Monday, September 26 - Our third stop was Maker's Mark Distillery. This distillery, in its storybook setting outside the charming town of Loretto, is the nation's oldest working distillery on its original site and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. This is the only distillery that opened its factory doors to a beginning to end tour of the distilling process.
Here is a picture of what is to be believed as America's oldest remaining "retail whisky store." This is called a Quart House. This is where the distillery used to sell bourbon to the surrounding neighbors around 1889. It could be considered the first "drive through." People would pull up their wagon next to the house, get their barrel filled up, pay a quarter and be on their way.
We started our tour inside the original home. When the house was build in 1911, it served as a boarding house for distillery workers and visiting businessmen. In 1934, when Prohibition ended and the Beams began rebuilding, the house was renovated and moved to keep a watchful eye on operations.
It was interesting to find out how the Maker's Mark's trademark wax sealed bottle came about. Well here is the story…
This distillery is much smaller than the two previous distilleries we toured. We began our tour in the area where the wheat, corn, and barley are ground and mixed. Mountain spring water is then added along with yeast and the fermenting process begins. The fermentation is a three step process. We were encouraged to dip our fingers into the vats to taste the changes taking place in the process.
We again visited the rick houses where the finished Bourbon is aged for an average of 6-8 years. They determine when the Bourbon is ready to bottle by taste rather than simply age, as the other distilleries do.
Maker's Mark Bourbon is different from their second brand, Maker's Mark 46, in that additional charred oak staves are added into the barrel at the end of the aging process for an additional 46 days for additional flavor and color.
A real treat of this tour was to see the bottling process. They do everything by hand, including dipping every bottle in their signature red wax. They bottle about 30 bottles per minute with the final process before boxing is the hand dipping of the neck of the bottle in red wax. This is their trademark and a unique process to Maker's Mark.
We again enjoyed the tasting room where we not only sampled the traditional two different Bourbons but also tasted “white dog” the clear bourbon liquid before it is aged in the oak barrels. It is the charred oak barrels that gives the Bourbon is caramel color and distinctive flavor. We were also served a piece of Bourbon chocolate, a tasty treat to end our day of touring.
BACK AT THE CAMPGROUND: At the end of each day, Grandpa drives around the campground in one of several ways. This is the way we like the best. He just has the biggest time.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!