for like three months, I couldn’t taste anything. The only thing that I can taste from like that I could assess was double oak, and double double oak. And it is what I think barrel finishing is the hardest thing to do in American whiskey right now to put out like a really good product because you can screw it up so easily. And what they you have done with double o n double a double double.
Double yeah. Oh,
yeah. As I say we’re getting some data is so hard to do it. I know. I am sure you guys went through a lot of batches to get that flavor. Right. But my God, is it? Does it feel like a dessert on the palate? Oh, no. Does it feel like dessert? Well,
thank you, Fred. That now to Fred’s point. Barrel finishing has been around for quite a long time. Give Dr. Bill Lumsden who I’m very familiar with at Glen Margie as the the modern father of barrel finishing back in the early 90s. But when all of us because we finished we finished with reserve, as you all know and our masters collection and cinema treasures Chardonnay barrels and Pino voir barrels. We didn’t make those barrels. They were used before it’s and I’m a good prayer. finishes are typically completed in barrels that came from somebody else and had been used before. So in the development of double oat, we have created the first and only whiskey in the world finished in a barrel made specifically for it. by it. Having our own brown Forman coupe bridge has allowed us to make a second barrel brand new charred on the inside to finish Woodford Reserve specifically and it took two years to develop. And we take full limiter, Woodford finish it in the second barrel for up to a year, as Elizabeth said, and we have double hooks, it’s the only whiskey in the world scotch Irish, Japanese, you name it, the only whiskey in the world that has been in two barrels, the original in the finish barrel that were both new made for it by its own its own coop bridge that’s unique. And as Elizabeth said, we’re in that second barrel for approximately one year for the word preserved double o double double we go two years in the flavor changes, but it’s the
same barrel for two years. Yes, you don’t leave the barrel. It’s that
I think there’s a misconception that there’s two barrels.
And then we Yes, we have gone three years we have gone for years. And is it triple double is a quadruple double what we’re going to call it, but we have decided that that flavor profile gets a little too intense, a little too far afield from what we want. And we have decided that double double is as far as we go career. So we continue to experiment. You may have said this and I apologize if you did. I was
distracted because somebody had a question online and like I was like trying to get it over here. But somebody was asking, Is there two different type of char levels on each barrel?
Yes, yes. So
you didn’t say it did you know?
Alright, sweet, so you’re gonna hear it right now.
But that’s also what makes it so great. And the fact that we have our own Cooper is so we can build our own barrels I always jokingly call it couture barreling because we’re making barrels specifically for each brand. And so with the with the double ocean we started out we have our Woodford Reserve distiller select barrel which is going to be a nine month seasoning, we do a 10 minute toast and 25 second char on that barrel, then that’s age five to seven years then we go into our double oak barrel. The double oak barrel has the nine months seasoning a 40 minute toast and a five to 10 second char. So we’re flash charging as we like to call it. But what we’re doing is a long toasting process which gets into the lignin layer of the wood, which is where a lot of the Van Halen lives. So when you knows double oak to get those they’ve only been what’s been battling, battling.
Okay, sorry, nella Sorry, no, that’s okay.
I’m an idiot. I just
that’s why it’s
so that that’s kind of where you get all those really really sweet aromatic notes. And you’re going to find that with WOQU you get the color too. So it’s really getting
so Elizabeth you and Chris, this is going to be exciting conversation probably just for the two of us here on the on this will start one over here.
But you talked about how you’re the only distillery that has their own Cooper HO of
our size if you want to go there
with no no I’m no I mean, Elizabeth on our side.
So that story starts in like the 1940s when there’s a lot of these acquisitions going on from the larger parent companies of the time, national Shanley you know Sega drums a lot of these kind of companies, brown Forman, instead of those companies were out there acquiring distilleries that could not meet the mandate for making alcohol for the war effort. instead of chasing that carrot instead of chasing those distillers to buy independent distillers they were purchasing Cooper juice. And when they did that, they kind of got themselves a lump in hundred
and 50 years,
we’re going on ground for me. It just it was like it was like one of these brilliant business moves in the 40s and 50s. And then they later acquired a little company called jack daniels. Yep. You know, I mean, so there’s like, all this week. business acumen within brown Forman and I always like when I hear you all talk about like, we’re the only distillery that has our own Cooper bridge. I think of the guy who was in a boardroom, who thought in the 1940s is like, Hey, why are we going after distilleries when we can get what everybody needs? And that’s the Beryl.
