View Full Version : Is SB Really SB?

12-05-2003, 17:58
There are several bourbons out there that are called "Single Barrel" with the implication that they come from one barrel from somewhere in the warehouse. I wonder if this is really true. I think one standard bourbon barrel contains about 200 standard 750 ml bottles. So, is 200 bottles all that is in any single "Single Barrel" batch? It seems unlikely to me. That would mean that each 200 barrel batch would have a slightly different taste and a slightly different proof.

Any one have any thoughts or insight?

Regards, jimbo

12-05-2003, 18:21
Oh golly, here we go with the dilution thing again! J/K http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

SB is really SB. And there isn't a huge variation in different barrels having different proofs. The alcohol evaporation ("angel's share") is approximately 3% per year. Presumably all the barrels of each batch are the same age, so there won't be wide discrepancies. But keep in mind that unless you're doing a batch of Stagg or Booker's, ALL THESE BARRELS ARE DILUTED to the magic proof number on the label. Bourbon is typically aged at 120-140 proof and then diluted for bottling.

A 60 gallon bourbon barrel should yield about 300 bottles of barrel-proof bourbon, but after dilution the number should go up to about 400-450. Bettye Jo or Chuck can probably give more accurate stats for this.

12-05-2003, 20:38
Perhaps Bettye Jo can also tell us what happens to the less-than-750 ml. amounts that are left over out of each barrel of a single-barrel bottling. Do the line mechanics get use it to top off their hip flasks?

J/K, Bettye Jo. For one thing, I know you would never, ever drink on the job. For another, I'm pretty sure that the Feds would prevent any distillery from giving away the leftovers, even if they wanted to.

Where do the leftovers go? To another product, such as EW 7 Year Old?

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

12-05-2003, 21:19
I can assure you that single barrel is real. Both Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace have separate bottling lines exclusively for their single barrel products. Whereas the lines like the one Bettye Jo runs are huge, mostly automated and very fast, hence very high volume, the single barrel lines are exactly the opposite. Most of the filling and labeling is done by hand. Each barrel is emptied into a tank that is just large enough to hold the contents of the barrel plus the amount of water necessary to dilute it to the bottling proof.

Dave's question about the dregs is an interesting one and I don't have an answer for it. I suspect the partially-filled bottles are set aside and emptied into one of the big vats, where they go into one of the non-single barrel products. They may even, perish the thought, simply be discarded.

When they make a selection for a single barrel product, they typically will select a group of something like 50 barrels that were all barreled on the same date and have all been aging in the same part of the warehouse, so they should be and are almost identical, so there isn't a great deal of variation barrel to barrel or bottle to bottle or, for that matter, year to year.

Single barrel products are interesting precisely because the distiller doesn't have the option of shaping the whiskey through the marrying (none dare call it "blending") process, as is done with most non-SB straight bourbons. It's a more pure indication of the distiller's skill.

12-06-2003, 00:24
Maybe these things are just getting to my area, but it seems that miniatures (50ml) of premium products are getting popular. I have one of JDSB and I've noticed others, most notably I saw minis of Woodford Reserve today (not SB, but at least small batch). Perhaps the leftovers could be packaged in minis or other sizes? It seems that would be logical, but I haven't seen other sizes than 750ml or the occasional 50ml. Of course, what happens to the what's left over after that? I suspect that it would probably be negligible. What single barrel products are available in other sizes?

12-06-2003, 08:09
375 ml is a common size. I have seen a few high-end bourbons in it.


12-06-2003, 09:02
Now, now, Dave. If you'd been doing your homework, you'd know that if Bettye Jo had a hip flask, it'd be full of Bud http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

12-10-2003, 11:56
Is Single Barrel, Single Barrel?...

Yes it is...One Barrel is processed, one Barrel at a time....The lines at the Single Barrel,processing station are virgin...nothing except Single Barrrel is run through...
Nothing, is added except water to bring the proof to specs...

