University of Louisville Magazine

WINTER-SPRING 2018

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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41 WINTER/SPRING 2018 filtration: the industrial distillery side of the operation grabbed her attention. And, slowly, that interest developed into a passion for distilling spirits. Barnes was on a fast track at Brown-For- man. She was Woodford Reserve's first master taster and master distiller heir-ap- parent when two friends who planned to house a new distillery in the historic Old Taylor Distillery in Frankfort lured her away. She left her role at Brown-Forman to help lead Castle & Key. Castle & Key hasn't put out its first bourbon yet — look for it in 2020 — but instead started with a gin. There's a gar- den, the Botanical Trail, on the property for herbs and such, so Barnes can play with flavors and put her chemical engi- neering degree to work. "[Distilling] is more than just num- bers ... It's a living thing really because you have the yeast and all these other tem- peratures and times and environments that shape what the flavor is going to be," she explained. Then there's the aging, the "mysterious magic at the end." he's not quite 30 years old, she's a woman and she's not shy, making Castle & Key Master Distiller Mar- ianne Barnes another clear indicator that Kentucky craft spirits are focused on the future, not just living in the past. In 2015 when she joined Castle & Key, Barnes became the first woman since Prohibition to be named master distiller in Kentucky. Her job is to come up with the products that will revive a long-abandoned spirits company and distillery in Frankfort that is being meticulously restored. She is loving every minute of the jour- ney, but she didn't know that having a career as a master distiller was even a pos- sibility until she interned at Brown-For- man as part of her Speed School education. "If I had seen someone in this position maybe I would have known this was pos- sible for me," Barnes said. Barnes decided to major in chemical engineering at the urging of her father. After taking some time between high school and college to help her mother open a boutique, she attended the Speed School and earned her bachelor's degree in 2012. Always interested in automobiles, Barnes originally thought she'd go into the biodiesel industry. "I really thought I wanted to do renew- able energy research," she said. "I had a lit- tle bit of an automotive background and I really wanted to save the world. I thought renewable energy would get me there." That all changed after she went to a Speed School career fair, where she interviewed with as many companies as she could to find an internship. One of the companies happened to be Louis- ville-based Brown-Forman. "That was the one everyone wanted and I was lucky enough to get the offer," Barnes said. "The co-op program can put you on a path you didn't expect. I started working with them as an intern and I ended up falling in love with the industry." Pumps, heat exchangers, blending and Wilson at Michter's distillery in Louisville. found steady work as a consultant for differ- ent types of manufacturers. While doing con- tract work for UK-based Diageo, the world's largest producer of spirits, Wilson was asked to manage the resurrection of warehouse operations at the former Stitzel-Weller dis- tillery in Louisville. After the company downsized and her position was eliminated, she was asked to join Michter's, which was being resurrected by the Magliocco family. "I thought, 'This will be a great opportu- nity to be a part of leaving a legacy and build- ing a brand,' " she said. Wilson knows it is unique that both she and the master distiller at Michter's are women. "And while we don't care much about being called out as women, I recognize that women are now being recognized for their contributions to this industry," she said. MARIANNE BARNES, 12S Master distiller, Castle & Key Barnes speaks to current Speed School students during a pre- sentation in February. The queen of the castle

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