You know, Fred, that’s a good point. I’ve never really heard that story. And I don’t know if Chris if anybody knows it, Chris would know that story of just because that’s probably like the Woodford Reserve story when it the Bourbons giants like hey, we want to acquire we want to buy a bourbon distillery and start a new brand and people are like, Are you crazy? So I’m sure it’s the same kind of thought with our with our Cooper’s?
Well, Fred was that was certainly pointing in the right direction. So coming out of the Second World War, the big distilleries, the big companies I should say, who had many distilleries, Shin Lacey firms national Linh more, and others had their own Cooper, just all in local or the local region. And they were making their own barrels. And that men barrels were hard to come by there is a fierce demand and therefore a fierce competition for barrels. And small independent companies. Were having a difficult time. So as Les Brown, the first son of our founder, George Garvin Brown, decided, well, we need to have our own Cooper edge if we’re going to survive. And that led to the purchase of a wood making plant in the Highland Park neighborhood of Lobel that had been making of all things, plywood for the war effort. And it made rifle stocks. It had been a furniture factory. And we purchased that wood making plant and converted it to a coop bridge. So we were just one of many distilleries at the time that had its own Cooper edge. So it wasn’t abnormal. It wasn’t a big deal. It was sort of norm but
it was a step. It was a step toward the direction that you all became in the 50s you acquired
jack daniels and then and then by and large, those big famous distilling companies went out of business. Their brands were broken up there, distillers were there distilleries were closed and consolidated and little brown Forman kept plugging along. And here we are now today, as the only major whiskey company in the world. There are some small companies that make their own barrels, but we’re talking tiny, tiny companies, but we make all our own new barrels. And that has allowed us to expand and develop the range of jack daniels products. Old forester obviously Woodford Reserve the unique barrels that Elizabeth told us about king of Kentucky Cooper’s craft. Again, it’s amazing to think that we’re not the biggest whiskey company in the world by any stretch of the imagination. We are the top five but only and only we make our own barrels. And then when those barrels are sold on the open market, because we use them only once for our products. And certainly what for barrels are in high demand double oak barrels are in super high demand on the open market, from brewers, wineries, tequila producers, rum producers and whiskey producers of any strike. That brown Forman supplies annually, half the US barrels to the world. Wow. So there’s not a scotch whiskey, there’s probably not a rum, tequila, etc. That doesn’t have a little Woodford Reserve, brown Coleman flavor in it years from now as they age their products. So our flavor is, is very much in demand.
So that’s a that’s actually pretty awesome, because you got some history there. And I kind of want to even bring the history up just a little bit too today as we started kind of close this out. And Fred sort of jumped the gun a little bit because we are we poured some king of Kentucky and Fred and myself we are at the the media gathering for it, we got to be there with you, as you kind of gave us a breakdown of the history. And really what this means is brown form is coming out with a new product. So I kind of want you to talk a little bit about what is in and I guess just give it like a 32nd overview of like what is king of Kentucky most of the whiskey geeks out here already know what it is, but kind of talk about what the future of this product line is going to be as well.
Well, we want to be transparent about the king good tequila. And you guys remember we told we told everyone we’re very proud of it this this new make began as early times it’s it’s 79% corn 11% raw 10% malt, early Tams yeast. If we bottled it at four years old, it would have been early times hold another 10 years, it becomes something completely different. And holding a barrel that long for us whether it’s Woodford Reserve, early times old forester is extremely special because we heat cycle our warehouses. And you can virtually double the age when Liz was said we’re making with reserve from 5678 year barrels batch together, that’s 10 1214 year old barrels based on the maturation profile because heat Cycling is an aggressive maturation process that dates back to the 1870s. So can give Kentucky this 14 year old bottle as a 28 year age persona. But it’s not 28 years of course, it’s 14 years. So it is chemically made sure we analyze the King and I showed everyone the chemical signature which is the molecular flavor structure versus early times four year old one 100 proof bottle and bond is completely different. So again, transparent how it was made. This is a revitalization or return of an old label king of Kentucky which goes back into the 1880s Why did you choose this
label because you guys have a plethora of
fantastic labels in Kenya why not bring back marrow I kind of like that. That would be cool. You know?
