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cowdery
02-22-2007, 18:43
Heaven Hill has just announced that it is expanding the capacity of its Bernheim Distillery to increase output by 40 percent. This is extremely exciting, especially coming so soon after the announcement of Jim Beam's expansion. We know Jack Daniel's is expanding too, so that's #1, #2 and #3 in American whiskey, all making substantial investments in new production capacity. This is a historic moment, the first time this has happened in half a century.

Heaven Hill is adding a new grain handling system, a new mash cooker, new fermenters and 15 new people, a 44% increase in full-time staff at the Louisville facility.

Meanwhile, yesterday I saw for the first time at a major retailer here in Chicago, two genuine American micro-distillery whiskeys, Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky and Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, joining the two Old Potrero whiskeys and the two Forty Creek expressions as the only true micro-distillery whiskeys in wide distribution.

These events, occurring simultaneously, make these early months of 2007 a historic moment for us as American whiskey enthusiasts.

I think Dave Backus, retired George Dickel master distiller, said it best when asked when the then-silent Dickel plant would reopen, "when you drink it all, we'll make more."

Apparently, we drank it all.

TNbourbon
02-22-2007, 18:59
...Apparently, we drank it all.

Just incidentally, I suspect;) , I got seriously into American whiskey about the time Dickel began redistilling in 2003.:grin:

I've not seen the Wasmund's or Stranahan's around here yet -- and, I think, I'd be sorely tempted by the Wasmund's, with its wood-chip aging/flavoring. I hope the 'branching out' continues.
Do you suppose, Chuck, that this will mean Heaven Hill discontinues its current use of Brown-Forman's Early Times Distillery? If so, what would that mean to B-F?

cowdery
02-22-2007, 19:41
I think it does mean that Heaven Hill will stop using Brown-Forman's distillery, and I think both parties will be glad. I'm sure Brown-Forman has been well compensated, but they were doing it, as did Jim Beam, to provide temporary assistance to a colleague in need, not because they want to be in the contract distilling business.

I know the B-F distillery in Shively has capacity to spare, but I don't know how much. It may well be that when Beam and Heaven Hill finish their expansions, they will all be in about the same place, i.e., with enough capacity for current needs and some room to grow.

As for Wasmund's and Stranahan's, I'm interested but at close to $40 a bottle for a young, experimental product, I'm not in a big hurry to try them.

ThomasH
02-22-2007, 22:58
I have a bottle of whiskey from the same distillery that makes Wasmunds. It is called Copper Fox. It may in fact be the same whiskey. I read somewhere that this distillery was involved in some sort of legal dispute over the Copper Fox brand. It stated the next batch of whiskey to hit the market would be under the Wasmunds label. I think Copper Fox was primarily available in Virginia and also for a time through Internet Wine and Spirits. I got mine last October in Va. when my parents passed through on the way to Myrtle Beach. When I located a store that had some, it seemed that the stock was running low and wouldn't be replentished. The bottle I have was 17.90 plus tax!

Thomas

EphSooner
02-23-2007, 09:15
Actually, the Copper Fox whiskey is made by Belmont Farm distillery, http://www.virginiamoonshine.com/. Apparently Wasmund originally worked with them, but things went bad and they're still suing each other over the Copper Fox name: Wasmund's product, confusingly enough, is made at Copper Fox distillery, http://www.copperfox.biz/.

Both distilleries are in Virginia, but neither one is related to the other, and neither is related or to Virginia Gentleman, maker of VG 90, "the Fox."

Further adding to the confusion, both Copper Fox and Wasmund's use a sort of "tea-bag" approach to aging, by suspending fruit wood chips in the whiskey for a relatively short time, as opposed to aging for years in charred oak barrels. That may well be part of their ongoing litigation.

I live in VA and am a fan of VG90, but I've not tried CF or Wasmund's, both of which are available at our state ABC stores. I might get a Copper Fox one of these days, since it is relatively cheap--about $18 vs. $37 for Wasmund's Single Malt.

CrispyCritter
02-23-2007, 20:35
As for Wasmund's and Stranahan's, I'm interested but at close to $40 a bottle for a young, experimental product, I'm not in a big hurry to try them.

And that's the crux of the problem. I'm just as hesitant to try them - but unless somebody does, the microdistillers will vanish with hardly a footnote.

