LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Innovator, entrepreneur and bourbon maker. On this edition of "Gina on the Job," WDRB's Gina Glaros followed in Evan Williams' footsteps and worked for Kentucky's first commercial distillery.
"We're going to measure out the mash build, we're going to let you dump the grain, we're going to let you start up the still. So, you're going to be a distiller for a day, we're gong to give you the whole experience," said Jodie Filiatreau, Artisanal Distiller for Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.
Even with ingredients being pumped into these stills at Evan Williams downtown, the process is still very hands on like it's been since 1783.
"You're multitasking. You really are. I always say, 'You can't get focused on one part of the process or you'll mess something up,'" Filiatreau said.
Gina tasted the proof and kept checking it, using copies of the old manuals. The proof must be below 160.
"Main ingredients, which is generally corn, then you have your flavored grain, which is usually rye or wheat and then you have your multi-barley," he said.
Gina measured the mash bill. "No, you're not done yet," Filiatreau said.
Gina poured the buckets of grain together.
From one barrel a day here to 1300, Heaven Hill's Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll took Gina through the rest of the process but on a grander scale.
Gina visited one of the fermenter rooms at the Heaven Hill Bernheim Distillery.
"The alcohol content here is up around ten percent and the yeast have done their work, and it smells, whew, just like it should," O’Driscoll said.
The whiskey ages for years. Last but not least, Gina thieved a barrel.
"You did great. You're an expert barrel thief. One of the fun things to work on is just getting better at taking whiskey. You can really enjoy it, it's a journey of a lifetime, well worth the effort," he said.
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