I went upstairs to processing and made sure I got my information correct...This is their only job...It's all they do...cut, move, filter, check proof, circulate etc...We have a upper tank room and a lower tank room and a Sugar Shack (cordial processing room)...We also, have tanks outside, (behind) Heaven Hill...It's called the tank farm...When, you see it from above, you know immediately, why it's called a "tank farm"...The tanks are very large...You can probably stack a few cars inside them...Each holds a specific gallon amount...I use that example, so you would know how big some of em are...Some of em are very small...I could fit in it and close the lid...

I asked the Frank, Brandi and Shannon...the following questions...

Q...On the average...how many gallons are in one single barrel by the time you get it?...It's dumped downstairs and pumped through lines quite a distance before it reaches the processing dept. upstairs...

A...usually around 30-35 gallons...

Q...Good grief...ya mean to tell me that it started at 55 gallon at entry 10 years ago and that much is angel share?

A...Yes and No...a lot, is lost through evaporation in the barrel, over time, but some is lost through filtering and just "lost in the lines" from one point to another...We blow the lines to try to get all the product but you cannot get every drop...

Q...Ok...figure that barrel for me...(there was paperwork on the desk) They pulled thier calculators and seemed to peck for a good while..

A...That barrel is 135 proof...unusual...We have had some of em come in here (the Elijah Craig single barrel at 150 proof...we checked it and double checked...the numbers were unbelieveble, but true, it's happed twice)...

To cut that barrel (on the paperwork) at (135 proof to 87.6) they would add 17 1/2 gallons of water...They always, make the proof a bit higher cause with circulation and travel, the proof will drop...circultation, is product being moved, with air, in a circular motion...Either, traveled through lines, from tank to platform to filler then back, or "in" a tank circulating around through the force of air at the bottom...It's a way to "mix" the product...There are no stir sticks inside, like at the distillery...

The Boot...Is the line from the tank to the platform...(Remember this...it's important)...

The Platform, is the junction point, where a operator connects another line to the filler so the product can be bottled...The distance between the boot, the platform and the filler is very long..."The Boot" in tank #32 is 250 gallons...We put air on the line to rid it of all the product...but not all of it will come out of the lines or stems...

Sometimes, when you need extra amounts, you let it blow for awhile...and you will get a even amount...The good opeators, can manipulate the valves to force a "extra jump" in the vaccum to finish a bottle...I have seen a working foreman damn near squeeze it dry, to get a even case...They do this all the time...They usually know, by how the "blow occurs in the bottle" exactly what they are going to get...They can get more out of the lines if given the time...(blow for a very long time)...They get it on a even bottle...sometimes it takes awhile...There might be a tad left...but like I said before...you cannot get all of it out...So...there is where the "Boot" comes in...You have to guess what is going to be lost in the boot...That boot sometimes will have the former barrel in that line...Can't stick a dry cloth through everthing to rid the lines of every single drop...

The single barrels are bottled "out back" on G-line...Out back everything in done practically by hand...The drum containing the single barrel is put right beside the filler and pumed into the very slow moving machine...the bottles are put into the filler by hand and taken out by hand...and put on a moving conveyor and you know the rest...Even on this equipment there is a little bit left over...you cannot get all of it out...

I hope this helps you understand some of the "Basic's" of how the bottling process works...

So...Is Single Barrel, Single Barrel? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif I am done http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-10-2003, 15:14
Bettye Jo,

Thank you, Frank Brandi and Shannon for sharing all of that information with us. Its always cool to get the "inside" scoop as to how things really happen.


12-10-2003, 16:23
Bettye Jo,

Thanks to you and your buds for the vivid description of the bottling of single barrel bourbon.

My previous picture of the process was based on a totally erroneous vision of laboratory-like precision -- people using graduated beakers, with which they dipped bourbon directly from a barrel-size, temporary holding vat, perhaps.

My concern about a fraction of a bottle being left over from each barrel pales in comparison to the processing losses that you speak of. (I hadn't even thought of the problem of fractional cases, which I suppose is the fundamental unit of commerce in bourbon, not a single bottle.)

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

12-10-2003, 18:08
Thanks for the great information Bettye Jo, that was a fun and interesting read. I will vouch for the single barrel concept in that I have seen the single barrel dumping station. It is definately separate from the regular dumping station. Looks like a lot more work to run that station.

12-10-2003, 18:55
Bettye Jo--I just want to add my thanks for the awesome single-barrel description!

