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Mr. Roy Hawse, Mr. Edwin S. Foote

May 29, 1985

by Thomas H. Syvertsen

SYVERTSEN: Mr. Hawse, can you give us a biographical sketch of yourself? When did you come into the distilling industry, and how did you happen to choose it?

HAWSE: I didn't really choose it.

SYVERTSEN: It chose you.

HAWSE: Yes. I started in 1933 over at Frankfort Distillery. You know where Frankfort was; don't you, Ed?

FOOTE: Yeah.

HAWSE: Seagram bought Frankfort out, during our strike that time. And, I went to work there; and it wasn't quite finis hed in '33. So, I worked around there; we put in a mills (?); we put in fer men tors, and _____ _____ __. The last of December, we started making mash, so we'd have it on New Years Day in '34. And, that was the beginning of the whole work, right there. Actually, I was out looking for a job; and I went by there; and they give me a job.


SYVERTSEN: You just happened to walk by?

HAWSE: And, I worked in the fermenting room to start with. Then, from there, they had a strike in the warehouse; and the union struck -- the Carpenters' Union struck the distillery; and they moved us up to old Stitzel's plant. You know where old Stitzel plant was, Ed; do you remember that?


HAWSE: On Story Avenue. A.P.H. Stitzel Company had a plant up there. And, Frankfort had bought it out.


HAWSE: And, they renovated it and could mash 1,100 bushel up there; and, when we had to cut back at this plant around here, we didn't have any warehouses; we was hauling 640 - 22-gallon kegs a day up to Brook and Main and putting them in that --



HAWSE: Kegs, 22-gallon kegs.

SYVERTSEN: 22-gallon kegs. Well, those are small kegs.

HAWSE: Yeah, they was about that high.

SYVERTSEN: Why the small kegs?

HAWSE: Because everybody was rushing to get his whiskey on the market, and 22-gallon kegs color up -- pick up color quicker than it would in a larger barrel, regular size barrel. And, they would run it through -- they had a tunnel dug, just about that wide -- about three feet wide and about three feet high -- and they had steam coils in there, and they'd run these barrels through that and that would heat them up each keg.

SYVERTSEN: Speed the aging?

HAWSE: Yeah, and then they'd haul them up there and put them in ricks.

SYVERTSEN: So, they actually warmed up the barrels itself with the new whiskey inside?

HAWSE: Right. And, it colored quicker that way.


SYVERTSEN: How much would you warm them up?

HAWSE: You couldn't warm them up too much. It would depend natu rally on what it was you put in there. But, it would get up there around 80, 90 degrees; and it would pick up color quick. And, they'd bottle it and put it on the market. It wasn't too good a whiskey. I mean, it was good whiskey; but it didn't have the age to it yet.

SYVERTSEN: But, it had color.

HAWSE: It had color. It colored quick. After they started up there at Story Avenue, Mr. Van Winkle, Mr. Stitzel and Farnsley --

SYVERTSEN: Charles Farnsley?

HAWSE: Yeah -- No, his grandfather.

SYVERTSEN: His grandfather.

HAWSE: Right. They had a little place on Main Street, when whiskey first came back, called W. L. Weller. They bought that out. They was whiskey salesmen to start with, and Stitzel owned the plant up on Story Avenue. And, they all three 4:00got together and built this place. And, when they first built this place, we had a bottling house on Main Street -- Second and Main -- in one of those old brick buildings where they made gin, brought their alcohol in steel drums, made gin and bottled that there, and Stitzel had several warehouses up there --

SYVERTSEN: He had some pretty whiskey.

HAWSE: He also had a bottling house. And, then they come out here in '34 and started building this plant. And, then, in '35 -- April '35 -- we started up. And started up 500 bushel. Of course, there was a lot of difference in what it was then and is now, you know. We only had about three or four men in the warehouse. We didn't have a bottling house at all. It was all done up there. Of 5:00course, we didn't bottle any right away. And, they was a little short on money at that time. So, they started selling warehouse receipt. And, they'd bring those people down from Ohio by the Greyhound bus load.

SYVERTSEN: Bus load?

HAWSE: Yeah, they'd sell them a barrel of whiskey or ten or twenty, whatever they wanted. And, business started booming; and they started building warehouses. How many have they got now, about eighteen, Ed?

FOOTE: Yeah.

HAWSE: And, they'd build them just as fast as they'd get one done, they'd start another one. And, sometimes, we'd have to go out and rent space in other warehouses, like old General up there, you know; we'd rent space in there and haul the barrels up there; and, then, when we'd get a warehouse finished, we'd 6:00haul them back. It really went over good. And, we'd keep adding on to this plant here and ration more trying to catch up, you know, until we finally got 2,250 bushels, still one of _____________________ distilleries.

SYVERTSEN: When did you reach 2,250? Was this the 1950's or the '60's period?

HAWSE: No, we was mashing 2,250 in about '43, I guess it was, something like that. We'd step up, you know, 1,500 --

SYVERTSEN: That was the war period.

HAWSE: Yeah. Well, then we got cut back on grain; and you were allowed a certain percentage of grain your so-many bushels; and, when you mashed that, you had to quit. Then, we put in alcohol ____________ and started making alcohol in gallons. A lot of grits, wheat grits; did you ever see wheat grits, Ed?

