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Q:

What about your job keeps you in high spirits?

A:

How effective are the interventions, and in your opinion does the presence of cameras and being shown on TV seem to help, hinder, or have no effect on the addict's willingness to work on breaking their addiction?


Q:

What was the reaction around the office once the news broke?

A:

Ha! I'll drink to that question!

Which, then again, is the answer to that question now that I think about it!


Q:

80-90% of people involved in interventions go to rehab the day of, so pretty successful. It depends on how strong the family in order for the addict is to stay in treatment and stay sober after treatment.

A:

Most of my coworkers did not even know what net neutrality was. I was trying to educate everyone but I think I only reached a few people. There's a lot of internal propaganda about the subject which is the biggest reason why I left the company. We were literally asked to hand out fliers to customer with a little statement from Verizon with a header saying "Verizon supports a free internet" written at the top. That was the last straw for me.


Q:

What do you usually order at a bar?

A:

How effective are the interventions, and in your opinion does the presence of cameras and being shown on TV seem to help, hinder, or have no effect on the addict's willingness to work on breaking their addiction?


Q:

Has that internal propaganda been anonymously misplaced somewhere on the web for us to read?

A:

I'm a scotch drinker, at heart. If they have a nice peaty scotch, I'm a happy guy. If I know the bartender, I'll have a drop of water, but other than that I prefer it neat.

Other than that, I'll order the bourbon that I make, if they have it. I have to admit, I still get a thrill tasting what I make all day!


Q:

That's my time! Thank you all for your interest in making a difference in the epidemic that we're dealing with in this country. If you have a loved one, please reach out. There's no need to suffer any longer.

I'm really excited about this new season and hope to see you all tonight at 9pm on A&E!

A:

I honestly wouldn't know, but it got really bad internally. We were getting emails from the corporate office blatantly lying about Verizons stance on the subject. The attempted brainwashing was horrible.


Q:

Why do you only order the water drop if you know the bartender?

A:

In my limited experience, addiction counselors/workers tend to be addicts themselves. Is it possible to be as effective without that personal experience and intimate knowledge? e.g. Could a 22 year old with no drug or alcohol experience be at all effective?


Q:

So what exactly, asking fir concrete examples, has Verizon done that is contradictory to their public statement supporting a free and open internet?

A:

Well, I've seen bartenders who are unable to understand what a drop consists of. It's also a pain in the ass for the bartender. I served my time on the other side, dealing with customers. I get it.

One should always go for a bartender they trust!


Q:

With proper training, absolutely. If someone wants to go to school and learn about the process they could be just as effective at helping people.

A:

I don't understand what you're asking.


Q:

What's this about a drop of water? I'm not a scotch drinker so I'm asking as a voyeur.

A:

Do you ever find that the addict isn't as "bad" as the request is depicted? How do you choose who to intervene?


Q:

Of course, i will clarify. Your claim is that you quit because you were asked to hand out flyers implying thay Verizon supported an open internet. My question, is this, what actions has Verizon taken as a company that are contradictory to the message they are promoting. Are they throttling connection speeds for certain websites, forcing tiered service onto customers, blocking wesbites, etc.

Right now, youre argument is based solely upon your feelings, and not based on factual evidence. You feel they are promoting false information, without providing supporting data. Basically, im saying you quit your only job to virtue signal for meaningleas online points.

A:

It helps to open up the flavors and aroma. It doesn't get to a point of hydro-stasis so it doesn't really make it watered down, either.


Q:

Anyone that is asked to come in and intervene on someone, it’s that bad. If there’s a question at all, it’s that bad. It’s difficult to select who to intervene, because so many people need this help.

A:

Verizon has been "testing" throttling for a few years now. About a year ago Verizon started throttling the Netflix app in certain markets. While I can't provide studies or data proof, most of my decision is based in my understanding that Verizon is trying to mask their stance against net neutrality with that statement. Verizon has been flirting with heavy throttling ever since the came out with their newer unlimited plan and I have zero doubts that we will see some sort of plan in the near future with fast lane access to certain websites.