One question though--it seems like an awful lot of work for a very low yield...how can distilleries sell the stuff so cheaply!? Not that I'm complaining! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-10-2003, 19:12
Betty Jo,

I have never visited a distillery in my life and your explanation gave me a good idea of the effort that goes into all of bottling. That was really neat, thanks for that insider view. I too wonder what makes it worth doing I gues it also makes me wonder just how much it costs to make the bourbon that goes into a barrel to age? Any insights into this would be a great addition to the informaiton you have already provided.


12-10-2003, 21:35
Ditto all the above thanks. I really enjoyed reading that and learning about the single-barrel process. I'd seen a several-barrel dump on a regular line, but the single-barrel process sure seem like a lot more work.

12-10-2003, 22:02
Wow. When you consider everything that goes into getting a bottle of bourbon to the shelf, it is amazing that it doesn't cost more than it does.

12-11-2003, 08:44
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif All of ya, are Most Welcome http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...

Some of your responses are what I have said for years...Especially, the Elijah Craig...If you could go there, while we are running that particular run...You'd shake ya head...and say the same thing that several of ya have said in your reply's to me...Cept...When I am there...I say...How in the "Hell" do they make any money?...I think that somewhere I made a post about "starting out" in my early days at Heaven Hill...I told my "Lucy" story...comparing it to the episode with her working in the candy factory and the line is running a bit to fast...

You would not believe how many people it takes to run that line...It's double the amout of man/woman power...A lot is done by hand...That different shape bottle does not like to travel down a straight line...It will turn from left to right and hang up...This requires a extra person just to keep them moving (1 extra person)...The corks?...placed on top, it's put there "by hand" (4 extra people)...Than clear plastic heat shrink?...placed there "by hand" (4 extra people)...Those hang tags...placed there by hand (4 extra people)...The travel to the case packer is a very curvey one...(1 extra person) required there to keep the bottling moving...That is a total of 10 "extra" people to run Elijah Craig...

The line that runs Elijah Craig is called F-line...This is the head count needed to run Elijah Craig....1 suprervisor (for entertaiment purposes only http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif) 1 Mechanic, 1 working foreman, 1 empty glass opertor, 1 Dumper, 1 filler operator, 1 label machine operator, 2 line inspectors, 1 packer operator, 1 paletizer operator and one forklift to take it to the warehouse...and don't forget about add to this 10 "extra"...

That's a lot of people to run a line...Most of the time it runs good...but on occasion, it does not...And...I wonder how in the "Hell" do they make any money...You can buy EC for about 15-18 bucks...Then, I look across (the main bottling house) at the other lines A,B,C,D,E and O lines...They are bottling at the speed of no less than 180-220 bottles per minute...On O-line, it will pack a case so fast...Well snap ya finger...real fast...That's how fast that line will case pack them out the door...That's a incridible amount...

So...The best I can figure...The other lines "carry" Elijah Craig...They have to...Cause, I know by what I see, that there are other things that they could bottle and make a "ton" more money doing it http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-11-2003, 11:10
A simple question or comment about 'carrying' a lower priced product. It seems to me that a distillery that is just starting up is sinking a lot of working capital into a product that is by definition not going to be available for 4 years. Wouldn't they want to take some of their product and sell it at a lesser price to recover and reinvest some of that working capital? Later down the road when the aged product is ready for market, then they might think about dropping the original line.

But wait, haven't you created a niche in the market with your original product? Can you justify taking a selling product off the market? Not everyone can afford premium prices now and maybe you want to build a following... Anyway, every bourbon does have it's use and it's loyal followers, so sometimes you have to make a little profit in the short run to make a bigger profit in the long. At least that's my take.


12-11-2003, 11:31
There are lots of ways to think about this question, and it can get pretty complicated.

You might think of the "main" brand as absorbing all the overhead and capital costs of running the business.

The "premium" brands then would just carry an incremental cost of manufacture and additional inventoring cost (cost of capital, explained in the "Bourbon Economics" thread).

If you think of it this way, the premium brands might seem to carry a lower cost. Which is what Betty Jo is suggesting.

