Kentucky Bourbon Distillers - One year Later

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Kentucky Bourbon Distillers - One year Later

Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:44 am

I had the pleasure to be part of LeNell's tasting crew for her next barrel of Red Hook Rye. We met at the distillery at about 11:30 Friday morning and Drew gave us a tour of the distillery before we started the barrel selection.

Once again it was a cloudy, overcast day with a chill wind blowing but not raining. We walked down the gravel / mud road to the distillery and from the distance I could see they had finished the stone work and had mocked up a sett of doors into the distillery. It is very impressive with the gold tones of some of the limestone blocks making it shine in even the pale sun of the day. The place did not look too different from the distance outside of the stone work so I was prepared not to notice that much difference when we entered the building.

I was wrong. There were many more changes than I had expected to see. JD's lip prints are still on that work of art they call a copper pot still, but they have started to attach that still into the system with many of the connections laying on the floor around the still. There were other subtble appearing but major steps forward construction projects in progress as well. Drew took us out to see the column still and he has a copper head and beer heater waiting to be added to the system.

The column is one of the smallest in diameter I have ever seen. The fact that it towers above your head for about 50 feet makes it seem pencil thin. The doubler was sitting there in the yard just waiting to be installed. When they are through they will be able to make column still or pot still whiskey as the customer wishes. This will be the most flexable system in Kentucky.

The next place Drew took us was the boiler room that is just now going on line. As a matter of fact when Drew Brenda and I came down from the office when the rest of the crew arrived, Evan was taking the boiler inspector out to see the finished installation. Right next to the boiler room is a seperate room that will be a machine shop that also contains the electrical panels. There are a lot more active circuits this year than last year. Progress is being made.

After leaving the distillery area Drew showed us the cistern room. Unfortunately it was in about the same shape as last year, but heading to the cistern room we could see the same stone mason who was working on the stone last year working on the gutted building that will soon be their visitors center. John was kidding about turning the building into a bed and breakfast and Drew answered that the bed and breakfast will be further down the road. He was not kidding either he showed us an area that they plan to place a bed and breakfast that will be seperated from the distillery, but close enough to walk into the distillery during business hours allowing tem to watch the distilling process at their leisure.

Drew also pointed out a concrete base for a huge tank that they plan to turn into a rotunda and metal structure they plan to turn into a deck overlooking Rowan's Creek. Add to this another pond that will help them recycle waste water but also have "Noah's Mill" as part of the process and you are talking about a bourbon lovers dream vacation.

This is all going to take time and I suspect it may be another decade before it is all done. The reasons for this slow progress is important though - The family wants to do it right and they do not want to take out loans to do it. They are paying for this construction as they go. This makes for slow progress but it also means they will not have the banks looming over their head after it is finished. They are doing it right in more than one way as far as I can tell. I hope they continue to stay the course.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Unread postby brendaj » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:14 pm

Mike,
The stonework on the distillery building is just outstanding. The whole building is going to be breathtaking. I can only imagine what the bed & breakfast will look like.
I was especially impressed that Drew mentioned still using his grandfather's doubler.
Here's a few shots from the warehouse.
Bj
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As a Kentuckian, I consider it my civic duty to drink Bourbon, smoke and bet the ponies. Its a tuff job, but someone has to do it...
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Unread postby brendaj » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:23 pm

We got the impression the Drew was no stranger to moving barrels around... :D
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This is LeNell's friend Don. He had climbed way up into the rick to shoot some photos. Hope we get to see some!
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pay attention to the green card LeNell is holding in her hand in this shot.
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As a Kentuckian, I consider it my civic duty to drink Bourbon, smoke and bet the ponies. Its a tuff job, but someone has to do it...
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Unread postby brendaj » Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:28 pm

I just had to post this, sorry about the fold. Its just too cute. Maybe LeNell will chime in and tell us about these cards. She says she does one every month for her store. There's supposed to be one coming up that will feature Ben... :lol:

I only hope we get to see more...
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What a day!

Unread postby tlsmothers » Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:19 pm

I spoke to Drew today and he says they may dump my barrel this week. Folks, this one is even better than number one. It's creamier in the mouth and has a finish that just keeps flirting with your taste buds.

I am simply thrilled to be a part of anything the Kulsveens do. Their future is very promising. Drew and Britt are truly wonderful people, and I'm sure their dad (and mom) are very proud to have them involved to carry the family business into the next steps of success.

Brenda, that crazy Derby post card was designed by my graphics artist Powell Burns, who never fails to give me a giggle each month.

Thanks to all who made our trip to Bardstown so memorable.
"Drinking just to get drunk is like having sex just to get pregnant." --Robert Hess
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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:32 pm

LeNell,
You and Ben were the highlight of my weekend. Who could ask for more than sipping fine rye whiskey at the distillery in the morning and having cocktails with New York's best mixologist that evening.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:35 pm

Drew was kind enough to also give Fricky and me the same tour. It was very exciting to see the progress and hear the "visions" that they have for the place. I surely hope it all goes well for them.
Joe
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Re: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers - One year Later

Unread postby cowdery » Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:19 pm

bourbonv wrote:This is all going to take time and I suspect it may be another decade before it is all done. The reasons for this slow progress is important though - The family wants to do it right and they do not want to take out loans to do it. They are paying for this construction as they go. This makes for slow progress but it also means they will not have the banks looming over their head after it is finished. They are doing it right in more than one way as far as I can tell. I hope they continue to stay the course.


That is, after all, how the great cathedrals of Europe were built, nothing wrong with it. As for tasting any product of that enterprise in my lifetime...well, I'm pretty old, and not all that healthy. We'll see.
- Chuck Cowdery

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Re: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers - One year Later

Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:35 am

It has been a year and a half since I wrote this. I was back at KBD on Saturday to pick a couple of barrels with the Bourbon Society (well, we actually ended up with 3 barrels, but that is another story). The distillery is making progree, The Boiler is in and the propane tank to fire it is in place. The water pipes are up to the distillery building and ready to be connected to the plumbing in the building. They have done some cosmetic changes such as building a stone wall at the enterance and clearing some brush off the hillside and placing a beautiful fountain in their lake behind the distillery and creating a waterfall to the lake for the water from the distillery. I would think that they are coming down to the finishing touches and I would think 5 or 6 months will see the distillery operating. That would place the time scale sometime in the next year or two. Since they are paying as they go, they will be slower than expected. Still, I would say the end result will justify the wait.

Drew gave us a very good tour of the site. They have even begun work on a visitor's center and the fill room. There is a new roof on the bottling house and new windows going into the warehouses. Fresh paint seems to be everywhere and the whole site is coming together nicely. If you get a chance to visit you should do so, but make sure they are expecting you because they are doing a lot of work and don't have time fior unexpected visitors or casual tourist.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Re: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers - One year Later

Unread postby fricky » Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:38 pm

Mike,
Thank you for the update. I look forward to the day they start distilling. Can you talk about the bartrels that The Bourbon Society selected?
Doug
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