It was “all hands on deck” at Four Roses Bourbon on my second day of work. No job is too big or small and I started my day packing pens in boxes for 350 gift bags, a task that needs to be completed by Friday! Luckily my speed and agility from my athletic prowess helped me pack and stuff at highly efficient and complimented speeds.
After stuffing about 50 bags, the team and I got the gazebo ready for the two large groups of bartenders who are part of Camp Runamok. These selected bartenders are the best in the United States and are here all week in Kentucky as well. Al Young, who authored the Four Roses Bourbon historical narrative in hardcover, gave an inaugural speech, giving a historic overview of the Four Roses Bourbon brand in the USA.
Next, I spoke about my experiences of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and how I’ve traveled to many places around the world that excitedly carried the Four Roses Bourbon brand. Capitalizing on my skills from years of public speaking about the Olympics helped me stay at ease in the new environment today. I fielded many questions about the Olympics and found that I related to many of the bartenders due to our unique professions! We closed the introductions with an enthusiastic “USA, USA, USA!” chant and it was evident that we were happy to be in the heartland of Kentucky together!
The next part of the agenda for the day included a step by step tasting of each type of Bourbon that Four Roses Bourbon sells in the USA ( I think they enjoyed this part) and a tour of the facility. I noticed jaws dropping as we learned the elaborate and refined manufacturing process for bourbon.
To give you a brief overview of the process, the mash is ground and it then goes from the mill to the beer still and after 90-hours, the bourbon is put into barrels where it is stored for years until it is ready to be served. What I found really interesting is that throughout each step of this process, employees are checking (tasting and smelling) for quality control. After going on this tour, I have a new appreciation for manufacturing processes and understand that many steps are taken to deliver a quality product to the consumer.