TNbourbon
02-23-2007, 21:01
Back on topic, re Heaven Hill: I hope this means that Parker and Craig Beam are happy enough with the changes they've made at Bernheim that they figure they can now produce anything and everything they want to fill HH brands/bottles with at this one site. Because I think Parker and Craig are solid whiskey-men, that's an exciting prospect.:bowdown:

cowdery
02-24-2007, 11:13
They were using Brown-Forman strictly for capacity reasons and because that distillery is similar in some key ways to Bernheim, not because they didn't think they could make certain products adequately at Bernheim.

Both Parker and Craig still complain about Bernheim, but that's mostly because they don't like driving to Louisville.

nor02lei
02-24-2007, 13:59
They were using Brown-Forman strictly for capacity reasons and because that distillery is similar in some key ways to Bernheim, not because they didn't think they could make certain products adequately at Bernheim.


Even thou I guess you are right Chuck that is certainly not what Chris Morris told me when I did visit the Brown Forman distillery in September.

Leif

cowdery
02-25-2007, 03:20
Even thou I guess you are right Chuck that is certainly not what Chris Morris told me when I did visit the Brown Forman distillery in September.

Leif

Do tell? Chris won't mind.

nor02lei
02-25-2007, 03:47
Do tell? Chris won't mind.

Chuck,

He told me HH had technical problems with the Bernheim distillery and that Brown Forman made the “difficult” brands for them. He also told me that rye is more difficult to make than bourbon because the rye mash has a tendency to be lumpy.

Leif

TNbourbon
02-25-2007, 09:30
Chuck,

He told me HH had technical problems with the Bernheim distillery and that Brown Forman made the “difficult” brands for them. He also told me that rye is more difficult to make than bourbon because the rye mash has a tendency to be lumpy.

Leif

But aren't all HH's rye-recipe bourbons from the same mashbill/distillate? If so, the only thing that could be more 'difficult' would be wheat or straight rye, neither of which Brown-Forman distills for itself, right? (Of course, we know the Rittehouse BIB was done at B-F's Early Times, at least for awhile, because it's now on shelves.)

nor02lei
02-25-2007, 13:19
But aren't all HH's rye-recipe bourbons from the same mashbill/distillate? If so, the only thing that could be more 'difficult' would be wheat or straight rye, neither of which Brown-Forman distills for itself, right? (Of course, we know the Rittehouse BIB was done at B-F's Early Times, at least for awhile, because it's now on shelves.)

Tim,

Chris said BF hade made whiskey for HH the hole period since the fire. When I did visit the HH distillery in Louisville they were making both rye recipe and wheat recipe bourbon however not rye or straight wheat.

Leif

panzer
02-26-2007, 13:58
Going back to the comments about Stranahan's, I'd seen some info on this brand a few months back. At the time, it was only available in the Denver area and was quite popular and hard to get , even at that price point. It's been hard to find tasting info, but in the little I've read it is billed as a single malt, and they use a unique still made for them in Kentucky. I've seen it presented as a new "Colorado style" whiskey, whatever that means. Not really bourbon but not really Canadian. A co-worker with relatives in Denver is picking up a bottle for me next month, hopefully it'll be worth the time. Here's a link with some good info if anybody is interested: http://lyke2drink.blogspot.com/2006/10/stranahans-colorado-whiskey.html

boone
03-01-2007, 12:41
Most of you that talk to me on a "regular" basis, know that we've been very busy :grin: :grin: Usually, I try to post some of the things that we've been working on. Well, it's been so busy that we've have not seen a "regular" 8 hour work day in over a year. Then, it was only for two days.

Some of this stuff interest folks...Sooooooooo...here's what goes on from my side of things :grin:

I enjoy being a part of this stuff :grin: :grin: Max has a definite plan. Not long ago he spent two "entire" days (and nights) meeting with every single one of us :grin: :grin: :grin: He spent quite awhile telling us his plans for the future, how things work, what to expect, what is expected from us...and his mission statement...He let us know that long term plans are "in place" and that it's "his" decision on each and every one of them. He let us know that the next generation is in place and guiding the way for us. He spoke about his mission statment...He chose each word carefully and explained in great detail...He gave us all little folded business size cards and let us know that we could give them to folks as "your business card" :grin: :grin: whenever folks ask about Heaven Hill.

