The notion of crafting whisky with better quality ingredients and in smaller quantity, over time-tested production methods, gave rise to the concept of producing small batch whisky. Introduced by Bill Samuels Sr., a man who could look beyond the sales data or market trend, into unconventional bourbon making, his Maker’s Mark whisky had a significant journey toward success, since the fall of 1959. Till date, Maker’s Mark distills only nineteen barrels of bourbon each day, as opposed to hundreds distilled by large-scale producers.
The rise of Woodford Reserve in 1996 changed the direction of small batch whisky production. The Brown-Forman company restored the original site where Elijah Pepper and Dr James C. Crow once made fine bourbon. Following an age-old tradition, they made use of copper pot stills to make high-quality whisky. An old distillery was thus reborn, out of a passion for small batch distilling, to rediscover old traditions, and blend it with the demands of the modern times.
The perk of making small batch whisky production is that it offers a huge space for experimentation and innovation, for distillers. Trey Zoeller, the founder of Jefferson’s, started experimenting with the process of ageing bourbon, by exposing the barrels to changing the weather, and then water. The theory behind this was that the boat’s movement would ensure a constant contact of the bourbon with the barrel, hence speeding up the ageing process. The result was an unmistakable salted caramel finish in Jefferson’s Ocean, calling it a very small batch, making it exclusive.