On this episode of Dan Does, host Daniel Geneen heads to Loretto, Kentucky to tour the Maker’s Mark distillery and see how the company has kept its product smooth, sippable, and consistent for over 60 years.
The amount of manual labor that goes into the bourbon making process — from handling the barrels to the bottle’s signature red wax seal — surprised Geneen. For starters, one rule of bourbon-making is that you use a brand new white oak barrel every time, which means rolling, lifting, charring, and filling a lot of new barrels.
The bourbon-making process actually begins with coopering. Wood is “seasoned,” or dried out for nine to 12 months. Once dried, it’s cut, steamed, bent, and has hoops and logos added. Next they’re blasted with fire to char the inside of the barrel, which helps give the bourbon much of its flavor. From there, the barrels are filled with “white dog,” or clear bourbon that has yet to see a barrel, which is made from barley, wheat, and corn, then combined with water from the distillery’s lake. That grain goes rough many processes, such grinding, mashing, fermenting, distilling, and aging to get the brand’s signature “non bitter” taste.
Check out the video to learn more about Maker’s Mark’s complex processes, and see how one of the world’s most famous bourbons gets made.