Mission Statement...

Heaven Hill Distilleries is a independent family-owned company dedicated to providing relevant and innovative beverage alcohol products of superior quality to responsibly enhance consumer's enjoyment of life.

He spoke with great confidence that left me "quite impressed". When I left that meeting I felt "great comfort"....I had that same exact feeling once before. The day after the fire, he called a special meeting for all of Heaven Hill employee's...He explained the situation, laid it on the line, but let us know that he will remedy this and that we will move forward :grin: :grin: His last words to us that day?....We have "order's to fill" and "customer's to service"...Now get back to work! :grin: I left my worries on his shoulder's that day and he took care of us :grin: :grin: :grin:

Back to the point :grin: ...

Max has already set in place (several years ago) for this expansion. He's prepared the bottling house (in advance) to handle more...lots more...I've been part of this long term plan for quite awhile. They have paid me to attend technical college to further my training in my job. Three years :bigeyes: :bigeyes: and now I'm nearing completion of OJT (8,000 hours) to attain the final stages to get State certification...One link in place to handle his "plan" :grin: :grin: :grin:

Robotics are becoming quite handy :grin: :grin: ---now that's a understatement---We installed one not long ago...Many (other) distilleries heard about it and made many visits to watch this marvel in action...

We installed our second robot in December, one that can handle "two lines at a time"....I took pictures of that installation and a few "other" upgrades :grin: :grin: :grin:

Picture #1...romoval of two of the old de-palletizer's...in front of the green fork truck...to the right is the first robot that we installed last Christmas shut down.

Picture #2...first belt on, these belts will lift the cases up to the "tunnel"---down to the line.

Picture #3...The robot (much smaller than the first one and handles twice the load....still in packing...

Picture #4...The first robot...just to give reference as to where the new robot is located and what the "new belting" looks like. Definitely a different way to make cases travel...kinda sandwiches them and moves them upward...

Picture #5...Panel box

Picture #6....starting to pull it all together :grin: :grin:

Picture #7...Completion :grin:

Picture #8...installation of a new "wine" capper---Metal screw caps---

Picture #9...in place and ready for details

Picture #10...new case lift...third one :grin: :grin:

Well...I'm done :lol: :lol: :lol: Just a little inside view...from my point of view....preparing for this expansion...

Bettye Jo

OscarV
03-01-2007, 14:27
Some of this stuff interest folks...Sooooooooo...here's what goes on from my side of things :grin:


Bettye Jo

Yeah Bettye Jo, keep this stuff coming, I'm sure most here will agree that it is interesting.

jburlowski
03-01-2007, 15:51
Bettye Jo,
As always, great stuff!

number7
03-08-2007, 08:37
Regarding Stranahan's, I have just returned from Denver and got myself a bottle. I'd seen ads for it previously and relish the idea of finding something new and not yet widespread. Cost me $50.

I'm not the Genius of Whisk(e)y or anything, but I like to think I have a decent appreciation for the stuff.

It's a young whiskey, two years old. I didn't see what batch it was. It has beautiful packaging and a nice label that's handwritten with the bottling date , proof, and batch information (saw the info, just don't remember it). As I remember, the proof was 90.4.

Had some last night. It's typical of very young whiskies: Hot, brash, intense. Maybe even harsh. Felt like a cask strength Scotch, which makes sense, since it uses malted barley. What I got taste wise was the typical malt flavor that I expect with Scotch, but with a pepperiness I don't normally get with any Scotches. I can't remember what I smelled when I stuck my nose in; I can try again tonight for a more specific listing.

It's not exactly my cup of tea, but I think it'll mix well, and I believe in trying to support the small distillers because then more will pop up and something will pop up that I really love.

(By the way, I was also able to get the Van Winkle "Lot B" Bourbon that I can't seem to find around here in St. Louis. It seems we're more of a Scotch town than Bourbon or rye. Too bad....)

