Thursday, September 26, 2013
Meet Tom Blincoe. Because Distilleries Don't Build Themselves
The whiskey business isn't just distilleries, it's many other businesses that provide a variety of products and services. And just as whiskey distilleries are specialized, so are their suppliers. Two cooperages make most of the barrels, one copper and brass fabricator makes most of the stills, and one construction company builds most of the buildings.
That company is Buzick Construction. Last Friday Buzick's President, Tom Blincoe, was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. His father-in-law, Donald Buzick, built the company's first barrel aging warehouse in 1941. It's still in use by Heaven Hill at the site of the former Fairfield Distillery on Bloomfield Road in Bardstown.
In 1975, Buzick brought in Blincoe to run the construction business. In 1977, Blincoe moved his family to Lynchburg, Tennessee, so he could oversee the construction of 39 warehouses for Jack Daniel's, a project that took five years.
In 1991, on assignment to build a new warehouse for Maker's Mark, Blincoe developed a new system that allows the 'heavy lifting' part of warehouse construction to be done with equipment. Using his system, barrel warehouses can be built faster, more economically, and more safely.
With the current bourbon boom, Buzick's business is booming too. In addition to warehouses, they build visitors centers and other distillery buildings. Their restoration of Brown-Forman's Woodford Reserve Distillery won a national historic preservation award.
Under Tom Blincoe's leadership, the fourth generation of his family is now working in the business.
At the induction event, Blincoe was introduced by Joe Fraser, Vice President of Manufacturing for Heaven Hill Distilleries, and Secretary-Treasurer of the Kentucky Distillers' Association.
The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame was created in 2001 by the Kentucky Distillers' Association and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, "to recognize individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact on bourbon’s stature, growth and awareness. It is the highest honor given by Kentucky’s legendary bourbon industry."