Q:

So I bought a bottle of Laphroig 10 the other day and have enjoyed it quite a lot. You're saying a drop, like a literal drop of water will make it better?

A:

Do you ever find that the addict isn't as "bad" as the request is depicted? How do you choose who to intervene?


Q:

Verizon has been "testing" throttling for a few years now. About a year ago Verizon started throttling the Netflix app in certain markets.

So if verizon was throttling websites while NN laws were active, why do we need said laws? Its clear that either the laws were inept or didnt do what yourself, and many other uninformed individuals, claimed.

Verizon has been flirting with heavy throttling ever since the came out with their newer unlimited plan and I have zero doubts that we will see some sort of plan in the near future with fast lane access to certain websites.

Again, this is an argument made based upon feelings, not data or evidence. Its more virtue signaling.

Im getting the sense that you have no idea what the "Net Neutrality" laws did in practice and were brainwashed by reddits pro-NN bullshit.

A:

yup! Give it a try!


Q:

and some of the difficult ones stick with me, like when family members lose loved ones.

A:

Regardless, my opinion was that Verizon was being misleading. I respect your desire for factually data but I simply don't have the means to provide it. I'd like to believe I'm well informed on the subject but if you say I'm wrong I'll have to do more research. Most of my decision was based on what I perceived to be happening and If I'm wrong and I quit for the wrong reason then I'll face the coming consequences. That being said the fliers were not the only reason I left the company.


Q:

Does it bother you to say scotch? I know it's the term in America, but if you're talking an Islay whisky, we've at least similar tastes.

A:

It seems to me, from watching the show in the past and other anecdotal information, that opioid addicts often relapse within hours of leaving rehab. It's almost as if they never even tried/committed. Are these addicts more resistant to the idea of getting sober than other addicts?


Q:

Did you have another job lined up, or are you just completely lacking impulse control?

A:

I'll raise a toast to that!


Q:

No, I think that it’s just that it’s really hard to get sober and they’re living in a bubble in treatment. Without follow up and accountability and someone helping them and supporting them it’s almost impossible to stay sober. That’s why it’s so hard to stay sober. Thankfully there’s more support now to help people stay sober with after care.

A:

I have an interview coming up but nothing solid. I have a big chunk of savings lined up though so I can get by for a month or two.


Q:

Not trying to be skeptical or negative with this question, I ask it sincerely. Whiskey is sometimes described as a rare industry where corporate giants offer truly superior quality than the craft side, due to the complexities/time requirements/high costs associated with aging, batch control, etc. As a craft distiller, what do you see as the endgame for the consumer who may buy your bottle? Is the goal competing with the big guys and taking on corporate hegemony? Is it representing an area, in this case NE, through spirits? Is it being unique? Is it a sincere belief that craft bourbon can be as good as something like Booker's, since they are usually in that price range? I'd like to try more craft whiskeys, including yours, but I have never met one that wasn't young, hot, and weak, and in the words of the great George Dubya, fool me once....sorry if this question is too direct and abrasive.

A:

I have heard that opioid addiction is very hard to break, and that full recovery rates are low, is that true?


Q:

So, you decided to quit a job with no other offers and can get by for "a month or two". Do you not see how idiotic this is?

A:

Not abrasive at all! In fact, I agree with you.

Right now craft vodkas and gins are better than the big guys, in many cases.

Aged spirits? Well, that's a different story.

Most of the craft whiskeys I've had have been disappointing. Even when I know the guys and gals involved, I wouldn't buy a bottle of their product for myself.

I've been lucky. I've worked for two companies who have been able to make a great product. Even so, I'm the first to admit that my bourbon isn't the best bourbon a person can buy. It's good. Really good, but it's going to be years and years before I bottle something that will go from "really good" to "best drink I ever had". It may be that a barrel I lay down this month will be opened by my son in fifteen years and be amazing. Hell, I'm almost 50. I may not be around.

That doesn't mean that I don't wake up every day trying to be a little better. Learning something new. Approaching a new idea. It's part of the job that drives me.

I do think that in the future, with more experiments being tried, that the craft explosion will pay off. You mentioned representing an area. That's a great example where I have an advantage over the big guys. I'm proud to use local corn, and I'm happy that it produces a flavor that represents the area.

Most craft distillers will fail. Some that remain will be bought up. In time, and within this decade, there will be some amazing age spirits from the little guys. That will help change the landscape.

The key, I feel, is having a model that allows for sales that don't rely upon aggressive aging or NGS. Here at Adirondack, we're diverse enough to allow us time to age our products...and that's just going to make what we bottle better and better.


Q:

Yes, unfortunately. But if you do an intervention, and get the family on the same page, the success rate jumps 50% according to recent studies. That’s our job as interventionists is to help the family learn to move forward appropriately.

A:

I appreciate the concern, but I am confident everything will turn out alright. My partner is still pulling in an income and I have a good support network in my family.


Q:

Any stories of brewing gone wrong while you were making the jump to a new career?

A:

I have heard that opioid addiction is very hard to break, and that full recovery rates are low, is that true?


Q:

Hello friend! I was a Retail Sales Consultant for AT&T for 3 years! A recruiter from Verizon contacted me on LinkedIn recently about a solutions specialist job. I left AT&T because of Wells Fargo type management and pressure to make unethical sales. I hear Verizon is similar so i turned it down. What was your experience like with Verizon?

I know this wasn’t what your AMA is about but I would like to know lol.

A:

Oh, when I started I was the worst homebrewer!

It started while sitting on a porch and bemoaning how I couldn't find good beer around me. My buddy and I then decided to make our own beer. We bought a can of malt extract and made every mistake known to man. Exploding bottles, infections, off flavors. Tell you, though, that first beer I made still remains as a sense memory for me as the best beer ever.

As for early distilling disasters...well, I sure would never admit in public that I might have had a homemade still with some real quirky issues!


Q:

The advice I would give them is to do an intervention, because there's always a reason we can find to get them help.

A:

The pressure is definitely there, I was with Verizon for quite some time and while the pay and benefits are fantastic but the emotional toll was heavy. Did the 80 year old lady really need a $700 phone and a Bluetooth speaker? Probably not, but your leadership team will always tell you that it's their money not yours but that excuse just didn't fly with me. I'm not going to miss the days of going home feeling guilty. That being said I don't want it to sound too dramatic or anything. Most days I would be genuinely helping people with issues and the like. It was the sales aspect I hated but it is to be expected in any commission based retail job.


Q:

How did you get involved in making homemade liquor? And do you have any tips? Been making wine at home (out of a box kit) but it very much feels like a gateway.

A:

What is different about the new season and What can we expect?


Q:

Do Verizon employees have to drink the anti-net neutrality Cool-Aid for the sake of their jobs?

Have you spoken to a labor lawyer?

Edit: It's clear from the downvotes of legitimate questions that anti-NN is well organized and still remains a presence on reddit: Why would any real people want to give away more personal data and be forced to let their ISP dictate content. If America cant agree on this simple issue: companies profit above people...we are doomed as a nation.

A:

Well, I should point out that currently it's against the law to distill spirits without permission from the feds.

However, /r/firewater is a good starting point.

Also, not that I would suggest anything against the law, but one problem people have is starting too small. You need to be able to make cuts for good liqour, and that requires a larger volume.


Q:

The new season is really exciting. We’re going into a community and showing people that there is a solution in communities. We’re helping communities along with law enforcement, elected officials, and people that lost loved ones and working as a treatment team.

A:

I left on my own accord so I don't feel like that entitles me to anything. Employees had to either keep their opinions to themselves when asked on the subject by customers or hand out Verizon official statement which was propaganda aimed at misleading people. Part of why I quit, I refused to help Verizon trick people into thinking it supported net neutrality.