I'll start a new thread to see what others think....

boone
03-30-2007, 09:07
:grin: :grin: Max has a definite plan. Not long ago he spent two "entire" days (and nights) meeting with every single one of us :grin: :grin: :grin: He spent quite awhile telling us his plans for the future, how things work, what to expect, what is expected from us...and his mission statement...He let us know that long term plans are "in place" and that it's "his" decision on each and every one of them. He let us know that the next generation is in place and guiding the way for us. He spoke about his mission statment...He chose each word carefully and explained in great detail...He gave us all little folded business size cards and let us know that we could give them to folks as "your business card" :grin: :grin: whenever folks ask about Heaven Hill.

Bettye Jo

Last night there was a "special" note on the board from Max :grin: :grin:

This note was the "official" announcement about new leadership for Heaven Hill. His son, Andy, will join Heaven Hill (mid summer) :grin: :grin: He told a little bit of his background, Married, with soon to be 3 year old twin girls, and has worked at the Bank of America in New York City. His first duties at Heaven Hill will be in "sales and marketing" :grin: :grin:

Good and welcome new for all of us :grin: knowing that they will follow in their dad's foot steps :grin: :grin:

Bettye Jo

P.S. Now, let me see...maybe this should be in the "History" forum :skep:

cowdery
03-30-2007, 16:06
That's very interesting, as Andy has kept his distance until now. However, the path he has taken, in terms of gaining experience in finance at a pretty high level, is the same thing his father did, so this may have been the plan all along.

What I thought you were going to mention is that it was announced yesterday that Heaven Hill is going to add a new high speed bottling line in Bardstown, increasing bottling capacity by about a million cases per year, probably good news for all of us and certainly for the person who has to keep those lines running. :) :)

boone
03-31-2007, 09:06
I've mentioned a time or two that we are expanding :grin: :grin: :grin: (it's not been a secret :grin: )... I've been working very hard "optimizing", "organizing" and standardizing the lines we have (now) to improve performance and speed up the "change over". The first test was on "my line" (D-line, glass 1.75) to see if the idea works...It did :grin: :grin:

Feels good when a plan comes together like that :grin: ....

We have to "expand" there's no other option. We've been on overtime for a very long, long, long time...I clock in around 4 p.m. everyday...I clock out at 2:30 a.m. (on the average) Monday thru Friday and sometimes Saturday. I will admit, a time or two, we've met "first shift early birds" when they walk in the door...I like the pay but this gets old after the first year or so...

This new line was set in motion last fall...All of sales and marketing have been moved to Louisville (since October) to make room for this bottlinghouse expansion...

The coolest part?---> A(nother---3rd) robot will "de-palletize" and "palletize" this line...Absoluletly amazing :grin: :grin: :grin: I'll take pictures of this new marvel as it is created and post them here for all the one's who like to see that kinda stuff :grin: :grin:

Bettye Jo

boone
04-01-2007, 08:40
Here's the "official" announcement :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

This was published (today April 1, 2007) in the Kentucky Standard, my homeplace newspaper.
----------------------------------------



Heaven Hill plans major expansion in Bardstown



Saturday, March 31, 2007 12:31 PM EDT
STAFF REPORT


Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. has announced a multi-million dollar expansion at its production facility in Bardstown.


The company plans to add to existing bottling capacity by adding another high-speed bottling line.


When the expansion to the bottling house is complete in the second quarter of 2008, Heaven Hill will be able to bottle over one million additional cases per year at its Bardstown production headquarters, the company said. The expansion is expected to generate 18 new jobs at the Bardstown plant within two years of completion at an average hourly wage of $16.


This announcement comes just five weeks after Heaven Hill announced plans to expand its Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, suggesting growth from the company will positively impact both Nelson and Jefferson Counties.
Heaven Hill, the nation’s largest independent family-owned distilled spirits producer and marketer, received approval Thursday from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for economic incentives for the planned expansion.


With Heaven Hill brands such as Evan Williams, the nation’s second best selling Bourbon, and PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur enjoying robust growth, the company saw a need to add to its existing bottling capacity.


The planned addition of another high speed bottling line, will handle 200ml, 375ml and 750ml P.E.T. (plastic) bottles exclusively. The new state-of-the art bottling line will also allow seamless in-line filling, capping, labeling and case packing.


“We are again pleased to be announcing a major capital expansion, necessitated by the growth of both our traditional core brands like Christian Brothers Brandy and Burnett’s Vodka as well as the development of cutting-edge, stylish new brands like PAMA Liqueur and HPNOTIQ,” said Max L. Shapira, Heaven Hill president.