Thinking that way, though, might obscure the real economics a bit, so often companies look at it a bit differently, allocating overhead and capital costs to the other products by relative cost, average cost, or anticipated margin.

Various choices of how to do this have different strengths from an analysis perspective. The goal for decision-making is to understand the value of a particular brand to the business as a whole. This is influenced by other factors such as the market. For example, having a premium brand can support additional sales in the main brand's markets, so there is value there.

On top of that, the lead time for aged products implies risk that markets won't materialize and the anticipated margins wont be realized. Risks carry costs, too.

Like I said, that analysis can get pretty complicated.


12-11-2003, 12:11
I want to clear this right from the get go...Elijah Craig is not the lower brand...It's not...It's a excellent bourbon http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...I choose it as my gift, at Christmas time, for most of my bourbon drinking friends http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...

Let me shoot this one direct http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...I am sorry http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif that I failed in my first attempt to explain myself...

If... Elijah Craig 12 year were bottled in a "standard round" bottle with the "standard square" label with a "plastic cap"...running on E-line at 200+ bottles per minute...they would make a "lot more" money...

They know that...I know that...This is why I always say, "How the HELL they make any money'?...When, I know they could make a "ton" more by just moving it over into the standard bottling process...

But it ain't gonna happen...Elijah Craig is a "Class Act"...Great Bourbon, value priced, and a classy looking package...They "could" make a "lot" more money if they went the other way, but..."They Choose Not To"...

Lucky for the consumer of EC http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...

What I should have said...The price should reflect what it cost to package this product http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-11-2003, 13:08
If you think of it this way, the premium brands might seem to carry a lower cost. Which is what Betty Jo is suggesting.

Betty Jo,

Sorry if I misinterpreted you. Are you suggesting that if less expensive bottling were used, the margin would be higher? Or that the price would be lower and more of the brand would be sold?

In the former case, the less expensive packaging might make it difficult for the product to command a premium price (the purpose of more expensive packaging is intended to enhance the cache of the brand, and bring a higher price.)

In the latter case, you would have to be concerned with the product eroding the market for the lesser priced brands.

When making these decisions, the key is always to overcome the added cost with a higher price and additional market. Overall, the company should be making more profit (price-cost) than it would have otherwise. Sometimes the marketing folk get the equation wrong -- you should point it out to them.

To give the benefit of the doubt, I suspect they are doing it pretty close to the right way.

Sorry for missing your point.


12-11-2003, 13:24
Answering for myself, I think Bettye Jo means if the contents of EC were sold in regular packaging and otherwise produced at a lower price than is now the case the company would make more money from the same inventory sold. That is, the additional cost of the elaborate packaging and hand bottling results in a lower overall margin for the whiskey than if it was made and sold in the regular way, despite the fact EC is sold for more money than the regular brands. Putting it a different way, the price of EC as currently produced and packaged would have to be higher than it now is to equal or better the profits of the same whiskey sold conventionally. In fact, EC is sold for not much more than middle-shelf brands so what Bettye Jo says makes sense to me. And the company does it, I think, out of a sense of tradition, to maintain in the marketplace some products bottled by hand as all whiskey was at one time, and present it in a quality way (the packaging) to highlight its value as a traditional, long-aged bourbon whiskey. That itself offers an intangible value, one hard to calculate but that companies recognise, goodwill, in a word. People admire a company that does some things the old-fashioned way. This may generate additional sales in other areas of the business. Without seeing HH's numbers no one can really say for sure, but this is what I think.


12-11-2003, 13:40
Gillman is right, HH should charge a higher price for EC if they can. The fact that they aren't reflects either a crowded market for premium brands or/and the desire to benefit from the co-marketing, adding cache to the entire line of products.

There is a long line of companies that make super-premium products to enhance the overall product line volume. Long live co-marketing and its benefit for those of us who live at the top!

(So I will shut up and enjoy! Thanks, HH!)

PS, Bettye Jo, sorry for mispelling your name... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

12-11-2003, 17:51
Betty Jo,

Thanks for your insight into Single Barrel and bottling in general. Very interesting. Elijah Craig 12 yr is one of my favorites. (I haven't tried the 18 yr SB yet.) And I have wondered how 12 yr old whiskey that is so good can sell for so little.

