I used to hate Mondays, but now I either have no idea what day it is or we are off to tour another brewery. This past Monday we went to the Jim beam Distillery in Clermont, KY. It was about an hour drive from our campground. I have no idea how I will feel about Mondays when we leave Kentucky. One moreMonday to go, so I will make sure to enjoy it. Jim Beam had a good tour and it was fun to see the differences between Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. Jim Beam is definitely my favorite additive to a diet coke- other than ice of course. So it was a fun morning.
This tour included much more of the bottling and barrel storage than the JD one. We always learn a bit and part of that was that Bourbon is only Bourbon if it is made in the US. Not just Kentucky, but Jim Beam does make over 50% of the bourbon in the US. I mentioned before the Limestone caves way underground and that is part of what makes the Bourbon so good- it all comes down to the water. Bourbon also has to be 51% or higher of corn in the mash. If not it gets labeled liquor, whiskey or rye. It wasn’t too much different from JD’s in regards to cleanliness and processing. Sorry Jim and family. The employee benefits here are that twice a year they clean up the QC department which has a first and last bottle stored. Only 375 employees and a ton of bottles! Christmas comes 2X a year!
The bottling process was pretty cool- what we saw of it anyway, we always seem to show up at lunch break. We did get to see the Knob Creek bottling in process that they did just for us. They didn’t talk so much about buying your own barrel, so we are still just at one of Jack Daniels so far. The tasting was cool too since they gave you a little card you get to insert into the machine and pick what you wanted to taste.
A thing I find weird is you hardly ever see any workers. How does all the corn and stuff get put in the mash pots or fermenters? There are people in the bottling side of the area and the shops where souveniers are sold, but who does the real work? We do always see the guys running the computer system and evaluating temperatures, but there seems to be much more to making these fine beverages than just watching a process flow on a computer.
Next Monday we are off to Buffalo Trace (because it is free) and one more, but I can’t remember the name (Woodford reserves?). For now I need to get going on making some plans for our next leg of the trip. We are headed to St Louis. I can’t seem to find a good spot, so if anyone reading this knows of any good parks, let me know. For you who don’t have to do this research, it can take a half day or more and some phone calls to get into a good park. We have not been unhappy yet with our choices, but even that one bad one can be upsetting. I am sure it will happen, but doing my best not to let it.
Camp on my friends!