441 – Engineering a Rickhouse with Buzick Construction

We’ve all been driving through bourbon country and been amazed at the rickhouses that paint the country side. But what goes into building and engineering those? Buzick Construction has a long family history in the whiskey business, with their family building multiple rickhouses for Jack Daniel’s. Today, the average size of a rickhouse is 50,000 barrels, presenting engineering challenges compared to older 20,000 barrel ones in terms of weight load, airflow, and temperature control. We brought their President, Donald Blincoe, and chief engineer, Kevin Aldred, on the show to talk about what goes into building a rickhouse. We talk about different wood types, exterior materials, precise airflow design needs and humidity considerations. We also dive into the costs because a rickhouse run into the millions these days. Overall, Buzick has been the name in construction around Bardstown and has a reputation in these time-honored warehouses.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about food and whiskey pairing
  • Talk about the history of Buzick Construction
  • How many rickhouses did your great grandfather build for Jack Daniel’s?
  • Do you have a patent on the ricking system?
  • What’s the average size of rickhouse today?
  • How did the engineering change when going from 20,000 to 50,000 barrel rickhouses?
  • Do you have to defend your plans to local governments and municipalities?
  • What options do you have when building such as wood types?
  • What’s the usual cost for building a rickhouse?
  • How do you design for airflow?
  • Do you have to go into older buildings and modernize them?
  • What is the preferred exterior material to use now?
  • Does creating a heat controlled warehouse interfere with natural flow?
  • Have there been any crazy requests for rickhouses like a smart rickhouse?
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