But, don't you think that the bottling cost is the smallest part of what a bottle of whiskey costs? The cost of having money tied up for twelve years must dwarf the bottling cost. And the cost of the grain and the mashing and the fermenting and the distillation must dwarf the bottling cost. In fact the distillation alone probably dwarfs the bottling cost. So the economics of whiskey making is very complicated and not for the weak of heart. Just the thought of investing a lot of money now, in something that won't begin to payback for twelve years is enough to scare off almost everyone. It is a good thing that so many good people are dedicated to making bourbon.

Regards, jimbo

12-11-2003, 17:59
don't you think that the bottling cost is the smallest part of what a bottle of whiskey costs?

I would guess that, on an individual bottle basis, it is one of the greater costs of producing the bourbon. Your right that there is a lot of money tied up in aging a bourbon for 12 years, but that cost gets spread out over however many thousands of bottles get produced. I figure packaging and labor take up the lion's share of the cost. JMHO.

12-11-2003, 18:48
I always assumed the biggest costs in making bourbon were the barrel itself (expensive oak) and the costs involved with storing them so long (cost of 4-23 years of warehouse space).

I never realized bottling was such a huge endeavor.

12-11-2003, 18:59
EC12, like some others, is to be commended for not pushing the profit limit, but rather doing the class touches of a unique bottle...I especially like the EC wide mouth...and the easy and attractive cork....however the biggest expense in a bottle of whiskey sitting on the shelf at our local liquor store is TAXES....for a typical bottle of whiskey, more than 50% of the price is in local, state and Federal TAXES.

12-11-2003, 20:20
OMG Bettye Jo, I wasn't saying EC was a lower brand. I was just adding a thought on how a NEW distillary might want to recoup some investment by offering a NEW lower aged brand. Can I ever say anything right on this forum? These NIKEs are really starting to grow on my palate though...
I wonder which bottling would go best with them?


12-11-2003, 21:37
I would guess that, on an individual bottle basis, it is one of the greater costs of producing the bourbon. Your right that there is a lot of money tied up in aging a bourbon for 12 years, but that cost gets spread out over however many thousands of bottles get produced. I figure packaging and labor take up the lion's share of the cost. JMHO.

Well, let us calculate a number. Betty Jo says a line produces 180-220 bottles per minute. Use 200 bottles per minute for our calculation. That is 96,000 bottles in an eight hour shift. And she says it could take as many as 22 people to run the bottling line. At $25 per hour that cost is $4,400 for an eight hour shift. Divide $4,400 by 96,000 and you get 4.58 cents per bottle. Add in the cost of the bottle and machine amortization and I will bet you have less than 10 cents a bottle in bottling costs.

Regards, jimbo

12-11-2003, 22:13
I doubt that the bottles come that cheaply. I would figure probably $3 to $4 dollars per bottle is tied up in the bottle alone. And I doubt they are producing that 8 hour a day every day. Also figure the costs related to the labor on the distilling side some 12 years earlier.

12-12-2003, 00:53
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif B-i-n-g-o http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Hmmmmm...gotta sing it with a beat http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Thanks, Gary http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gifBettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-12-2003, 01:01
You are fine http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...

Take those Nike's out and put em up in the closet http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-12-2003, 01:05
I bought two new barrels, several years ago, to make display cases for the booth...

The cost was $114.00 each...I could almost bet they cost more now...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-12-2003, 10:00
Hey...I wish that my lines would run a straight 8 and be done...I would have the graviest job of em all...But that only happens once and awhile...

There is a log sheet that is calculated every week and posted for all of us to see what our lines are doing...The reliabilty on all the lines is a little over 56% +...The highest reliabiltiy that I have seen logged is 86% and that was done a couple weeks ago on my line C-line...We were on a straight run of Vodka...No label changes, no tank changes, no line changes, no nothing...Just sit there and watch em go by http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...I wondered when I saw the numbers what it would take to reach 100% I wondered if it was possible?...Ya know...it takes a while just to turn everything on, fill up all the required materials and set the machines in motion, to reach full speed...You can see and hear the bottles comming...but it takes awhile to get from dumper to case sealer...It's not down time...it's "wait" time...but it's still time not producing a actual count...