Well there’s there’s several reasons and I’ll say the most important reason is our colleague is a friend of ours and executive that company up john Hayes said I like that name. And that’s a good idea. But john was john was early several years ago and advocated that very point bringing back our historic names we do have a lot of historic names from our company some maybe not so cool today like possum ridge Yeah, probably passed on.
I don’t know man.
Oh, Todd Tucker, and of course, the ever popular old brown in old form and but cawood tuck he does that does have a fun story because it’s named not after some mythical king of Kentucky. It’s not you know, named after did Elvis sleep here this weekend. It’s named after the king of good turkey which is the sport of kings. It’s named after thoroughbred horse racing. Because the owner of the brand back in the 1880s john T. Roach also was a thoroughbred breeder so King really ties into our Woodford Reserve story in one way that it’s involved or recognizes the importance of horse racing and Kentucky
I still vote for marrow
if we can get a marrow bottle on all over me if I may if we have more time we have a little bit of time to two minutes two minutes Elizabeth we like when this as soon as this came out like you know as you know my background what I wrote the book whiskey women
immediately women wrote me and said why the king oh god yeah, there was a little bit of that Yeah. And oh boy
cuz it’s a historical brand. Oh boy.
eggshells where’s the egg show Queen
don’t matter today like a man as you know yeah,
you should care about that that it was more like why is it the king? Well, we can come out with a queen a Kentucky Katie and I can work on that
or file and register be so
ggV. Here we can
get all the ladies of brown Forman together and will come out with a
I implore that and then I would actually say that like brown Forman Kinney has been one of the great companies for pushing forward. Women.
Yeah, if anything, brown Forman is a company that really, really highlights women and show
That’s the word I was going to celebrate it. Well,
it’s very difficult to when I was researching this, like, like five years, actually 10 years ago now I was researching whiskey women. None of the brands were like, No, we don’t have any women and I would have to like seek them out. But brown Forman was like, here’s a list of our women, they were very helpful, helpful, like Holly Stevens, a lot of these great women. Brown Forman was very excited to share them with me.
Well, if I’m a Fred, and I want to say this quite proudly, Elizabeth and Katie aren’t where they are. Because they’re women. They’re, they’re great at what they do. They’re professionals. They’re experts. They happen to be women, just like you and I happen to them in, but they’re experts and highly qualified at what they do. So they just happen to be who they are. And that’s what we need to celebrate and recognize. And that’s part
of it. Right? Like it’s not it’s not a matter of just giving people roles because of their actions, gender or race or whatever. It’s a matter of like, doing it because they deserve it. Yes, but but it’s but at the same time, it’s so white guy doesn’t dismiss them. I think that’s what we have to work on. Is that is that Chris? Like, you know, you? You come from a time
with in the in the
distilling business, where people were dismissing people? Oh, yeah, just because they were women. And I think that’s where we have to get as we ignore we, yeah, that’s that
we look for, I look forward to the point when it’s no longer so you’re a woman in this industry. Tell me about that. That’s the question I get all the time. And it’s like, how about I’m just a person in this industry. But it but it’s going to take us a while to get there. And I’ve recognized the fact that I am a woman in the industry. And that’s a significant difference.
And I will tell you, everything’s I do like with my bourbon and beyond programming and the hometown rising and and I try to include people without saying like, Oh, hey, look, it’s a woman. Yeah. Oh, hi, look, African American person. Yeah, I don’t want that. I want to include them as if they’re supposed to be there. Yeah. But
but there is significance in in us being there. Because we are at a turn of times, you know, time is changing. And there was once a time when that wasn’t the case. So we do need to celebrate and acknowledge that. But I do look forward to the next generation where it’s just the norm, you know,
because let’s don’t forget, we’re very I know, we’re very proud that Elizabeth mother worked at Sega drums, and my mother worked at Brown Forman. So we did have, we had mentors are our inspiration from our own mothers in the industry. They just weren’t up and up in front of people like we’re
able to do be today. They weren’t on podcast. We’re weird.
This is true, though. Actually. Yeah.
