Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Sweating a Barrel with Fred Noe


Photo by Fred Minnick
The "Scotch Guys Think Bourbon Guys Are Screwing with 'Their' Barrels" post got a lot of attention and sparked a memory.

When Beam introduced Devil's Cut in 2011, I asked Fred Noe how this new way of processing used barrels would affect the Scottish distillers who buy them to age scotch. "I don't give a damn about scotch," said Fred, or words to that effect. I know there was an expletive involved.

But later, as we talked, I tried to wheedle more information from him about Beam's proprietary extraction process. I mentioned that it sounded like sweating a barrel, a practice beloved by youngsters throughout whiskey country. Kids would ‘liberate’ a freshly-dumped barrel from one of the local distilleries, put a few gallons of water in it, plug up the bung hole, and roll it around in the hot sun until they got bored. The resulting liquid usually contained enough alcohol to deliver a light buzz.

Fred agreed and shared a story about one time, as a kid, he and some buddies snitched a barrel from the Beam distillery at Clermont and sweated it, but since he was the son of one of the company's distillers and cousin of the other two, he got caught. I forget what his punishment was.

1 comment:

Brian (AKA The Dean) said...

"I don't give a damn about scotch," 🤣

Pretty much my attitude. Fred must have been a real pleasure to share a bourbon with.