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  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Chicago
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    12,536

    Re: "select grains" and age

    All of the distilleries have grain programs and feel they are getting the best grain available. At the same time, they'll also admit that the basic specs are the same and many distilleries buy from the same sources. I think what's perhaps confusing here is that no one is using a special grain variety or grain grown in some special way. No one is using grain that can, objectively, be called better than the grain anyone else is using. It's pretty much #2 corn, #1 wheat and #1 rye, and everybody, including the brewers, gets their barley malt from the same maltsters.

    Grain is basically a commodity. The most important characteristics are moisture content, integrity (whole, unbroken kernals), and the absence of any defects, such as mold.

    So, with that clarification, "select grains" is mostly hype and when words like that are written in marketing copy, it's usually because the writer is ignorant and figures claiming the best ingredients is always a good claim for any comestible. I always laugh when I see it. It tells me I'm not going to learn anything interesting if I continue to read because the writer doesn't know what he or she is talking about.

    Maybe the simplest way to say it is that while quality grain is important, all of the American whiskey distillers have mastered that challenge, pretty much. It's not a significant point of difference.

    To perhaps go further, "quality" itself is not really a point of difference among American whiskey distillers. I may prefer brand A to brand B, but not because brand B is lower quality. It's just that brand A has achieved a taste I particularly like.

    To the extent that relative quality is even a relevant concept, it's reasonable to say full aging is a quality issue, so is over-aging. In the past, some distilleries have had problems with scorched grain, although you never hear of that today. Otherwise, it's mostly just what you like.
    Last edited by cowdery; 01-14-2008 at 17:33.

  2. #12
    Virtuoso
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    Apr 2005
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    1,394

    Re: "select grains" and age

    I believe there's more to buying the grains than the raw economics and "quality." I've been told that some of the distilleries use long term grain contracts with local farmers (especially corn) as a way of furthering stability in the community.

    When the local farmers are invested in the success of, say, Heaven Hill, because they know that there'll be less risk selling to them every year than in the open market, then the farmers will have a kind word for HH when the anti-liquor people come around.

    It's also in the distilleries interest for the community to be fairly stable, as it seems likely that many families have one spouse working at the distillery while the other works elsewhere: farm, construction, office, etc. Whenever unemployment strikes one spouse, there's the chance the whole family will leave the area to find work.

    Finally, from my short stays in Kentucky, I sense a culture that is entwined with, understands and values the distilleries. Keeping that tradition alive by stabilizing the community helps ensure future generations that understand - who knows what values a transient labor force would bring with them and take with them when they go - but it wouldn't be the multi-generational memory of Kentuckians.

    I'd be interested if this rings true with Bettye Jo.

    Roger

  3. #13

    Re: "select grains" and age

    All, thanks for the detailed answers, and the references to previous posts that I had not come across yet. I'm really looking forward to learning more. I'm going out tomorrow evening for a friend's going-away event, and hopefully I can sample a decent bourbon or rye there.

    Andy

  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Jul 2000
    Location
    Nelson County, Kentucky
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    2,734

    Re: "select grains" and age

    Quote Originally Posted by Rughi View Post

    Finally, from my short stays in Kentucky, I sense a culture that is entwined with, understands and values the distilleries. Keeping that tradition alive by stabilizing the community helps ensure future generations that understand - who knows what values a transient labor force would bring with them and take with them when they go - but it wouldn't be the multi-generational memory of Kentuckians.

    I'd be interested if this rings true with Bettye Jo.

    Roger
    I know that at HH many of the worker's are mulit-generational Their daddy's, daddy worked there or thier grandmother or grandfather and so on and so on...My great grandfather (Joseph L. Beam) helped start Heaven Hill, my grandfather (Harry Milburn Beam ) distilled there too Although, several years ago the "no immediate family rule came into play. No longer will they hire brother and brother, sister and sister and so on...That's not to say that there's no kin still working there. Some still exist, several of the Nalley brother's still work there and many young couples have gotten married also. With this rule, I will have to quit or pass for anyone in my immediate family to work there. Your chances of getting of job at HH is great if you've had a member of your family in good standing work at HH

    Of course, that new rule does not apply to the owner's

    Similar story with farmer's ring true also. The same ones year after year.

    Families taking care of families...