I got a question, guys. We wrap things up too. So like, I envisioned, it’s like trying to wrap things up, though. I guess we don’t have to wrap things. Well, not wrapping things up. I have a question. So like, I kind of envisioned this like, like Chris’s Coach Cal or, you know, like a legendary coach, like somebody that you never want to be the person that follows the legend. Um, Scotty Davenport, or? Yeah, exactly. So, like, talk about that? And like, Is there any pressure or like sense of like, okay, you know, this is Chris, and I gotta, you know, replace the great legend. And how, how difficult is that? Or is that we’re on you at all?
That’s a really good question. And actually, when I first started training under Chris, I talked with one of our executives within kind of r&d, and I had this conversation, I was like, he’s Chris Morris, like, I will never be Chris Morris. I won’t ever have the same drive passion, like he his excellence sense of history, knowledge is so much more. I love history, but his knowledge is so much it’s just we’re different people. And I also was like, he knows so much and I, I can’t possibly and it’s like he he said to me, he goes, you know, it was what do you think Chris Morris? You know, he’s been in the industry. Well now going on 40 plus years, but at the you know, he’s like, when he first started out, do you think he knew all the things he knows and was like, You’re right. I don’t think he did. So it gave me the courage to know I have a lot to learn and that’s why I take a lot of pride in the fact of the assistant piece and I still have so much to learn 40 plus years in the industry, I hope to have be where he is one day
and 40 ratio level where what I told him like he did it, Link but Chris,
really you do guided worker?
my honest opinion, you know, I don’t I’m not like afraid to be like Chris,
she smiles. Yeah, I hear you.
We have good a good. We work well together. It’s you know, it’s fun. It’s an interesting age gap.
I’m fascinated by this because like, Chris did not come up the same route as you. Yeah, he was. He he was with a very popular company called united distillers, now known as the Ico, and he had several different titles there. Then he went to Glen more and brown Forman or I may have that mixed mixed up a little bit in the timeline of the Chris Morris biography, but he was he’s not always been with brown Forman so he’s kind of like he’s
a little bit in the Berto
like when you got the term master distiller associated to your name, Chris. I’m curious. Did you feel comfortable with it?
so very briefly, I started brown Forman in 1976. Working with Lincoln, left the company and 86 went to when more Glenn was acquired by United distillers Can you tell us a story about how you left brown Forman I love this story.
I love this story. loves the past anymore can get
frightened this caught.
Well, I’m able to say it now. It was quite traumatic and painful. The bourbon industry was in free for all you we can’t You can’t imagine today what it was like the brown Forman distilleries were closed nine months a year operating in three months a year the Cooper’s were shut down. Brown Forman was buying companies like Hartman luggage and Linux, crystal and gore and China and care Sharif flatware. diversifying because bourbon and whiskey were dying. And the company had to cut back on its work staff. And it cut back on its production work staff of your distilleries, close them once a year. You don’t need everybody. A group of us young supervisors were let go. I like to say not prefer for performance, but we just had to be let go. Unfortunately, one individual buddy Thompson bless his heart. I’m so buddy so close to buddy Thompson was expanding Glenmore. And I was hired at Glenn more, which was just awesome, and a great experience. And the United Stiller’s bought Glenn more because Glenn was doing so well. And off we go. But when I left Glenn more, excuse me, United distillers in 97 as I returned to brown Forman
I was then
I can’t remember exactly how long but I was the newly minted master distiller for United distillers. Nobody knows that we don’t talk about it, and foot date was bourbon. Such a Weller de Baucus was had been George decal, I became the master distiller for United distillers. And so coming back to brown Forman, I had to sort of start all over again, to be trained in the brown Forman way, which was cool. But I was very comfortable with the, with the title because I’d already gotten it at United distillers and
who doesn’t have a master store any longer doesn’t exist because it’s part of the audio and why I didn’t have criteria back
then. No criteria.
life presents itself, you just go with the flow and that’s what was going on talk was very at visit my office at Brown form and you’ll see my business cards I have them frame master distiller IW harbor master distiller George decal, you know, brands that you don’t want about today.
Because I’m no longer there. But
It was it was a great experience is an awesome experience. But it helped develop me for my current position. And I’m able to pass along those learnings to Elizabeth and, and to Katie and others. So our life is a set of experiences that you need to
hopefully benefit from and I sure did.