Q:

What would you suggest is a good starting volume for a home distiller? 5gal? 10 gal? More?

A:

Which drug's addiction carries with it the worst side effects? (As in, what is the overall worst drug to be addicted to in how it affects your day to day life).


Q:

So was that truly a wise decision? Like, did you have a backup job ready?

A:

I would say never less than 10. I've never been able to make proper cuts on a smaller size!


Q:

I think the worst ones to detox from are Suboxone and Methadone they have the most painful detox physically.

A:

It may not have been a "wise" decision. But I stand by my choice. I have a few backup plans so I'm confident I will be okay.


Q:

I'm probably too late but screw it, I'll ask anyway. I started working at a local distillery a few years ago. As I was completely new to the scene I worked for free for just under a year to kinda earn my place. Eventually, the head distiller stuck up for me and I managed to actually get paid to assistant distill. Not long after, the boss decided he didn't like paying me and laid me off.

After that, I got a job at a much bigger place in NY. However, they only needed a bartender and I was only working on ciders and such temporarily. I got hit in the head with a keg and laid off while recovering.

Every boss and higher up I've met in this business is a complete scumbag and takes advantage of their employees. Almost every distiller, assistant distiller, cider maker, etc I've met is miserable. The pay blows, the hours go way over normal every week, and the bosses are terrible. Almost everyone seems to be trying to get out of the business.

I've lost faith in the whole ordeal, as the only people that seem to be starting distilleries (at least in NJ) seem to be rich assholes that have no idea what they're doing and won't lift a finger to help. Not to mention, they all think workers live to work.

Do you think there is any hope? It seems like the start up costs for distilleries are just too high and only rich people have a shot.

A:

Do you think the United States can overcome this opioid crisis?


Q:

how many people quit with you? Do you think your quitting made a difference or was it just to show that you are pissed.

A:

Well, there is hope.

I got lucky with both the distilleries I worked at. In one case, I knew the owners previously. In this case, I got lucky. I wasn't going to take the job unless I got along with them and was given some autonomy. Fortunately, the owners are great, the product is great, and everything is well funded.

Can't say I've met many unhappy distillers. Then again, I only hire people who love what they do...plus they see me busting my hump harder than they do!

Hours are long, and pay isn't great...but I've never been happier!

Keep an eye on /r/thedistillery . When I'm hiring my next assistant distiller I'll post there. I'm a scumbag, but I think I'm a pretty decent boss!


Q:

Yes, I think if we follow the doctor diversion programs that have an 85% success rate, with aftercare, we could make a huge change.

A:

I was the only one in my whole district that quit to my knowledge. In the grand scheme of things it probably won't make a difference but I have to stand up to my beliefs.


Q:

After watching the show "Moonshiners," I'm left wondering... if you're looking to produce a quality whiskey, are you better off having a high alcohol content and distilling once (for example, adding sugar to the mash and using yeast with a really high attenuation) or going with a lower initial alcohol content and then perhaps distilling twice?

Does the lack of a pool of (legal) hobbyists in any way affect innovations in whiskey production? Specifically, I'm thinking of how home brewers and smaller breweries affected the current craft beer market.

A:

Why do you intervene on TV, and not just privately?
edit:+just


Q:

What were your thoughts when you learned Trump’s staff selection included a Verizon Lawyer?

A:

Well, I think you should ferment down as low as you can. That said, I'm a fan of doing a stripping run and creating a low wine before making a whiskey. It helps to avoid off flavors and let you really dial in where you want to go. (Remember to never distill anything more than 40 proof in your still! One vapor leak and suddenly you're without eyebrows!)


Q:

I’ve been doing Intervention since 1999 and I’ve been doing them privately for all of these years.

