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  1. #1
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    So you want to become a master distiller

    I Googled this subject with very little response.

    If someone wanted to become a master distiller, what would be the process? Would somebody have to go to culinary school for example or is it something where one has to be born into the family?

  2. #2
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Considering that there are only 9 bourbon/TN distilleries,...
    Brown-Forman, Louisville & Versailles, also that one in Lynchburg TN
    Jim Beam, Clearmont
    Buffalo Trace, Frankfort
    Four Roses, Lawrenceburg
    Wild Turkey, Lawrenceburg
    Maker's Mark, Loretto
    Tom Moore, Bardstown
    Heaven Hill, Louisville
    That's 10 but Chris Morris does B-F in L'ville & Ver.
    I'd suggest going to college for a chemist degree, and getting a job at a distillery for whatever is available and befriending and networking, and still you'll probably lose out to a current family member.
    But I could be wrong.
    ovh

  3. #3
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV View Post
    Considering that there are only 9 bourbon/TN distilleries,...
    Brown-Forman, Louisville & Versailles, also that one in Lynchburg TN
    Jim Beam, Clearmont
    Buffalo Trace, Frankfort
    Four Roses, Lawrenceburg
    Wild Turkey, Lawrenceburg
    Maker's Mark, Loretto
    Tom Moore, Bardstown
    Heaven Hill, Louisville
    That's 10 but Chris Morris does B-F in L'ville & Ver.
    I'd suggest going to college for a chemist degree, and getting a job at a distillery for whatever is available and befriending and networking, and still you'll probably lose out to a current family member.
    But I could be wrong.
    You forgot about JB Boston, KY. So it's back to ten, but seriously, if you want to be a master distiller, I would suggest you open your own or buy somebody else's.
    bibamus, moriendum est
    Sipology Blog

  4. #4
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    A Chemistry, Biology or Chemical Engineering degree is a big help ... preferrable two of these ... then, get hired in to any production job available ... make your desires known and ask for training whenever possible ... work hard and play well with others ... and maybe... just maybe you can get the gig after about 15 or so years of apprenticeship ...

    However, the best answer is to either be born into the right family or start your own distillery ... a name like Beam, Samuels, or Russell would be nice, too ...
    Dave

    "Remember, the BEST bourbon is FREE bourbon ..."

  5. #5
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourbon Geek View Post
    A Chemistry, Biology or Chemical Engineering degree is a big help ...
    As a chemist, I could easily buy into this idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I swear that some of these new micro-distillers, the first thing they do is get business cards printed calling themselves master distillers. So, after the business cards, you need a still. That's about it, the way a lot of those guys do it...
    Now your talking. For quality control, production, and safety management, a chemist or chemical engineer would be a good fit. However what matters most to us is taste. Thus the ability to determine which barrels when combined will deliver the taste desired by customers, and how to develop that taste given the product in the warehouses requires no BFOQ.

    Being a "master distiller" is one thing, being a successful one is a different matter.

    Will

  6. #6
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Quote Originally Posted by Special Reserve View Post
    As a chemist, I could easily buy into this idea.



    Now your talking. For quality control, production, and safety management, a chemist or chemical engineer would be a good fit. However what matters most to us is taste. Thus the ability to determine which barrels when combined will deliver the taste desired by customers, and how to develop that taste given the product in the warehouses requires no BFOQ.

    Being a "master distiller" is one thing, being a successful one is a different matter.

    Will
    When you mention taste, does a distillery pre-plan what taste they want a product line to have then engineer the mashbill to suit?

  7. #7
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Quote Originally Posted by JMac72 View Post
    When you mention taste, does a distillery pre-plan what taste they want a product line to have then engineer the mashbill to suit?
    Generally speaking ... yes ... and there are TONS of ways to get there.

    However, sometimes the distillery aims at a marketing idea other than taste ... like WR Sonoma Cutrer finish ... I think this was much more of a marketing idea than a taste goal ... to give people the feel that WR is trendy, upscale ... etc.
    Dave

    "Remember, the BEST bourbon is FREE bourbon ..."

  8. #8
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourbon Geek View Post
    Generally speaking ... yes ... and there are TONS of ways to get there.

    However, sometimes the distillery aims at a marketing idea other than taste ... like WR Sonoma Cutrer finish ... I think this was much more of a marketing idea than a taste goal ... to give people the feel that WR is trendy, upscale ... etc.
    I have seen those bottles around but have never tried them. I can't reconcile bourbon with a wine finish. I wonder how that marketing ploy worked for WR....

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Ask Beakerboy!!!

    He's the only guy I know right now on the Fast Track to Master Distiller.

    Two years ago he was training yeast to make plastic for a biotech company.

    Now he's hanging with Harlan in Frankfort.

    Do I sound jealous? That's cause I am!!!
    Colonel Ed
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006

    Comissioned by Paul Patton, 1999

    "It ain't the booze that brings me in here, it's the solace it distills"

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,655

    Re: So you want to become a master distiller

    Yeah, since Harlen's only about 30 years shy of retirement.

 

 

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