This has been great because we’ve we’ve now taken it back from where we started asking what is the master distiller to you, and then going all the way to really how you got to where you are today. And it’s, it’s the whole evolution of the journey. And so we’ve, it’s been it’s been a real pleasure to have both of you on today because we got a lot of insight into the distilling techniques. You know, we’ve got the master distiller we got the assistant master distiller, they opened up a job description or a job opening, you know, you can be assistant to the master distiller or assistant know the assistants would be a great time to ask them if we could do that pursuit series with
one of these let us do her own farewell.
Yeah, but I am staying.
You know, I want to say thank you again, for coming on the show today. It was a pleasure. And thank you also to down one bourbon bar for hosting us here today. Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s been a great walk green Avenue. I bet the Blake Shelton, people love us go. Where the real is right, right across the street. But again, thank you all so much. And if you if I know that you’re on Instagram, so if people want to follow you, how do they How do they get ahold of you? or How can they kind of see what you’re up to in your daily life? Oh,
it’s Elizabeth. underscore O’Neill underscore McCall. Hashtag was
awesome. Well, again, thank you.
What’s your social Where’s your social?
on me? I had
I’ve known Chris for a long time is probably best not on social but
I’ll tell you my telegraph address
your Morse code all
there it is. I’ll tap two dots one dash three. Though I think I think you would really be be good on social media because you don’t mind getting in the muck with people.
You don’t like telling someone just don’t do it after midnight?
You know, that’s why I’m not on social media.
Honestly, like, and Ryan Kenny.
That’s why I have a great respect for Chris is I’ve asked him questions over the years, numerous people or whatever and, and he will tell you like, they suck. They’re great. This is why they’re this or that’s why that is no good. I mean, he gives you the honest opinion. And you can find that like in people who are you know, brave enough to quote Chris at times.
Well, next time we’re going to make him make a leap. Don’t tell me I suck. I
look like a really bad. I’m Oh, he told me I saw or so like I’ve quoted that.
Well, I kid you I actually
every next time Next time we get this list and he’s gonna go over who sucks and who doesn’t?
You know, comfortable
with our other chris chris pointer is over here looking at us and I don’t think we’re going to do
that. Probably not. Is he a PR guy?
He’s bigger. He’s the PR guy at the mic. Cut the mic.
Alright, so let’s go ahead. Let’s wrap this up. Thank you all once again. And thank you once again to down one bourbon bar for hosting us today. You make sure you follow not only us bourbon pursuit at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as Fred Mitic on all those channels, but also follow down one bourbon bar, support us on Patreon. And
yeah, wrap it up.
I can’t wait to sit up straight. I’ve been hunching over, like, as he’s like, got to talk to the mic. But, uh, so I grabbed the mic on a smart Can you done? Let me for Fred. You’re like a claim writer. So you get to do whatever you want. So But anyways, thanks to down one. This is awesome. Like, huge, like, step up for us. I mean, this is
is because the pilot Cass has earned it. You know, I just want to say that straight out. It’s like, what you two have done in the last few years. It’s been remarkable. It’s been a real pleasure for me to join it. Thanks, Fred. And I gotta tell you, Fred, Chris was going to tell us a suck and
take you out? Yeah,
I’ll just say that. Like, I can’t think of a better two guests to like, start our life. Oh, yeah, this was
amazing. But Chris, I don’t care what you say about him. Chris is one of my mentors and life, not just bourbon. But you’re, you’re you’re a friend to me, and you are a mentor. And in in life, as well as whiskey. And I’ve spent a lot of time with you in a lot of different places. And my respect for you is through the roof. So thank you for I’m thankful that you came on to be with us in our first sight now. Probably we
were honored. Elizabeth and I definitely to be your first guests on this new format that that
truly an honor. And we we appreciate it. And we look forward to seeing you all again in the future. And obviously you’re always welcome to visit us at Woodford Reserve and take you up on it. Let’s do a personal selection. Let’s get it going. Come on.
We’re in a Be careful. I’ll show up tomorrow. Like pop in like I’m
here. Katie Katie’s working tomorrow. We’re off like like a two second mention of that. And Chris clued on to it.
I know. I had to get sneak it in. I had motive. Sorry. But no thanks, guys, for spending your Friday evening with us. And thanks to everyone that tuned in. Really appreciate it. Thanks to that one, and we’ll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai