6-Day Distiller Course – April 22-27, 2018


“The course is a terrific foundation for anyone already in the spirits industry or anyone wishing
to enter the industry.”          – Tim Shavers, October 2013 Graduate

INSTRUCTORS: Randy Allender, Luis Ayala, Matt Baugher, Steve Beam, Kristin Carlton, Larry Coomes, Greg Davis, Glenn Glaser, Jason Griffin, Lang Guenther, Dr. Pat Heist, Joe Heron, Paul Johnson, Pete Kamer, Jeff LaHue, Stacy Lauter, Robert Lehrman, Stephen Lukinovich, Dan Matauch, Jim McCoy, Paul McLaughlin, Chris Morris, Cash Moter, Andrew Mueller, Sid Mundkur, Tom Niekamp, Sherman Owen, Joy Perrine, Scott Reid, Rusty Riley, Don Rodgers, Jimmy Russell, Bill Samuels, Jr., Scott Schiller, Leo Sharkey, Mike Sherman, Rob Sherman, Jerry Siegler, Clay Smith, Peggy Noe Stevens, Kris Tatum, Carson Taylor, Paul Tomaszewski, Molly Wellmann, Mary Beth Williams, Roger Woods, Chris Zaborowski, Sara Zborovski, as well as Moonshine University and Flavorman instructors.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Register by April 2, 2018 for 5 nights at the Brown Hotel included with tuition.
Check-in date: 04/22/18, check-out date: 04/27/18


Learn from the best of the best, from distillers of the world’s most successful brands to the owners and operators of the leading craft distilleries. Over 40 industry experts are brought together under one roof to provide an intensive, practical, hands-on learning experience that combines technical training and business management education for start-ups, industry professionals, and those looking for careers in the distilling industry. This course, designed and taught by distillery operators, industry professionals, and master distillers, exposes attendees to the realities of the day-to-day operations from laying the first brick to getting finished product on the shelves. The technical aspects of distillate production are only the beginning. Challenges and opportunities from equipment selection to distribution channels to financial considerations are also explored.

Classroom instruction, coupled with hands-on experience and priceless networking opportunities combine to make our 5-Day Distiller Course the industry’s premier educational event.

Note: Speakers are subject to change due to last minute conflicts. As the exclusive educational member Kentucky Distillers’ Association, we have a pool of top notch industry experts from which to provide any necessary substitutions. We will notify all participants of any changes as soon as possible to the best of our ability.



This half-day class, starting at 1pm, offers aspiring distillers the opportunity to learn from an experienced distillery construction team. A comprehensive view will be provided by instructors consisting of the architect, general contractor, distillery engineer, key equipment manufacturers, financier, and others. Attendees will receive a detailed timeline, as well as an in-depth perspective of financial considerations, regulatory challenges and construction decision points for the on-time, on-budget construction/renovation of their distillery.

Key Steps & Timeline – Overview of critical decision points, when they should be implemented and their corresponding completion requirements.

Financial Considerations – Comprehensive cost analysis of a recently completed, fully-operational, craft distillery will provide a benchmark for budget development from construction, production and operational considerations.

Construction / Renovation – Moderated panel discussion featuring key stake-holders in the distillery construction process. Important considerations include:

  • Site Selection-Understand the critical considerations when selecting a site in regard to physical location and the corresponding budgetary ramifications.
  • Subcontractors- Identify and evaluate dependable subcontractors who possess the necessary skill sets to ensure quality craftsmanship.
  • Vendors- Ensure equipment compatibility and seamless integration through the understanding of key communications required from each provider.
  • Permitting- Understand key considerations with regards to municipal requirements on zoning, building, electrical, plumbing, water/sewer and hazardous materials.
  • Build-out- Itemize design and construction considerations for build-out phase of project including: layout and space requirements, utility service requirements, maintenance and material considerations and change order management.

Incentives & Government Support – Identify opportunities to attract state and local government incentives for your distillery, including an explanation of requirements and support materials likely necessary for consideration.


Distilling 101

Introduction to:

  • Mashing
  • Cooking
  • Fermenting
  • Types of stills
  • Distilling
  • Second distillation
  • Heads, hearts & tails
  • Basic terms
  • Distilling tools

Breakout Session: Distilling

  • Mash bill calculation
  • Hands on mashing

Distilling 102

More intensive study of the science and process of:

  • Mashing
  • Cooking
  • Fermenting (including a look at how yeasts affect fermentation and flavor)
  • Types of stills
  • Distilling
  • 2nd distillation
  • Heads, hearts & tails

Applications include a closer look at distilling, experimenting with yeast, and observing process through a glass still.

Breakout Session: Laboratory

  • A tour of Flavorman, the beverage development company, and bottling line.
  • Sensory evaluation of heads, hearts and tails.

Nuts & Bolts Networking Reception

Enjoy open discussion over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails with colleagues, presenters, vendors and industry VIPs.


TTB Licensing and Compliance

  • Overview of Laws and Regulations
  • Basic permit application
  • DSP Registration
  • Premises, equipment & operations
  • Records and reports overview


  • Sources of rum
  • Rum mash bill
  • Fermentation
  • Distillation
  • Aging and blending

Rum Mash Bill Calculation


Formulation and label approval process.


Production Process

  • Receiving grains
  • Grain handling
  • Milling, cooking and fermentation
  • Record keeping


  • Fermentation process
  • Equipment
  • Proof rating
  • Troubleshooting

Lunch with a Legend

Sit back and relax while we show you some genuine Kentucky hospitality. Enjoy stories of legendary brands told by the makers themselves. Past speakers include Jimmy Russel, Master Distiller at Wild Turkey, Bill Samuels, Jr., and Greg Davis from Maker’s Mark.

Oak 101

  • History of wooden barrels
  • Characteristics of oak
  • Aging, charring, toasting and barrel size
  • Oak products
  • Sensory analysis

Aging & Mingling

  • Warehousing
  • Rotations
  • Effects of aging
  • The art of mingling
  • Blending for consistency

Proofing & Finishing

  • Proofing & gauging
  • Filtering
  • Finishing

On & Off Premise Marketing

  • Type of packaging
  • Labels & closures
  • Case quantity
  • POS

Networking Reception and Dinner

Cocktails and dinner will provide another excellent opportunity for attendees, presenters and honored guests to enjoy informal conversation and build valuable relationships.


Artisan Distiller Panel

Presentations and Q&A with craft distillers and distillery owners


  • Vodka production
  • GNS
  • Production VS. buying bulk


  • Gin production methods
  • Popular gin ingredients
  • Botanical sensory

Vodka & Gin Sensory Evaluation

  • Compounded gin VS. distilled gin
  • Flavored Vodka


  • Distributor jargon
  • Three tier system
  • Choosing a distributor
  • Marketing your product
  • Distributor pricing

Vendome Tour

A field trip to tour the largest distilling equipment manufacturer in the United States.


Branding, Sales & Marketing

Case Study: Route to Market

Step by step: taking a new brand to market

Packaging & Closures

  • Packaging and closure options
  • Minimums
  • Custom orders
  • Pricing

Closing Remarks, Diplomas & Gifts

Out of stock