There are so many factors involved in the price...I could write lists that would go on and on...Glass..someone told me years ago that the glass costs alone, were in the millions...electricity...I can only imagine...Manpower...good grief...there are 300+ employee's...a couple hundred are union...31 are supervisors...There is a row of chief's offices before ya even get to Max's office...There's upstairs offices...they contain marketing folks...Then, on the other side is the sales folks...both of these departments require lots of travel around the United States and sometime abroad...A major unseen chunk in that department...On the far side, there is a section just for Hpnotiq...We all know, there is the Distillery and the Warehouses...You could write a book there...

There are those AWSOME looking big "rig" trucks to pay for and the truckers salaries...Transporting from Louisville to Bardstown, product and grain...

All the lab folks, making sure the product is spec and QC is being being done...They deal with the government people who come in at anytime and go anywhere...Grabbing bottles, testing proof, accuracy in fill point...legal warnings etc...

The government gets a big chunk every week...It's the law...They also impose very stiff penalties if the product is not legal...Did you know, that the "warnings" labels on each and every bottle has a spec size for every size bottle?...Did you know, if a Government Inspector finds "A" bottle in the warhouse that does not have a warning that the distillery if fined $10,000.00 for "every bottle" that they find?...It's some really serious stuff...

Oh Well...I just wanted to point out "just a few of em for ya" http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Last but not least...Some of ya may notice I have a bit more time to post?...I have just completed "another" course (Mechanical Blueprint reading and drafting) at the technical college "that Heaven Hill pays for"...That is another cost factor...The lists is nearly endless

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-12-2003, 12:58
I think barrels may be up to $120 or so now, but if you get 175 bottles or so bottles out of that barrel (depending on proof), that's about 68 cents for each bottle's share of the barrel cost. It's more than the grain cost (about 13 cents) and may be the largest single "raw material" cost.

Bottles, even the fancy ones, are pretty cheap, certainly not $3-$4 dollars in the quantities used by the distilleries. Probably less than 50 cents.

12-12-2003, 16:27
Hey you always give the straight goods, I just said it in a different way. Proves we Canucks really do speak the same language as Americans. I do, anyway, and so by the way does Dave in Canada with whose opinions I rarely disagree.

(Now I see where the expression "straight goods" comes from, clearly it's a metaphor deriving from hallowed whiskey terminology).

You and all the staff at HH care a lot about fine whiskey, it is evident in many ways.


12-22-2003, 09:07
This is a picture of the platform...I hope it's somewhat close to the picture that I tried to describe, in my previous post...

Snake farm comes close to a description of the lines http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...That's what I thought when I first saw it...

Sam Edelen, is the operator...It's a big responsibility job...This is located high up on a "perch"....The couplings on the right, are "the boot lines" leading to the tanks...The couplings on the left, lead to the fillers on the bottling lines...He will connect a "junction line" to connect the two...

The floor is nothing but a big ole drain...reason bein...When you relieve the pressure off that line (you can tell by the color and the thickness when they have product under pressure) a lot of it will drain to the filler...but ya won't get all of it...there will be product left in the "junction line"...It goes down the drain http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-22-2003, 19:20
Haven't they ever heard of putting a bucket under the lines when they seperate them? I'll be happy to supply the bucket... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif


12-22-2003, 19:26
There used to be some strict guidelines in place to prevent that very thing. A lot of it goes down the drain.

12-22-2003, 19:39
Sorry Bobby, just dreaming out loud. Just a shame that anything that good could meet such a fate.

12-22-2003, 20:00
I imagine greater care is taken with the specialty bottlings. Those largest diameter tubes would be more for the high-volume products, isn't that right Bettye Jo?

If not, I'd hate to imagine one of those monster hoses full of EC18 going down the drain!! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

12-22-2003, 20:13
Gotta tell this one...This incident happened to me about 6 weeks ago...

One of those lines that he has his hand on leads to my line (down in the botttling house)...D-line (glass 1.75) Those lines are under a lot of pressure to get the product to it's final destination...