A:

We actually all got an email congratulating him on his appointment and also when he stepped down from his position. It was concerning to me when it first happened for obvious reasons. I still think he's being coached by Verizon employees. The way he's been acting trying to be "hip" is very similar to how the head of employee relations acts on internal videos distributed internally.


Q:

Thanks for doing this AMA!

I found an old copper still in my late grandparents old barn. Probably 20-30 gallons.

Im planning on cleaning it up and trying to make a batch for me and my friends. All of the instructions I can find online talk about throwing away the first 50mL foreshots. This seems to be for 10L or so of wash, though. Should the ratio scale for a larger run? I dont want to go blind.

A:

For those wondering, this is a low level position. Typically making ~$14/hr per google search, which is probably generous.


Q:

Well, don't worry about going blind. That came from when the government was literally poisoning alcohol during prohibition!

So, coming up first is the foreshot, even before the heads. All sort of nasty stuff you want to ditch. Don't worry, the smell and taste is unmistakable. It's the easiest cut to make.

Here's the thing. Without knowing the starting gravity of the wash, it's impossible to say "throw out x number of liters". Making cuts relies as much upon your sense of taste and smell as it does what should be the expected yield.

A:

I made significantly more than that. Most people will build a career with that job. Hourly was alright but we also made commission.


Q:

Have you ever made a "bad" batch of whiskey? What did you do with it?

I bought the best bottle of whiskey I think I've ever had, from Bainbridge Organic Distillers. It won double gold medal or something, but more to the point, was amazing. As a fancy gift for a friend two years later, I bought another two bottles, one for me and one for her. Upon opening my bottle, I was horribly embarrassed I had gotten one for her as the flavor was nowhere near what that first bottle had been, and honestly was pretty terrible in my opinion.

I tried to (politely) inquire if they had any changes to their process (they had begun to get "big" in those two years) and they were very cagey as to why the two whiskys taste so different.

Do you think they went the neutral spirits route after becoming more successful? Or just rushed the batch?

A:

What would you say is some of the worst parts of working within a position where you have to deal with people's issues regarding products, plans, etc?


Q:

So far I've been lucky. There was one batch I made at a previous company that was far too astringent. Dumping product is tough. It's a bunch of money down the drain.

Then again, a distillery is only one bad bottle away from permanently losing a customer. I refuse to put out something that's inferior.

In the case of Bainbridge, it could have been a situation where they changed distillers or changed process. Impossible to say. It could have been in the middle of holiday rush and they didn't take the time for quality control. God knows, distilleries get crazy between November 1st and the end of the year.

A:

The sheer unwillingness most people have to solve their own problems. Most phones issues can be solved by turning off all apps in the background and doing a soft reset on the device. About 3/4 of the customers coming into a Verizon store can save themselves a drive and the hassle of having a sales rep try and sell them something if they just spent at least a fraction of their time and energy into learning how to do minor troubleshooting on the device the carry with them 24/7. I understand not being able to figure out plans and service issues but people with actual service issues made up a fraction of the customer base coming in to the store everyday.


Q:

Crazy to see another person from Utica on here, let alone someone doing an AMA. Do you sell your product to just bars around Varick? And do you ever find yourself competing with the Cooperstown Distillery or is that too far away

A:

Nah that’s something they would like you to believe. The reality is that NN has been a fundamental part of ISP-related government policy since ISPs were a thing, but some ISPs were beginning to ignore that and use loopholes to throttle connections and be dickheads anyway. The 2015 policies only served to reinforce the laws and make the ISPs stop what they were doing, not introduce NN altogether


Q:

Oh, we're in 22 states already! More to come!

I'm not sure I view other distillers as competition, exactly. I think the market is big enough for even more. I plan on stopping by Cooperstown after the busy season ends so I can check them out!

If you're in the brewery district, stop by and say hello! I'll give you a tour and pour you many samples!

A:

Ha ha, about a week and a half prior to me leaving we had a meeting where they showed us a video arguing just that.


