Jesus FROGS! How many labels does Heaven Hill own, I really don't know. It would probalby take a few days to count them all! I asked the supervisor back there on day and she looked at me and said I really don't know. We have never counted them. Really, you have been there but that was probably quite some time ago. We have added a lot since then.
I was label machine operator for 7 years. The hardest part was learning all the labels. You run a particular label on one line and when you are on another line the label changes. You have to pay attention, very very close attention because one word could sink you. For instance; Plain Aristocrat, Aristocrat Royal, Aristocrat Supreme, Aristocrat Light, Aristocrat Gold, Aristocrat Tripple sec, Aristocrat Peach Schnapps.
Aristocrat Vodka will come in 80 proof 90 proof 100 proof. It will be in different products such as Aristocrat Bourbon with different proofs, Aristocrat Tequila, Aristocrat Rum, Aristocrat Gin, along with one for each size 200, 375, 750, 1.75. I know we have hundreds upon hundreds or maybe even thousands of labels. Figure each different name label in that particular sequence (as above) with different products proofs, sizes etc. and the amout of labels is staggering.
Ya have to know a little spanish too. Blanco meaning light goods Oro meaning dark. Know your states, NY gets a different bar code on Peppermint schnapps. Why? I don't know.
Maryland will get 70 proof or lower 60 proof ROPA. I asked why. In the state of Maryland grocery stores can sell it at that low proof "without" a liquor liscense.
We bottle for other people, Mohawk for instance. When we run their product and I have old labels the Julian date has to be on every bottle if the jet printer is not working the line stops until it is printing. This tells that the label says (Michigan?) bottler but it is actually Heaven Hill. On all other labels that we have bought there is a notch taken out on either the front or the back. With Christian Brothers Brandy the notch is on the back.
The warning on every bottle has to be there. Federal law requires that the warning has to be at least the size they require for each size bottle. You can make it bigger but you cannot make it smaller. We run a lot of export and there is no government warning on thier labels. Somtimes they get mixed by someone dropping several packs and not knowing what they are mixing together. It is a absolute mess.
Know your DSP#'s and your codes. DSP #1 the new distillery. #31 Heaven Hill (on BOND THESE HAVE TO MATCH THE PAPERS) sometimes known as Old Joe, Boone Distillery (good name), Stonegate, Old Evan Williams, Old Bardstown, JTS Brown etc.
We are also known as BWC #21, BWC means Bottling Wine Company. When we change the line over to run wine at the case sealer we have to post on a big sign BWC # 21. When we change it back to bourbon or whatever we post DSP # 31.
A lot of people think that the majority of what we do is bourbon. This is not true. When the distillery burned down I could not believe what I was watching. I live about 15 miles from Heaven Hill at almost 6 miles away I could see the FLAMES not smoke but very tall flames. When I finally got to Heaven Hill 3 warehouses had burned (7 warehouses burned along with the distillery). I have seen the pictures of the fire in newspapers and magazines but, until you actually see flames 22 stories tall with the explosions it's truely the most awsome, awful, "thing" that I have ever seen. It made hair stand up on my arms and instant tears come to my eyes.
We went to work the very next day. At 4:00 Max shut the plant down and asked everyone to come to the lunch room. He stood in front with his family beside him along with the marketing people. My heart was beating so fast I was scared to death that he was going to say it was over. He told us everything is being worked out we will make it. He said that we all know that bourbon is not the only thing we do. We have plenty of bourbon left. Other distilleries were going to help us out. His last words were, "We have orders to fill and customers to service". He asked us all to repeat what he said WE HAVE ORDERS TO FILL AND CUSTOMERS TO SERVICE. Then he said one more time, WE HAVE ORDERS TO FILL AND CUSTOMERS TO SERVICE. Then he said lets get back to work and we have not missed a beat since. That was November 7, 1996.
We do massive amouts of Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Bourbon, Gin, Brandy, Moonshine, Corn Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Canadian Whiskey, Wine and LOTS OF STICKY STUFF like Copa De Oro, Schnapps, (DuBouchett)--there is not one DuBouchett that I do not like-the peppermint is the most perperminty pepermint that I have ever tasted-My favorite is Sour Apple-I always taste when it is running.
Next time I see Max I will ask him how many labels we have. I will also try to borrow a digital camera and take pictures of the label warehouse. I should hire John and Linda to do the write up because they really are good discriptive writers.
I am a mechanic now. I don't have to worry about labels any more just machinery. I do like my new job they have trained me well. I still have a lot more to learn but that will come with time.
It's time for me to stop cause I am jumping from subject to subject.