After more than 30 years in the beverage industry, Master Distiller Ken Pierce (pictured atop) is retiring from Barton 1792 Distillery, the company said in a press release.
Pierce’s early days in the distilled spirits industry started with Barton Brands of Georgia (now defunct) where he was plant chemist and later quality control manager. After six years, the company transferred him to Bardstown, KY, to its distillery now known as Barton 1792 Distillery.
Pierce started his work in Bardstown as Senior Chemist. A short time later was named chief chemist, then director of distillation before being named master distiller.
During Pierce’s time with the company, he had the opportunity to train under three previous master distillers. He was also able to lend his expertise to many industry-wide projects, including the George Washington Distillery project, as part of a group that used historically accurate equipment to distill rye whiskey at Mount Vernon Plantation in Virginia. The distillate was aged and sold at auctions to raise funds to rebuild the distillery.
At Barton 1792 Distillery, Pierce was involved in all aspects of bourbon production, from the evaluation of incoming grain to the selection of mature whiskey. He was instrumental in the development of 1792 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and in the recent line extensions.
Pierce’s retirement is effective May 13, 2016. A replacement has not yet been named.