Q:

Yeah im right up the road from the brewery district so ill be around when i can. And Wow i wouldnt have realized how extensive it is, mostly because im too young to buy it myself lmao. Ill take you up on your offer in a few years

A:

Ha! We'll still be here!


Q:

How do you stay on top of alcoholism? Is it an issue in the industry? You must be required to taste booze while making it, and then at industry events or promotional events?

A:

I figured it out the other day. I consume, just through tasting, the equivalent of three shots every day. When I go home, I have a drink every day. That puts me at 4 drinks a day as a baseline during the week.

Toss in social events, and just enjoying some beers and there's a problem.

Honestly, people in this industry are functional alcoholics. There's almost no way around it!


Q:

That does sound like a habitual amount that could quickly cause really serious concern, but raw amounts aren't really what defines a problem. These questions form the diagnostic criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD):

AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using. An estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD. Approximately 6.2 percent or 15.1 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2015. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD as well, and in 2015, an estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD. To be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet certain criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Under DSM–5, the current version of the DSM, anyone meeting any two of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period receives a diagnosis of AUD. The severity of AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met. To assess whether you or loved one may have AUD, here are some questions to ask. In the past year, have you:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present. However severe the problem may seem, most people with AUD can benefit from treatment. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of them receive any treatment. Ultimately, receiving treatment can improve an individual’s chances of success in overcoming AUD.

Do two or more of these apply to you? You seem like a great guy and I hope you're ok. This industry can really fuck people up, and the pervasive culture of variably functional alcoholism is a lot of how.

A:

In my wild years, I was a pretty heavy drug user. I know from that experience that I don't really have an addictive personality. I have gone months without a drink before, and didn't miss it. That's been a few years though.

As I said, it's a concern for industry workers.


Q:

How much does alcohol content actually effect the flavor?

A:

Well, whenever people come to the distillery, I let them taste the distillate coming off the stills. It's extremely high proof and it's hard for the taste buds to really get a sense of.


Q:

What is the keys to the perfect bourbon?

A:

Well, in my mind it starts from the corn. We order locally grown sweet corn that smells incredible from the minute I start cooking it.

Next important part is the distilate itself. So, obviously the idea is to extract as much ethanol from the fermented sugars as possible. Still, there are a number of byproducts that come up in the course of distillation. Most of them are bad, some of them are good. It's not just making "cuts" at the right time, it's continually monitoring your stills.

Then there's the barrels. So much flavor comes from the wood!

Finally, there's knowing the perfect time to harvest from the barrels. I only bottle when the time is right. Only way to tell is to taste every month to know where you're at.


Q:

Hmm. I'm growing my own corn right now (I'm in South Florida, all year growing season). It's purely organic sweet corn. Can I use that to make my own bourbon?

A:

Hell yes!!


Q:

Thank you for your reply.

So much flavor comes from the wood!

How do the different wood species and variations influence the flavor of the finished bourbon?

Would you be interested in trading a bottle of a local Woodinville Whiskey bourbon for a bottle of yours?

A:

Well, I used to make a product that was aged in French oak as opposed to American oak. I can tell you that the flavor difference is worlds apart!

One of the things I find fascinating is the differences in each kind of barrel. We've tried a number of them, and makes the process of blending a very interesting affair.

I would love to do a swap!


Q:

Most people have heard of Great American Beer Fest (GABF).

Is there a Great American Whiskey Fest? Or something along that line?

A:

Not that I'm aware of. Then again, there's not much on the planet like GABF. One of these years I have to go back to that...assuming I ever have a day off in the next five years!

I will be doing a smaller and more regional affair at the end of this month, Buffalo Whiskey Fest. 75 distillers will be presenting. Since it's my second home, it seems like a good time to poke my head away from the stills!


Q:

There is a Craft Brewing and Distilling Festival in Watkins Glen every year. It is amazing. I'd love to see you there this year.

A:

I'll look it up!


Q:

Being a Utican, can I get some free samples?