“It is particularly gratifying that we are able to give back to the communities and bolster the economic infrastructure of both Louisville and our traditional headquarters in Bardstown, underscoring Heaven Hill’s growing presence in the state we have called home for over 70 years,” Shapira said.


Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton echoed Shapira’s sentiments, noting that “Heaven Hill is one of the largest employers in our community, and this latest expansion announcement is good news for both Bardstown and for one of the area’s most important industries.”


Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts also expressed support for the addition, noting that Heaven Hill has also added a new Bourbon barrel filling facility and opened its Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown in the past three years. Founded in 1934, Heaven Hill is the nation's largest independent, family-owned marketer and producer of distilled spirits products. Aging in its facilities is the second largest holding of Kentucky whiskey in the world.


---------------------------------------


Bettye Jo

Gillman
04-01-2007, 08:42
Interesting! What brands are bottled now (bourbon or other) in 750 ml. P.E.T?

Gary

boone
04-01-2007, 09:18
Interesting! What brands are bottled now (bourbon or other) in 750 ml. P.E.T?

Gary

The most popular is our "carry pack" Evan Williams in a 750 pet...Chrisitan Brother's Brandy, Burnette's Vodka and Gin, Heaven Hill vodka, VSQ, to name a few.

O-line produces most every label in the 1.75 (pet) from time to time. The list is extensive, that line can produce over 12,000 cases in "one shift". This new line will smoke those numbers :grin:


Bettye Jo

Gillman
04-01-2007, 20:36
Thanks Bettye Jo, I think PET slowly is catching on, e.g., Mountain Rock, the new whiskey from Kittling Ridge, was released only in PET. Personally I don't mind it at all and it makes the bottles much easier to ship. I wonder though whether long-term storage is possible with bottles like this. Years ago beer was sold in them but it didn't work because (at the time anyway) the polystyrene was slightly porous and the gas got out. I wonder if this means oxygen can get in. Not an issue with whiskey shipped for ready sale or even stored a year or so, but stored ten years? I wonder if dusties of the future will exist if the industry goes all PET...

Gary

boone
04-01-2007, 20:50
We've been running plastic in the 1.75 for as long as I've been there...and that's 15 years counting seasonal. I've been told that the 200 glass bottle will soon be a rare item (not extinct)...first option will be plastic.

Bettye Jo

cowdery
04-02-2007, 16:31
PET came into use rather late in the game for plastic packaging--in the early 1980s if I remember correctly. Previous efforts to use other types of plastic commonly used for plastic bottles were unsuccessful due to exactly the sorts of problems Gary anticipates, that the high alcohol content will begin to dissolve the plastic, both leaching plastic into the beverage and weakening the container. PET was extensively tested and adopted because it does not have those problems. Consumers, however, generally prefer glass so PET has been popular only for "travelers," for 1.75 L bottles of cheaper products, and for the occasional other size also for cheaper products.

I don't think we're likely to see its use expand much beyond that although the switch with 200 ml doesn't surprise me, as those are essentially "travelers" too.

One problem with PET is that it doesn't lend itself to custom shapes. That's why so many 50 ml bottles are still glass, even though the airlines would prefer the lighter weight of PET.

The only real advantage to PET is weight. For the consumer, that's why the "travelers" exist and why PET 1.75s are more acceptable than PET in smaller sizes. For producers, weight also equals cost, particularly with regard to shipping.

The fact that the PET bottles are lighter and, at least in some ways, more durable than glass is why a dedicated PET line is desirable, even if it's not absolutely essential.

jburlowski
04-02-2007, 16:37
What about recyclability?

And what about the relative energy cost to produce / recycle?

barturtle
04-02-2007, 20:52
PET is one of the most recycled plastics in the US. It costs less to produce than glass (and is as mentioned lighter and cheaper to ship-reducing fuel costs and related emissions).

PET is a type of polyester, polyesters are made from a reaction between ethyl alcohol and acetic acid(the one in vinegar)

nor02lei
04-04-2007, 13:09
Personally I can’t find anything but advantages with pet bottles. One of the biggest beside weight is that it doesn’t break as easy as glass.

Leif