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Defining Single Barrel Select


Shawn Coots

on 12/8/2013

Or: How I got to spend my workday learning about fine bourbon


Recently, I had the privilege of touring the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. Have I mentioned how much I love my job?


The distillery grounds were rich with both beauty and history. We learned the process of making bourbon from start to finish, compliments of our tour guide, Beau Beckman. Beau is the Barrel Master who oversees the Single Barrel Select program. During the tour, Beau walked us through each phase of bottling custom barrels of bourbon. Also, I learned you have to be very, very strong to successfully swing a bung hammer. The tour ended with a sampling from two barrels of Buffalo Trace. I was hard pressed to pick a favorite – they were both delicious.

All of the information we absorbed (and maybe some of the alcohol), taught us a valuable lesson. Great bourbon is a gift, built with patience. Each bottle of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s bourbon is carefully crafted, right down to the wood that chosen for the barrel. So much thought, love and care goes into each glass.

With the tour concluded, we began writing specification for a new project named Single Barrel Select. The application will put customers in touch with a retailer or distributor to negotiate the purchase of a custom barrel of their choosing. Once a customer has partnered with a retailer, they can schedule one of three options:

  • A distillery tour and tasting to select a barrel
  • Three barrel samples sent to their home for selection
  • Distiller chooses a barrel based on the customer’s preference

Once they’ve made a selection, the system guides retailers and customers through the bottling of the barrel. Throughout the process, the Single Barrel Select app educates bourbon drinkers on where their particular barrel came from, and exactly how much care went into making it.

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