Industry Camaraderie

Industry Camaraderie

One of the things I have always loved about the whiskey industry is the camaraderie. The success of the whole industry comes before any one individual. On November 7, 1996, Heaven Hill’s production plant in Bardstown was almost completely destroyed by fire. The fire started in an aging warehouse and spread to other buildings and vehicles. 90,000 barrels of flammable bourbon were consumed. A “river of fire” flowed from the warehouses. The next day, business at the plant resumed. The bottling line was still operational and they still had stocks that needed to fill orders. The production end was crippled, however, and there were gaps in inventory. In many other businesses, competitors would leave a struggling company to sink or swim. Kentucky...

Needs More Beautiful Copper…

Copper is beautiful. It seems to glow in the sunlight and somehow evokes warmth and well-being in us. Perhaps that’s why I always want to hug a still when I see one…or perhaps it’s the whiskey… In 1999, when Charlie Downs and Craig Beam moved Heaven Hill operations to the Bernheim distillery in Louisville (after the devastating fire at their Bardstown distillery in 1996), they discovered that the six story column stills on the new site would need some tweaking to produce the whiskey they wanted. Not only did they have to drill out bigger holes to let the beer flow properly, but found they needed more copper. Copper is essential in creating good whiskey because it reacts with and removes dimethyl trisulfide and other sulfur containing...