The gasket in the coupling was worn (leaking bourbon heavily) and I needed to replace it...I called for the working foreman to cut the product and relieve the pressure off the line...I went to the shop to get a new gasket...

When I came back I got a 25 foot ladder and climped to the top where the leak was...I asked the working forman (again) did he cut the product and relieve the pressure...He said yes...I took his word for it...BIG MISTAKE...

I untied the wires on the ears of the coupling and took my screwdriver to pull one of the ears back...I felt a small vibration...GOOD GRIEF, I KNEW I WAS IN TROUBLE...I had a split second to hold on for dear life...I grabbed on to the line...(25 feet up and on top of a ladder) and it blew...

That bourbon hit me full force in the sternum...Powerful force...It was all I could do to hold on...Could not breathe...eyes burning...could not let go...That line was pumping, gallons and gallons and gallons of bourbon, like a fireman holding a hose putting out a big fire...Cept that hose was turned the wrong way and this "firewoman mechanic" was up on a ladder 25 feet up...

I finally got my hand on the ladder and was able to get down...Blinded...GASPING for air...I could not get any air, they turned the fans on me, to let me have air...I could not see for awhile...They washed my eyes with water...Burning and Burning, everything burning, my throat, my nose ...It went staight up my nose, into my sinus cavity...My skin was burning...Just awful...

Shut down two lines for about 45 minutes...I was drenched...My supervisor was drenched and the working foreman was drenched...

That was pretty scarry...If that line would have been "flex" instead of stainless, it would have smashed my face in...I am lucky that it was a secured stainless line...

I called Pat, he came to pick me up...After it was over. I could laugh about it...Like all the "cat calls" for a wet tee shirt contest...All the way home he kept cracking jokes like ... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Ohhhhhhh Babyyyyyyy http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif you sure smell good...and Bettye Jo...you really get into your job...You smell so good I can drink you up...

I asked the working foreman what happened?...He told me that they cut the product off the wrong line and he did run bottles to relieve pressure but the product was still in force in the lines...

Valuable lesson...I put my "life" in someone else's hands...That will never happen again...I got lax for a bit...I have to keep in mind, that this is very dangerous equipment that I work on....The next time...I will cut product "myself" and relieve the pressure off the lines "myself"...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-22-2003, 20:21
You are right...The single barrel bottlings are run "out back" on a smaller scale of "everything"...and slower...

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

12-22-2003, 20:45
Nothing to say here but WOW. And glad you're still here with us Bettye Jo. Liquids under pressure are definitely dangerous. In my old days in the farm equipement industry I knew a farmer that lost half his arm when a hydraulic line ruptured on his round baler. When you work around the stuff all the time, you tend to be a bit more relaxed until something like that happens. Unfortunately, after time most people relax again until 'the next time'. Let's all hope there isn't one of those.


12-22-2003, 21:01
Thankfully you held on and are still with us, my friend. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Without a doubt, that is the most amazing story posted on the forum. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif
Including the jokes you got from Pat on the way back home, of course! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

12-23-2003, 01:03
Betty Jo ,
That spray you got ,, just reading about it here was enough to scare me , http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif, http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif, Glad to hear you are Ok I would be very disappointed to hear that anything had happen to you. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif....
I enjoy the insight and knowledge you share here ... Hope you have a great holiday and the coming new year..
Bill g.
Take care and be safe

12-23-2003, 06:29
That is an amazing story, Bettye Jo. I am glad you made it through, okay.

After that, I am also amazed if you can still try a nice taste of bourbon from time to time!


12-26-2003, 13:29
Valuable lesson...I put my "life" in someone else's hands...That will never happen again...I got lax for a bit...I have to keep in mind, that this is very dangerous equipment that I work on....The next time...I will cut product "myself" and relieve the pressure off the lines "myself"...

Thank goodness you are OK Betty Jo. Lines under pressure are very dangerous. I worked in an oil refinery for many years. Lines under pressure that were supposed to be "clear" were often the cause of accidents.

Betty Jo, someone great once said "trust but verify". That is the best way to protect yourself. You don't want to insult your fellow workers by doing everything yourself, but find a subtle way to verify.

Regards, jimbo