A Day in the Life of a Distiller: Sally (Manager)

5:23AM – Wakeup to the sounds of the garbage truck going past. In a daze think to yourself… the garbage truck doesn’t normally come at this time. Why can I hear birds? Holy crap, did I set my alarm?! Check your phone. Your alarm was meant to go off at 4:55AM but you had set it for 4:55PM. CRAP! Jump out of bed. Throw on some clothes. Grab a coffee. Jump in the car. GO!

6:10AM – Arrive to the distillery 10 minutes late. Oops. Make a mental note to stay back 10 minutes to make up for it.

6:12AM – Turn on the pot still still, aptly named Grizzly. He’s been prefilled with a whisky Mash by yesterday’s evening distiller. Bless her cotton socks. Grizzly is one of the later additions to Tiny Bear’s fleet of stills. He was lovingly cobbled together by two other stills previously used for industrial use by a local coppersmith. Waste not want not! We decided we’d give him a second chance at life so he can spend his retirement quietly churning out the good stuff.

6:14AM – Turn on the column still, Boo Boo. Boo Boo is the work horse of the distillery, pumping out rounds of house fermented base spirit and then quickly shifting over to batches of gin as required. Poor fella, he works a lot. You turn on the water pumps to cool the stills condensers. That’ll ease them into their morning nicely.

6:18AM – Start processing the online orders for the day. You hand write the notes for the orders that are to be given as gifts. You note that your handwriting isn’t looking too shabby today. Pat yourself on the back. You pack the orders up and arrange them neatly in a pile for the courier.

6:40AM – You start mixing up the botanicals for your gin run today. Today we’re making the Gypsy Gin. You begin to blend the botanicals together and the smell that wafts throughout the distillery is incredible. Juniper, peppers, spices, lemons, limes, cucumber. Delicious! Once the botanicals are blended you fill the botanical basket. Now we wait for the gin to come through.

Gypsy Gin Botanicals

7:01AM – Check the stills. Grizzly is still quite a way off boiling however Boo Boo is just starting to trickle out some gin. You release some of the oils from the botanicals out of the still. Packed full of flavours, this stuff is liquid gold. Don’t worry, we’ll use it again later. You check the alcohol percentage of the gin coming off the still, it’s 95%. Hoooo boy is that strong! Now you just need to keep a constant eye on this still and keep emptying the jugs of gin that come off it.

7:45AM – Grizzly has boiled and the low wines are starting to come out of the still’s parrot. Perfect. As with the other still you or one of the other distillers will be keeping an eye on it all day.

Spirit coming off the Still

7:46AM – You flit around cleaning various things and making it all shine. Check the fridges, how are the stocks of cheese for the busy cellar door day that’s coming up on Saturday? You’ll need an actual ton of cheese. You’ll be making about 50 cheeseboards that day. You check various other things that might need ordering in the distillery too.

8:01AM – The second distiller arrives. His job today will be to run the bottling machine and organise the warehouse. Have fun byeeeee! You keep doing odd jobs whilst watching the stills.

9:00AM – The third distiller and the big mean boss arrives. You tell the big mean boss about how you were 10 minutes late and you’ll make up the time. He says to not worry, you can have the 10 minutes (because he’s actually super rad and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body – gotcha!). Tell your lovely distillery co-worker about all the things that are happening today, and all the things she’ll need to be doing. Handover complete.

9:10AM – Head upstairs to the office. Place an order for a bunch of things including $400 worth of butter. This is probably one of the more absurd transactions you’ve had to make, but you aren’t worried because you know what it’s going to be used for. The product that you’ve been working on for the last 10 months that you are so excited for, and so proud of. The barrel aged, butter washed, HOT CROSS BUTTERED GIN! You’ve already done a trial of the butter wash on the gin and it is literally one of the tastiest things you’ve ever tried. So full of butter flavours on top of a gin that was originally crafted with all of the lovely, dried fruits and spices you’d find in a hot cross bun, that you then barrel aged for 6 months. You pat yourself on the back again, this is gonna be a good one.

10:21AM – Start writing this blog post. Take forever to do it because you forgot how much you enjoy writing stuff.

10:52AM – Realise you’ve spent a long time on the blog post, put it on pause for the moment. Also you’re starving, it’s time for a break.

10:55AM – Head to the shops and grab a sandwich. If you hadn’t accidentally slept in you would’ve brought your own lunch in, but hey, this local sandwich place does a mean sanga. Plus the lady who makes the sandwiches here is named Sal, and your name is Sal, so its basically like you made your own lunch. Besides, who doesn’t love supporting local?

11:25AM - Head down to the warehouse and help on the bottling line for a few hours. It’s a never-ending job, and probably more pressing than this blog post at the present moment (even though this is more fun).

Bottling Barrel Aged Sailor

13:45PM – Jump back on the computer and check your emails. Finalise this blog post, send it off to the boss for proof reading.

2:00PM – Head home. You did it! 

Distillery Manager
Authors note: It's hard to jump really high and smile normally at the same time. The big mean boss made me upload this one. Enjoy! 

- Sally T, Tiny Bear Distillery Manager

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