The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 105 of 132

aking WITH DAVE SCHEURICH AS MASTER DISTILLER, THE TENNESSEE SPIRITS COMPANY IS THINKING BIG story and photos by Fred Minnick A s Dave Scheurich tilts the Prohibition-era still back, showing ax slits made by a revenue agent, I couldn't help but think about the original owner. Agents likely stormed his Kentucky hill hideout, held him at gunpoint and stripped him of his illicit livelihood. These Prohibition stories are colorful and rich with characters, but for the longest time, nobody cared about this history. We all knew Prohibition was the experiment that didn't work, but our culture didn't embrace the era as it does today. The result was so much whiskey past discarded on the scrap heap. But Scheurich, Master Distiller for The Tennessee Spirits Company, has always tried to keep whiskey history alive. In fact, when the History Channel's American Pickers wanted a whiskey still education, the producers called Scheurich, one of the country's top whiskey collectors. He gave the network substantial background used on a recent episode. Scheurich's museum-worthy collection includes an 80-year-old yeast jug popular before refrigeration units became affordable, a wicker-enclosed demijohn once used to hold whiskey, a half dozen stills, a one-of-a-kind bronze- Scheurich shows off a Prohibition-era still in his collection that sports ax slits made by a revenue agent. sculpted Woodford Reserve bottle and many whiskies he has collected from the likes of Wild Turkey's Jimmy Russell and Jim Beam's Fred Noe. Scheurich likely knows more about the copper stills used in the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee than anybody else in the country. "Yeah, I've been known to collect stuff," Scheurich says. What Retirement? Once, when working for another distillery, Scheurich saw workers throwing away old barrel stencils. Instead july 2012 / the tasting panel / 105

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