A:

Stop on by during the weekday! I'll show you around and pour you many a sample!


Q:

Hi! I have a couple of questions:

  1. Some ryes, like Sazerac Rye, have minimal spiciness, while some bourbons with fairly low rye bills, like Wild Turkey, can have a pronounced rye profile. Someone on another sub commented that it has to do with how the rye is treated, like if the sugars are fully boiled. Have you experimented with extracting sugars at different temps?

  2. Do you use full size barrels for aging?

A:

It's funny. I've worked with so many materials in distillation. I've distilled from Maple syrup, honey, wheat, corn, apples, wines, etc. I've never worked with rye. No idea why not. I love rye whiskey. So, I guess I don't feel qualified to give a good answer on that.

As for barrels, we use a variety. It allows us to aggressively age in smaller barrels, while the majority age in big barrels. The art of blending is to find a way to make our product consistent, while still continually improving. I appointed a "cellar master" at the company, so that I can have a flavor profile for every barrel we have at the ready. When a big barrel is ready for harvesting, I have some options to play with the flavor profile.

Tasting booze for a living. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!


Q:

Does your distillery have a cat? It's traditional, pls post picture of said cat.

A:

We have two! Their names are Gin and Tonic!

Here's a picture of Tonic. Gin is somewhere around here.


Q:

Hi! So my little brother is now at the head of a small craft distillery here in Wisconsin. He's only 26, just wound up in the right place at the right time and busted his ass earning it, I'm incredibly proud of him. What advice would you have for him as he works to advance his career?

A:

Wow! I would have been terrible t this when I was 26! Good for him!

Never cut corners. Be the first to show up, and the last to leave. Stand your ground, and be willing to say "no" to the owners. Never sacrifice quality.

Oh, and make sure you drink for pleasure after your shift! It's an industrial job, and there are many ways to get hurt if you're drunk!


Q:

Hey Bob, i run the spirits dept of a small shop on LI with my coworker. Would love to taste your products and maybe get them on our shelves, are you self distributing or going through someone?

A:

We have distributors, but we can also self distribute. Shoot me an email at [email protected] and I'll pass it along to our sales guy!


Q:

What's the best cheap whiskey? Anything good at rotgut prices?

A:

NYE, I was at a dive bar watching the Bills win. Only whiskey they had that I wasn't aware of was Paddy's Whiskey. I know nothing about it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not nearly as bad as I thought.

I also think that some low end rye whiskeys make for great cocktails.


Q:

How does price reflect qualify of produce? Is there a point where you’re just paying for branding? What advice can you give someone who would like to buy a “nice” spirit.

A:

It's tough. Usually price reflects quality, but not always.

It's an odd thing to buy for someone. We become "set" in our preferences, you know?


Q:

How much does water quality influence distilling? Is there a benefit to using spring water over other water sources?

A:

Water is incredibly important. Water is always added to cut it down to proof. We use a great filtration system, and we're blessed with some great water here!


Q:

What do you feel when people mix your whisky with other things lije coke or energy drink?

A:

Thankfully, I make a "forget about the things witnessed tonight" potion, so I can block such things from my mind!


Q:

Do you think it’s fair that making whiskey can be a career but growing weed is a crime?

A:

Nope. I'm all for legal weed as well! I would love to make a THC infused vodka!


Q:

How did you start in this trade?

A:

So, I started as guy who loved good beer but was also a cheap bastard. Figured it had to be easier to make beer than pay for it, right? (It isn't. Brewing beer quickly becomes an expensive hobby!)

Along the way I became pretty good at it. Good enough to think about starting my own company. I arranged for the location, built the brand, etc. At the last minute, the funding for the brewery fell through and I was accepting of giving up my dream.

Funny thing is, along the way, I made contacts.

I think I've become really good at my job. I hope so at any rate. I came in with a background that makes me a pretty good manager, and a stickler for details.

Oh, and a cast iron liver!


