373 – Bold Innovations And Not Following Trends with Will Schragis of Barrell Craft Spirits
It’s only been in the past 10 years that we have seen bourbon go through true innovation. Barrel finishes and blending different distillates weren’t as common as they are now. Barrell Craft Spirits has been a pioneer in this space. In this episode we’re joined by Will Schragis the Chief Product Innovation Officer for Barrel Craft Sprits. Will has been around since the beginning of Barrell and he tells how they approach innovating new products and the stories behind some of their most highly acclaimed and in-demand product extensions like Dovetail and Seagrass.
- Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about blending subpar whiskey
- What were the early days like trying to establish the Barrell Bourbon brand?
- How do you deal with UPC code sprawl?
- What challenges do you experience with this business model of doing so many unique things?
- How do you scale Seagrass from a finishing standpoint?
- How do you determine what factors go into process innovation?
- Does constant customer education play a role with innovation?
- How can American whiskey move beyond blend being a dirty word?
- How can you be transparent when barrels need to be reconditioned?
- Do the micro-blends serve as a training ground for new products?
- Why has there not been a specifically toasted product yet?
- Can you explain why $500 gold label demanded the price?
- Was Stellum a way to introduce a lower price tag into the line?
- Support this podcast on Patreon
283 – Big Barrell Blind with Joe Beatrice of Barrell Bourbon
When Barrell Bourbon comes out with a product, it’s never going to be duplicated. We explored that with Joe back on episode 164, but this time Joe puts us to the test. Ryan and I sample through 15 different Barrell products while Joe and Fred become commentators. These are products that have already been released, are to be released, or experiments in the making. We try them blind to see which ones we like and if we can guess the blends and finishes too.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about history on whiskey labels.
- What’s the process you go through to pick a favorite during a tasting?
- Blind Barrell Tasting
- How do you blend?
- Anything you would eliminate yet?
- When you blend using finishes, are you trying to make sure you are still tasting the bourbon?
- Joe, why did you select some of these products?
- What are the flavor profile differences in the various styles of rum?
- Are you all coffee drinkers and does that have any affect on tasting?
- Discuss Top 3.
- Blind reveal.
- What’s your favorite?
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272 – Crafting Cocktails with Nic Christiansen of Barrell Craft Spirits
Well, you asked for another episode talking cocktails and that’s what you get. On this episode, we talk to Nic Christiansen who runs the single barrel program at Barrell Craft Spirits, but is also a nationally recognized bartender and cocktail competition champion. She talks about the variety of cocktails and how it’s really about swapping out simple ingredients to create endless possibilities. From a classic Old Fashioned or Mint Julep to creating your own bitters, this episode will have you wanting to create something unique of your own.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about bourbon heritage month.
- What was your favorite tv show growing up as a kid?
- Tell us about your background.
- What made you decide to get into cocktails?
- What bad habits did you learn when you first started making cocktails?
- What is involved with being a beverage director?
- How do you train bartenders?
- How did you remember all those cocktails?
- How do you make bitters?
- How do you build a cocktail from an economic perspective?
- What is your Old Fashioned recipe?
- What is a Brown Derby?
- What kind of ice do you prefer?
- What do you think about the growing mixology culture?
- Do you ever enter competitions?
- What is your go to vermouth?
- Rye vs. Bourbon in cocktails?
- What are your thoughts on Rum cocktails?
- How frustrated do you get when a place can’t make a good cocktail?
- Do you prefer different cocktails for different seasons?
- Talk about using a raw egg in a New York Sour.
- Where did you get the inspiration for your New York Sour?
- Any upcoming cocktail trends?
- What do you do on a daily basis?
- Does your palate differ from Tripp and Joe?
263 – Distillation Deep Dive with Tripp Stimson of Barrell Bourbon
Many of us know the basics of distillation, but only a few know the true science. Today, we’re joined by Tripp Stimson of Barrell Bourbon and we ask all the hard questions on distillation that we’ve always wanted to know. This is really for the geeks at heart because it goes into pH levels, yeast strains, malting processes, and so much more. Listen close to the expert because it’s definitely one show where you will learn something new about the distillation process.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about bourbon in the movies.
