Friday, February 4, 2011

A Field Trip for the Grad Student!

Remember back in elementary school, middle school, or whenever you brought home that lovely double sided permission slip forrrrrr a FIELD TRIP?! Always exciting, never exciting to fill the form out, my parents always made us fill them out on our own. Do you know how hard it is for a young person to remember their Doctor's name, address, phone number, etc. And then always having to figure out who the emergency contact would be?!? hahah! ANYWAY! Today, I, the graduate level student,  got to take a school related field trip, and it was actually enjoyable!

Well, to fill you in on the reason for the field trip I might bore you for a second. In my advanced auditing class we are in groups to study specific industries and their audits and audit plans. Our group chose Distilleries! What fun right?! Living here in Central Kentucky we are SURROUNDED by distilleries (the bourbon trail is just down the road from Lexington), in specific BOURBON! (no, I do not like bourbon, even in the slightest, but it's still interesting, ALTHOUGH I do love me some bourbon balls!) Well in order to learn more about the industry I set up a little field trip for our group to Buffalo Trace Distillery in the good ol' capital of Kentucky, Frankfort.

We met early this morning, around 9, to head to Frankfort. The car ride was pretty quiet on the way there, considering our group didn't really know much about each other, but as we got closer the chattering began to take flight! When we arrived we were greeted by our super enthusiastic tour guide, J.W., you could tell he utterly loved his job and was super excited about showing us the distillery. We did Buffalo Trace's "Hard Hat Tour". This tour is by reservation only because you get to actually walk through the distilling process of Bourbon, climbing stairs and more! It was soooo interesting and definitely a day full of learning! Here are a few pictures from the tour!

Buffalo Trace Logo

This is where the corn for the bourbon is dumped by the corn trucks, slowly taken into the distillery

Mash Cooker

This is what is going on inside the mash cooker, corn with enzymes to break it down, it looked like vomit sloshing around, maybe what I would imagine the inside of our stomachs to look like

Ground up corn

This is used to try out new recipes for Bourbon instead of using an entire barrel

Beer Still

This is what "Bourbon" is before it becomes Bourbon -- Bourbon is created through the aging of the product in barrels, with the shortest allowable time being 2 years by law. This stuff, called "White Dog" is named this because it is white and it has a bite! We got to smell this stuff, and it smells just like rubbing alcohol, you can buy it but I don't know if you would like it!

Our group afterward!
 We had a lot of fun today. (After our tour we actually got to meet up with a real live auditor from Deloitte to discuss who he audits the distilleries, but I won't bore you all with that part!) We even ate at "5 guys" together for lunch, what a bonding experience!

One fact that I was not aware of was: by law, bourbon must be aged in a brand new, white oak barrel. The barrel can only be used once for bourbon. So after the distilleries use the barrels they may sell them to other alcohol producers or even to Walmart to cut in half and sell as flower pots!

Also, most bourbons at each distillery are made from the exact same recipe. The thing that gives them different brand names is based on the number of years aged and the number of barrels it came from. For example, a 15 year single barrel bourbon will be WAY more expensive than an 8 year combination of 30 barrels. They adjust the proof of the Bourbon by adding distilled water.

So there you go, that was my exciting field trip for the day!
Oh and on a side note, I did the Johnson Center's Friday Zumba class (taught by a different instructor) and I am still uncertain as to how I feel about it. It was REALLY different than my normal Tuesday zumba class. The music was all music from today (no latin music) and it was REALLY fast and hard for me to keep up with....oh least I burned a few calories! :)

Goodnight Readers, Sleep Tight!


  1. I work about .5 miles from Buffalo Trace and can smell the bourbon mash in my office most days! Good thing we don't hold referral meetings here in the building... we help lawyers that are recovering alcoholics/addicts! Oops!