Last edited by Shell; 10-29-2012 at 19:07.
They had computerized controls on the fermenters and perhaps the cookers but not the still. Eddie showed me where the guy's chair was and the valve he operated. He went mostly on vibration (feel) and sound. So, yes, they had a full-time still operator who ran the still manually.
Got a bottle of this last week. Somewhat different due to the charcoal filtering!
I haven't been through WT yet but as I understand it, the plant is fully modern, no more or less modern than most others. Mostly what is automated are process controls. The main thing at WT that didn't have them before was the beer still itself. At this point, I know of only one major distillery that doesn't have computerized process controls on most of the equipment. Buffalo Trace even has theirs web enabled so Harlen can monitor everything when he's traveling. If you're looking for a major distillery without them, that ship has just about sailed. The sole exception: George Dickel. They have no computers in the distillery, according to Master Distiller John Lunn. He told me "everything is sight and sound, touch and feel, the old-fashioned way."
[Liberty Valance lays shot in the street]
(Dr) "Quick whiskey!"
[ Dr drinks from whiskey bottle, kicks over Liberty Valance]
(Dr) "He's Dead"