- What are your goals for the year?
- Tell us about your background.
- Let’s talk about grains.
- Does it matter where the grain comes from?
- What happens after getting the grain?
- Does the size of the mash tub matter?
- What is the percentage of mash to water?
- What’s the best way to mix the mash?
- How long is the process?
- How do you know the mash is ready?
- What grain do you add in first?
- Talk about malted grain.
- What happens next?
- What is the consistency of the product when going from the mash tub to the fermentation tank?
- Let’s talk about yeast.
- What about a mash rest?
- What is the chemical breakdown during fermentation?
- Why do some people do closed vs. open fermentation?
- What determines the number of days for fermentation?
- Do different grains change the process?
- What is sour mash?
- Let’s talk about the pH of the water.
- Is the flavor more consistent in a sour mash process vs. sweet mash?
- Do you use a bourbon backset in a rye mash?
- What happens after fermentation?
- Talk about the shape of stills.
- After the still where does it go?
- What happens in the doubler?
- What are heads, hearts and tails?
- What are the health risks of the process?
- What’s the difference between the column still and pot still?
- When do you get the waste out?
- How do you control the proof coming off the still?
- What is the argument for a low entry proof?
- Does it have to be the exact proof listed on the label?
- How do you get a final proof when using multiple barrels?
- How do you clean the equipment?
- Does an older still produce a different flavor?
- What are you looking for when picking rum?
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164 – Blending Barrel Proof with Joe Beatrice and Tripp Stimson of Barrell Bourbon
Why there is an extra L in Barrell Bourbon? Well, today we find out. Joe Beatrice and Tripp Stimson join us to talk about all things Barrell and how this brand is really one for the bourbon geeks with unfiltered barrel proof expressions. We then dive into the newest releases of the Infinite Barrel Project and talk about their plans for sourcing, distilling and blending as they have made Louisville KY their headquarters.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about sexism with Master Distillers.
- Do you remember you first bottle of bourbon or first memory with it?
- Talk about the history of Barrell. Why did you want to start it?
- What is it about barrel proof that consumers like over 90 or 100 proof?
- Would you rather blend than distill?
- What’s the size of a Barrell batch?
- Which do you think is harder because we’ve had both master distillers and master blenders on the show?
- How does scale play into this bringing in more barrels?
- What’s the release schedule and idea about numbering the batches?
- Why is there an extra L?
- Give us a run down of the line up products you offer
- Why rum?
- New year edition. Let’s talk about what this is all about.
- The Infinite Barrel Project is super unique.
- Why keep doing new ideas and not sticking with the staples?
- Tripp are there any ideas that Joe comes up with and you’re like “this is never going to work”?
- What’s a rejected idea?
- Are you able to continually able to source good whiskey and are you able to turn it away?
- Talk about the operation now. Are are you contract distilling? straight sourcing? bottling?
- So are you itching to start distilling?
- Why distill when you haven’t had a problem getting barrels before?
- Would you take your own distillate and mix from sourced goods?
- Why build a distillery that’s a pure factory that doesn’t look at making it a tourist destination?
- Why Louisville? You can build a distillery anywhere.
- What about storage? I know you’re at Castle and Key right now but where can you go?
- Do you think you started a revolution of brands following suit?
104 – Jim Beam, Barrell, Rabbit Hole, Smooth Ambler, 1792, Art Eatables, Balcones, Cooper’s Craft and Jack Rose in 10 Interviews from WhiskyLive Louisville 2017
A combination of 10 interviews all done at WhiskeyLive in Louisville. This podcast features Fred Noe and Beth Burrows of Jim Beam, Joe Beatrice of Barrell Bourbon, Brian Gelfo of Rabbit Hole, John Foster of Smooth Ambler, Josh Hollifield of Barton 1792, Kelly Ramsey of Art Eatables, Winston Edwards of Balcones, Greg Roshkowski of Cooper’s Craft, and we wrap it up with Bill Thomas of Jack Rose.
- Thanks to WhiskyLive during the Bourbon Affair for letting us come and record these interviews. Make sure you attend a future WhiskyLive event.