OK, I'm just back.
I wanted to say what an awesome time I had at this conference. Obviously it's totally geared towards people with operating new microdistilleries interested in whiskey/bourbon/"moonshine" production as well as folks that have the idea or are planning on opening one. That said, the chance to meet other distillers, distillers-to-be, whiskey enthusiasts, and industry folk (i.e., some of the big folk) all at one event was incredible.
I want to thank Mike and John so much for sharing all their knowledge and time in chatting with my friend Sharon and I. It made everything just so much more pleasurable and downright fun. You two are really great guys.
And Sharon concurs. And then the chance to taste some exceptional historical whiskey like the Old Crow 1908/1925, as well as the modern expressions like BT experimentals that basically only locals get to obtain, and everything else that came you way. That was awesome. Really, thank you ever so much.
On opening night at the Receptions, it was great to meet many people for the first time, Mike, John, and also Chuck Cowdery and folks from the ADI. Lots of free sampling of yummy and interesting stuff.
I had the wonderful pleasure of being introduced to Lincoln Henderson by Mike and immediately upon Mike telling him I had my own little microdistillery he began offering advice and suggestions. It was really great to meet such an icon of the industry.
There was a great tour by bus on Monday where we got to visit Vendome Copper (the still manufacturer), Kelvin Cooperage, AllTech Brewing & Distilling (Forsyth stills), (some place I'm forgetting in my foggy mind), and Buffalo Trace for a behind the scenes tour including their 60,000 gallon capacity beer still and doubler, fermenters, grain processing, mashing. All the behind the scene stuff that geeky distillers like to see.
There were more geeky sessions the next day and a half. I really liked hanging out back behind the conference with Jim Blansit of Copper Run Distillery (Missouri) and Sherman Owen (Vendome Copper) that had hooked up a homemade steam generator using a gator burner, a 15 gallon keg, some SS pipe with tri-clover clamps and a custom 55 gallon SS 304 barrel. So many micros start cash starved. They have a lot of equipment to buy, and everything is expensive. Here was an example of something homemade for minimal money (maybe $500) and a few hundred more would have added some necessary safety features (in a real distillery rather than a moonshine operation), things like this need to be better promoted. Plus, it was good experience to see how to cook a corn mash, one of the most difficult things to do correctly. And to do it without chemical additives like enzymes from other than the barley.
I could mention a lot of other stuff, but I don't want to bore you. Not boring howvere was the talk Mike gave on History of Bourbon
. From the origin of the name to the differences in historical barrel sizes, and char, Mike gave a lot of ideas to those attending about alternative expressions based on historical techniques and recipes, with the benefit of lead free stills and other modern equipment. Could be very interesting...
Thanks for the nice comments Mike on my rye experiment. Seriously. It was literally an experiment. Now will be the hard work of actaully being able to reproduce that! It was good to be knowing I'm going in the right direction.
The rest of this week and next will be very busy for me catching up and getting ready for MCC. I'll be back!