Episode #091 – Interview with David Scheurich and Lisa Wicker

In this episode we chat with Dave Scheurich, Former Distiller at Woodford Reserve and Whisky Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, and Lisa Wicker, owner and principal at Saints and Monsters Distillery Consulting.

The conversation was a lively one. Maybe even more lively than Alex and Jordan’s debates on simple syrup vs. sugar cubes. We can’t thank Dave and his wife Della enough for their hospitality while recording. On a Friday evening, they hosted us and had a wonderful time chatting, eating, and drinking for hours. We recorded an hour and half of the conversation that night, but missed some really great stories in three and half hours that turned into the “angel’s share” of the conversation.

Throughout the evening, we discuss how imbibers can best develop a palate and vocabulary for whiskey tasting, the importance or non-importance of age statements, the future of Bourbon, and enjoying the spirit at home. Along with some great stories.

Both are distillers, both live in Kentucky, and both prefer to drink whiskey neat or on the rocks. Only one of them is Jordan’s mother. We’ve included short bios on each below:

David Scheurich

Dave Scheurich is the retired General Manager and Distiller for The Woodford Reserve Distillery. Dave began his career with Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Inc. in 1969 serving in a variety of production positions. In 1983 he relocated to Detroit, MI and worked as the Production Manager for Seven-Up/Detroit before returning to Kentucky as the Director of Bottling for Wild Turkey. Dave then switched industries and became the Vice-President and General Manager for Kentucky Paper Box before joining Brown-Forman.

He joined Brown-Forman in 1989 as the Facilities Maintenance, Construction and Security Manager for the corporate headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. He is widely credited with reviving Woodford Reserve well before the Bourbon Renaissance took hold.

Dave retired from Brown-Forman and Woodford Reserve in December, 2010 and started a consulting business called High Spirits Enterprise, LLC which helps entrepreneurs create alcoholic products, design distilleries, and develop operational procedures. He is currently the Master Distiller for Boondocks.

He was the recipient of Whiskey Advocate magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012.

Lisa Wicker

Lisa began her career in wine production, starting as a part-time grape picker at a local vineyard in southern Indiana. She began her alcohol production career in earnest when she started working for Brown County Winery in Gnaw Bone, Indiana. A few years later she was asked to help a Kentucky vintner to be the head winemaker for a new winery—which included designing and overseeing the construction of the winery facility. Happy accident led to her first job in spirits production at Limestone Branch Distillery near Lebanon, Kentucky where she was credited with the creation of several new products.

After an ownership change at Limestone Branch, she joined Starlight Distillery at Huber Winery where she oversaw several projects including rum, whiskey, and brandy projects. Next she oversaw the design and construction of the facilities for Preservation Distillery in Bardstown.

As owner and principal for Saints and Monsters Distillery Consulting, Lisa is currently working with clients on several whiskey projects. Although he’s humble about the whole thing, Lisa credits Dave as her mentor in the distilling industry.

If you’d like more in her own unedited words, here is a stream of consciousness with Lisa.

We’ve got more on Bourbon Heritage Month in  last week’s episode. And more on Bourbon Cocktails in this episode from last year.