It’s another proud day for America as its Distillery Team turns copper into gold by winning the gold medal in Rio…at the Technical Olympics. Much like the Technical Oscars (ask Google), the Technical Olympics are often overlooked for the flashier “big show” where the known names and events are shown. But gold is gold, whether it be in swimming or high altitude yodeling.
Rio’s distillery arena, Casa Bêbado, is off the beaten path in the southern suburb of São Paulo. It was there that the American team, with oak char lined bellies, and veins coursing with copper, made a show of this time-honored competition and beat reigning champions, Vatican City.
This 9-day competition consists of 10 different segments:
- Grain-Put – The entire team throws hand-fulls of grains, granny style, into the mill from a distance of 10 Irish paces (an Irish pace is the length of a stride towards a bathroom after 8 pints of beer). The first team to load 5 distiller’s bushels of grain into the mill wins.
- Grain Grind – A team of four hand crank a roller on a traditional bar-fight tooth mill (a mill made of rollers covered in teeth lost in bar fights) First team to grind all their grain to the consistency of not whole grain wins.
- Hose Handoff – A team of two transfers the cooked mash to the fermenter only using human suction and natural siphon power. First team to transfer all their mash wins.
- The Yeast Yield – The team captain has 5 minutes to sing his favorite Barry White song to set the mood for yeast reproduction. The team with the highest yield at the end of fermentation wins.
- The Steam Shovel – A team of two shovels coal, wood pulp, and the cleaved beards of the previous decathlon’s losers into a fire beneath the still. First team to drop the resulting distillate proof to 20˚ wins.
- Stillage Slurp – The entire team disposes of the remaining stillage through oral ingestion. First team to finish consumption wins. (Sort of)
- Barrel Build – A single team member cuts a tree down with their bare hands and pure will power. Staves are then carved beaver style and assembled with provided hoops. First to fully assemble a watertight vessel wins.
- The Bung Hammer in the Middle – All teams fill their barrels on the edge of a giant circle and then race to the single bung hammer that is in the center. The team that retrieves the hammer and successfully hammers in their bung wins.
- Pencil Pushing – The team captains race each other in this final segment where they have to complete their native governments tax paperwork. The other teams can shout numbers at each other to throw one another off. First to file without triggering an audit wins the segment.
- Craft Crushing – The first team to make a coherent definition of the term ‘craft’ wins. It is worth note that this segment has never been won by a team in the last 22 Technical Olympics.
It was a hard road wrought with fits and starts, but the Americans pulled out triumphant with a total of 4 segments won over the underdog, first-time competing nation of United Arab Emirates, who won 3 segments.
Every nation should be proud of what they did in the competition, but there can only be one winner (aside from Silver and Bronze) and we’re proud to say that this year it is the American team that made a show of their strength, intestinal fortitude, speed, accuracy, and sultry voices that is bringing home another victory for the U. S. of A.