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Bourbon Production

nick jones

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Making malt whiskey in the style of the Scots (yes, I know, this means it is not considered to be malt whiskey in the US) I have the pleasure of re-using copperage from some fine distilleries in Kentucky, one of which I am quite partial to (their cooperage, that is).

The barrels sometimes have little liquid surprises for me, sometimes other surprises. Today, I was surprised to find a barrel with two different PINs, stamped as produced at two different distilleries (not two different brands or DSPs from the same facility), one stamp on either head. Both stamps read "bourbon whiskey". The PINs were three years apart, the barrel itself being ten years old.

I can think of a few different ways that "bourbon" might end up in a used barrel, but they all seem very unlikely to me, especially from a production standpoint. It also seems unlikely to me that the big guys are ignoring the law on this matter.

Can anyone with some knowledge of big-time bourbon production out there fill me in on how a barrel might end up with two different PINs for a bourbon? Especially when the PINs are from two different facilities? Do some producers contract production through other distilleries despite the fact that they have their own production facilities? Shared warehouses, perhaps?


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I suspect either a reassembled barrel or a replaced head.

In the case of a reassembled barrel, do you mean that the broker that I bought the barrel from reassembled it from various parts of other bourbon barrels? What do you mean by replaced head? Is that a repair done while the barrel is full?

What about a transfer in bond? Does a DSP that buys barrels from another need to give the barrels a new PIN?


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