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Consume®econnection Project

For his 30th birthday last month, New Yorker Scott Ballum embarked on the Consume®econnection Project, a year-long effort to meet the people who make the stuff he buys. For everything he consumes, Scott wants to establish a personal connection with someone along the production chain, be it a designer,..\n




For his 30th birthday last month, New Yorker Scott Ballum embarked on the Consume®econnection Project, a year-long effort to meet the people who make the stuff he buys. For everything he consumes, Scott wants to establish a personal connection with someone along the production chain, be it a designer, a factory worker, or even a trucker.

He's chronicling the experience online. Barely two months in, Scott has already encountered some obstacles, but a recent trip to the Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky was rewarding. We'll be following the project with interest.



The Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky

When we finally snuck away from the pimento cheese finger sandwiches and headed towards some buildings not on the tour, we found ourselves approaching a tall, burly fellow in a brown MM sweatshirt, work boots, and well-worn cowboy hat. A Godsend.

Jude is a barrel-roller. He is one of about 18 guys who rolls empty barrels off trucks from the warehouse into the cistern, where they are filled with whiskey ready to become bourbon, and then rolls the full barrels back onto another truck to go back to the warehouse. 360 barrels a day, each one 150 pounds empty, 500+ pounds full. But as Jude put it, "It's not so bad, you let the whiskey do the work."

Given that all of the Maker's Mark Bourbon in the world is distilled in Loretto, and that Jude is one of only eighteen people who move these barrels, there's a high likelihood that much of the Maker's I've consumed in bars or at home, and will continue to consume, was aged in barrels he's rolled.





Vats of bourbon











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