|Distillery continues blend of old and new|
|Written by Shelly King|
|Wednesday, January 02, 2013 10:09 PM|
There are exciting things in store for the historic, industrial landmark formerly known as Seagram’s Distillery. The distillery, purchased by Kansas-based MGP Ingredients Inc. last October, is now MGPI of Indiana.
On a recent tour of the Greendale distillery, plant manager Jim Vinoski highlighted the distillery’s past as well as plans for its future.
Bottles of spirits are proudly displayed along all of the windowsills of Vinoski’s office.
He came to MGP from Minnesota-based General Mills, and although he has been with the company for only a short time, he is honored and excited to be part of their distillery operations, he said.
The first stop on the tour were the grain silos. Soaring almost two-hundred feet in the air, MGP buys the majority of its corn from local farmers, said Vinoski.
MGP goes through more than over 40,000 tons of grain a month, he said.
Continuing on, the corn is cooked with different mixtures of grains to produce bourbons, ryes, and neutral spirits, vodka, rum, gin. The cooking time is usually 24 hours, after which the product is fermented for about 72 hours, said Vinoski.
Depending on the spirit, the finished product then goes through one to six different distilling steps before it is wood-barreled and aged in MGP’s massive barrel storage warehouse, he explained.
How much MGP produces and how long it is aged, though, is a trade secret, said Vinoski.
It is then sent to a bottling facility, such as local bottler, Proximo, who purchased the Lawrenceburg bottling portion of the distillery last October.
Spirits aren’t the only thing manufactured at the distillery. After cooking the liquid product, it passes through a massive screening process to retrieve the excess grains. The grains are then dried in the drying facility, pressed, and dried again, said Vinoski.
The finished byproduct is a superior, protein-rich supplement for livestock and poultry.
With the grain originating from, then returning to the farm, the process is cyclical in nature, he said.
MGP is making technological strides as it is incorporating new, cutting-edge technology to more efficiently process the byproduct.
One of those additions is a more efficient, and environmentally-friendly drying machine for the grains, said Vinoski.