    There's a construction company in Bardstown called Buzick. That company has built most of the warehouses for the major distilleries and built or added on to many of them. Currently, the have added the new additional line at HH. Thier son (Buzick's owner) just graduated from UofL with a degree in engineering...His name is Lincoln (great name ) He now works side by side with us a full time employee. The Louisville Zoo just got a $250,000 donation from Heaven Hill. The Zoo brought many of the animals to Heaven Hill one day so that all our families could see them up close...Really cool...Our company picnic was held at the Zoo this year The United Way is supported heavily by Heaven Hill and it's worker's...The American Cancer Society is another...We take care of our own in times of need. Many fundraisers are held for various projects, Food Bank--Funerals, Victims of fire, accident's, cancer to help families come together again.

    I forget the millions (7?) of dollars that HH pays "WEEKLY" in taxes...I can't remember the exact number right now but it's enough that it will make you ask to repeat that number so's you know you heard it right...

    Yeah, it all goes hand in hand. Heaven Hill takes care of us so we can take care of other's. That's what it's all about We are a tight community
    Last edited by boone; 01-15-2008 at 11:20.
    Colonel Bettye Jo Boone
    Industrial Maintenance
    Technician/Journeyperson
    Heaven Hill Distilleries
    Bardstown, Kentucky

  5. #15
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Taxachusetts
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    314

    Re: "select grains" and age

    Let me get this straight. They won't have brother and brother working there. I could see not hiring brother and sister because in Kentucky you're also getting husband and wife. That could pose I problem I guess.

    Chris

  6. #16

    Re: "select grains" and age

    Quote Originally Posted by melting View Post
    Let me get this straight. They won't have brother and brother working there. I could see not hiring brother and sister because in Kentucky you're also getting husband and wife. That could pose I problem I guess.

    Chris
    You might just want to delete this. Okay?
    Tim

  7. #17
    Enthusiast
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    Sep 2006
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    Central Taxachusetts
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    314

    Re: "select grains" and age

    Oh oh straightbourbon.com goes pc. I apologize if it offended anyone, but it's really just a goofy stereotypical joke. Some yankee says it and he's up for a lynchin, Jeff Foxworthy or Larry the cable guy says it and folks line up for tickets.

    Good thing I didn't throw out the phrase "nappy headed ho" in there somewhere. The good Rev. Jesse Jackson would surely be knocking at my door.

    Chill out y'all and if you got a good yankee joke let it fly. We have thick skin up here.

    Chris

  8. #18
    Enthusiast
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    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Taxachusetts
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    Re: "select grains" and age

    I'd prefer to call it a stalemate. I sure didn't mean to offend anyone. But on the other hand I certainly won't apologize for making a joke that no one should take seriously anyway. Although stereotypes do become stereotypes for a reason.

    Seriously though, why don't they hire kin. No brother and brother or no brother-sister, whatever. If it was working up until now why would they stop the practice. It makes no business sense at all. I could see not having one family member directly supervising another member of the family. Other than that, what's the big deal.

    Of course all of this feel good publicity regarding Heaven Hill's charitable giving is great. I'm sure it all has to do with them wanting to give back to the community right, Yeah right. I'm sure has nothing to do with tax considerations.

    Think about it if you will. Not long ago on this site I remember people talking about trying to help a food pantry. I'm pretty confident it was the New Hope food band which I thought was brought up by Jette Jo. The same Bette Jo that works for Heaven Hill. If I were her I'd be pretty ripped that I have to put so much effort trying to feed the less fortunate but Heaven Hill can donate $250,000 to a zoo. Mother of God, get real would you.

    Chris

  9. #19
    Enthusiast
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    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Taxachusetts
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    314

    Re: "select grains" and age

    Oops, I forgot this one. Don't call it the Christian thought. Seeing as I am a Christian, my point of view would also be considered Christian thought.

    I would also hesitate to bring religion into the discussion, that's the main reason that wars are waged. Maybe a muslim, jew or some one with another religious belief altogether could jump in here and tell us how we are both wrong anyways so it doesn't matter.

    Maybe you are using protestant thinking and I'm more of the Catholic upbringing.

    Chris

  10. #20
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Houston TEXAS
    Posts
    30

    Re: "select grains" and age

    Melting,
    Okay here is one. The best thing I like about Bostonians?




    They are 1800 miles from Texas. That was a joke

 

 

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