What a great job. Master distillers are in hot demand, as is their bourbon

on 21/09/10 at 12:49 pm

Spirits

Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. On the strength of premium and super-premium brands, production has risen by more than 75 percent since 1999. Some 4.6 million barrels of bourbon are currently aging in the state — the biggest inventory since 1984. publicbroadcasting.net

BARDSTOWN, Ky. — Jimmy Russell and Fred Noe aren’t household names, but they’re stars when it comes to fine sippin’ spirits made in bourbon country.

Russell is in his 55th year at the Wild Turkey Distillery, where he has been the master distiller in charge of plant operations since the late 1960s. Noe is a great-grandson of Jim Beam himself.

Both travel the world promoting their Kentucky brands to fans who want bottles autographed or pictures taken with the bourbon barons during promotional events in bars, restaurants and liquor stores from Singapore to Sweden.

“Any place where alcohol is allowed, I’ve probably set my foot on it in the last four or five years,” said Noe, who spends at least half the year traveling on behalf of his whiskey.

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