Q:

I've never tried distilling/brewing anything (not sure I've got the terminology right), but I'd like to try. Any tips on what I should try making and how I could go about it cheaply and relatively easily?

A:

See if there's a home brew shop in your area. You'll find the owners are going to be really helpful and friendly. Best bet is to spend about a hundred bucks for some buckets, some extract and other little things. Will you make a great beer? Nope. Might taste it to you, but not to others. Still, you'll learn the basics and understand the importance of process.

Warning! Eventually it'll be so much fun you may wind up with twenty gallons of kegged beer in your basement. Happened to me!


Q:

What's the best hangover cure?

A:

For me, it's a fatty breakfast with lots of carbs and lot's of spice.

I'll take a good roll, butter it and lightly grill the botom. I'll add some spicy sausage and eggs. Then I'll pour on the Frank's hot sauce. Seems to work.

Oh, also try to drink a glass of water for every drink you consumed that night. You won't be able to, but try your best!


Q:

Hi Bob, nice name

What are your thought on the mini barrels and the mini barrel aging? Do you or would you sell new make spirit for folks to purchase and age themselves?

A:

I like the idea, but the problem is that every new package takes about six months to get federal approval for. It's a crazy process.

That said, we make a white whiskey that's pretty damn amazing. Someone buying that and a small barrel might just be able to make something real tasty!


Q:

A local distillery has started doing their custom service that lets you age your own barrel of whiskey for as long as you'd like, but it stays on the premises. When you're ready they'll bottle it for you. I've thought about doing it, but prices start at about $5000 for a 10 gallon barrel and I'm not exactly flush with cash.

A:

That's.....really interesting. I'm not even sure how you do that legally. I love the idea, though! I'll talk to our lawyer about it!


Q:

I work in the beer industry and I have two questions -

1.) How's the pay in the industry? Do the medium sized/big guys maintain a QC lab with people specifically hired as lab techs?

2.) I've noticed that excessive alcohol use is a fairly big issue in the beer industry. Is this also an issue in spirits, and if so, is it being addressed?

A:

1) Oh, the pay is terrible. On the bright side, you get to work long hours and break your back. On the more serious side, I make far less than what I used to. Even at the top, I make less than what I could make as a guy in an IT department.

I can't think of a single distillery or brewery that has dedicated lab techs. I'm sure they exist, but it's a luxury. usually the lab work is done by everyone. You have to wear lots of hats.

For me, it's the best job in the world. I've never been happier. It was a trade off that worked for me.

2) Just as bad in the spirits world. It's hard. I mentioned in another answer that just the duties of my job requires consuming the equivalent of 3 or 4 drinks. Now, it's small amounts over many hours, but it still exists. There's also the social side of the business, where everyone is there because they love booze.

No good answers to be found, for sure!


Q:

Have you ever used maple syrup to make liquor before? If so what kind of barrels would you age it in?

A:

I used to make a rum out of maple syrup. It was amazing. Really, really amazing. Might be my favorite drink ever. I hope they resume production. With that, I would age it in American oak barrels with some French Oak staves. It really worked out well. About a six month aging process, so pretty quick!


Q:

Bourbon can only be made in the US, but is not restricted to KY. There are requirements about its mash bill. If you want good KY bourbon, look for bourbons labeled as Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

A:

It can be made anywhere, but currently the best come out of the south.

Give me a few years! I would like to see a day where somebody says the best bourbon comes from Utica!


Q:

How do you feel about people who drink scotch different ways? I forego the water for a couple small ice cubes and receive a lot of judgements from people who don't even drink scotch.

A:

I know how I like my booze. I'm pretty particular.

That said, I never judge a person for the way they drink. That's some pretentious nonsense, and in my mind the point of booze is to strip away pretension.

If someone wants to make a milkshake with everclear, NyQuil, Thunderbird and milk, I wouldn't stop 'em. Wouldn't drink it, but I sure wouldn't judge 'em for it!