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  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: is there a good supply of new oak.

    Bettye Jo, I'm curious about the degree to which people enjoy whiskey who work in a distillery. Would you say it's similar to the general population? E.g. are there some people (I would think there must be) who sell or make whiskey but can't stand it? Those who like it but only with a mix?

    And I suppose there are those who like it too much.

    Just interested in your thoughts/observations.

    Cy

  2. #12
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: is there a good supply of new oak.

    I don't know what BettyeJo's answer here will be , But I think the thing about it that surprizes me is how many teetotalers there are in a distillery. I knew some folks who used to work the railroads and to oversimplify that they said there were only 2 kinds of folks there, the preachers and the drunks.

  3. #13
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: is there a good supply of new oak.

    Cy,

    Hmmmmmmmmm now let me "try" to write this...

    YEP, ya have the folks who have a real problems with it...Very, serious problems...A "operator" accidentally dumped a entire bucket of caps on one of the chief's...He thought he was filling the hopper...They gave this guy, probably 6 or 7 chances to get himself professional help...Sent him to that place that helps ya "DRY" out...He would never stay the entire time...They would suspend him...Then let him come back...When he dumped the bucket...then... got really nasty with them...Ta make a long story short...They did not fire him. He quit...I cannot name another place that would have given a employee that many chances...

    If you are asking what I drink...Beer...When I say "Drink" (not taste, big difference) I'm talking about kickin ya shoes off, feet propped up, in ya PJ'S sort of thing...Hey, this is Kentucky...and in the summer, my feet would be propped up, on the railing of my deck, on a warm summer night...just lookin at the stars...

    I drink bourbon on special ocassions and holidays...I do that for a reason...being...Bourbon is right at my fingertips at least 9 1/2 hours of the day 5 days a week...It's good stuff...A easy trap to fall into...and I ain't gonna do it...Oh, I "taste" (not drink) stuff all the time...but that is by the "cap" full...just enough to see I like it or not...

    I find that on "night shift"...no one drinks it straight...They use mixers...There are more tequila and beer drinkers that anything...Most folks could care less about bourbon...they are just there to make a buck...

    Bettye Jo


  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: is there a good supply of new oak.

    Hi and many thanks for a full and informative answer. I can completely understand of course that a person working in a distillery would only drink the product on special or even no occasions. And that many are just not interested in bourbon as a beverage. One of the things about bourbon that makes it interesting to me is you can get into the history of it and learn a lot without having to taste it (although of course I do and enjoy it). For years I read up on, say, Irish whiskey before having the chance to try it or very many kinds. I liked reading about it and learning about the companies and processes behind it. This can be so even more with bourbon because it is so tied up with U.S. history. I meant my question also in the sense of, given that some distillery people are regular social drinkers like any others, what do they like, and you answered that by saying many prefer other drinks. I think that is either personal taste, or sometimes people just want to drink something not made locally. They will disregard the local product even if it is great and worthy of respect and protection. I recall going to a now-disappeared local brewery near Buffalo, N.Y. in the 80's trying to find its beers which dated in origin from the 1800's. Almost everyone I spoke to said, "why do you want to drink those beers, it's junk"? Actually the beers made (a number of them anyway) were great but even people who liked beer couldn't see it, maybe because it was on their doorstep and not expensive. Anyway finally one older man said to me, "if you find the porter, mix it with the lager 1:2, on draft if you can". He was right, it was great (so was the porter on its own). I think Kentucky has been special in taking pride and recognising the merits of its famous whiskey even if not everyone necessarily drinks it or with any regularity. This did not happen with Maryland rye, or Pennsylvania rye, the product got blurred in people's minds (for various reasons) and there is no rye today made in those States, nor is it prized there (or almost anywhere) as the original American whiskey.

    Cy


  5. #15
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: is there a good supply of new oak.

    I can offer an answer to this, having spent a lot of time around distillery people as well as sales people, marketing people, and other executives in the industry. I have also worked around the tobacco industry and it's similar with their products.

    First, I have never seen or heard of anyone being pressured to drink (or smoke). People's personal choices are respected. The only exception is regarding brands. You can't drink (or smoke) a competitive brand, but if you are working on a bourbon brand but prefer to drink tequila, nobody cares so long as you drink the correct (i.e., "our") tequila.

    Second, it is different to be in an environment where drinking (or smoking) is perfectly acceptable. At many liquor companies, the bar opens at 5:00 PM and there is a bar in every conference room. At the tobacco companies, you definitely get a dose of second-hand smoke in every meeting. As for how people drink, it's just like in the wider society. Some people like their whiskey neat, some on-the-rocks, some with water, a few with mixers. Like I said, no one is ever criticized except for drinking competitive brands, but that's true anywhere. If you work at GM, you don't drive a Ford.

    Third, there is great sensitivity to people who have alcohol problems, and every liquor company has them. People are given every opportunity to get help. The companies are usually very generous about paying for treatment, providing paid leave, giving people their jobs back, etc. At the same time, the companies do not turn a blind eye and won't tolerate an employee whose drinking problem affects his or her work, anymore than any other company would. I have known several people who have had problems and they all say that their employer was more than fair.

    Fourth, the people who actually drink as part of their job, like the master distiller, are a special case. Obviously, it's hard to know with certainty when the drink is recreational as opposed to occupational.

    But with those exceptions, the way people who work in the business drink is not that much different from the way the rest of us drink.

 

 

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