FOOTE: No, I never did.

HAWSE: Look like flour, and the whole plant begins to look like flour. Every place, unloading in there.

SYVERTSEN: Did that have to be milled?


HAWSE: No, the only thing we done was crack the malt. And, get a fantastic brew of alcohol(?). We made 193-proof alcohol. Made good alcohol. Watered down red rubber(?).

SYVERTSEN: Butyl rubber?

HAWSE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: And, so they just took it right across the river, I guess.

HAWSE: Loaded in trucks and took it right to these plants.

SYVERTSEN: Was it all sold for butyl rubber, or did some go for munitions powder?

HAWSE: Possibly some of it would go even for medicinal purposes. Because it was real good alcohol, and some people made it out of potatoes and things like that.

SYVERTSEN: But, you didn't do that here, though; use potatoes? You just used this flour, right?

HAWSE: Yeah, we just used wheat grits. You know, it looked like flour ----- bran 8:00out of it.

SYVERTSEN: And, they did not denature it?

HAWSE: What?

SYVERTSEN: They didn't denature it; they didn't put anything in it to make it --?

HAWSE: We cut back on the malt some, you know. Used to have some diversion(?). And, that helped the yield some, too. Made it a little cheaper; ____________________________wasn't near as much as fifty bushel of malt.

SYVERTSEN: And, then that ended at about the time the war ended?

HAWSE: Yeah, that was the end of it.

SYVERTSEN: How much were you actually making during the peak war production period?

HAWSE: How many gallons?


HAWSE: Well, let's see, about five thousand gallons a day. You only make half as much alcohol as you would whiskey, but that's still a lot of alcohol.

SYVERTSEN: Yeah. Was this plant known as Old Fitzgerald at that point?


HAWSE: Right. No, no. Stitzel-Weller.

SYVERTSEN: It was Stitzel-Weller.

HAWSE: That's right.

SYVERTSEN: And, when it was started, back in '34, it was called --?

HAWSE: Stitzel-Weller.

SYVERTSEN: Stitzel-Weller. Well, when did the name-change take place?

HAWSE: That didn't start taking place 'til, I'd say '65, something like that.

FOOTE: It was after the strike that it generally became known as Old Fitzgerald. Old Fitzgerald was one of the brands, but the guys that left during the strike -- see, they worked for me, a lot of them -- and they always called it Stitzel-Weller --

HAWSE: Yeah. It was after the strike -- around '65.

SYVERTSEN: Well, when did the road out front get changed to Fitzgerald Road? Was 10:00that after the strike?

HAWSE: Well, Julian had that changed in the last few years. This road through here was just a gravel road.

SYVERTSEN: This was the main road, Old Public Road, a long time; wasn't it?

HAWSE: This one back here was, Tucker Avenue. ____________________. The distillery had that cut off and used that. They didn't want people to go through there all the time.

SYVERTSEN: Understandable. I'd like to ask you: were there any particular ____________ in making this industrial alcohol versus making whiskey alcohol -- I mean, what differences come to mind as you reflect back over that period?

HAWSE: One problem -- we had fusel oil to deal with. We never had that you know.

SYVERTSEN: Fusel oil.

HAWSE: Yeah, and that -- we had a lot of that. We'd have to sepa rate it, you know, and bring it back and put it in a tank; and then you had to wash it in salt water and all that, you know, _______________ sell it to people who make perfume. And, then, we decided, "well, that would not work out", so we'd run our 11:00little three-quarter pipe ____________ back to fermenting; and, every time you'd step in there, it'd take your breath; you'd be coughing, you know what I mean. We put up with it until it was over with. We used to ship out quite a bit of fusel oil in barrels and we had that big old-timed ---

SYVERTSEN: Was all this fusel oil used for perfume, or was it used __________________.

HAWSE: I think ________________.

FOOTE: That's what I always heard that they used it for. It was so foul smelling you wondered, how could they use it as a --

HAWSE: They used that as a base. That's about the only thing. Of course, you had to have to have alcohol________________, and that's a lot better than a regular whiskey stamp. You got so many more plates in it, cuts and all that. 12:00_____________ _____________________________. Then, you had to have _____ ______________________up there to cool your vapors coming off of it, you know. There's a difference. But, once you set up for it, the method's just about the same

SYVERTSEN: _______________________________?

HAWSE: Well, one thing, you kill all the birds that come in the top. You have to find the pigeons ---

SYVERTSEN: I wish I had known about that some time ago. I could have run the pigeons off my house.

HAWSE: Then, we had pumps, steam pumps, and we had to climb the steps about every hour and check___________________. Now, they've put in electric pumps.

SYVERTSEN: Of course, the engineers were younger then.


HAWSE: Yes. I was younger, too. ___________________________, quite a bit younger.

SYVERTSEN: Were there a lot more brands that were produced back in '36?

HAWSE: About a hundred.

SYVERTSEN: About a hundred?

HAWSE: Yes. Maybe more. There were ______________________ we had as _________________________. You know, you bottle other labels -- Brown Derby ________________________. And, that got to be a _____________________________. And, these people wanted it. A fellow would come all the way down here to see the Derby, he wanted to see a barrel of whiskey, so we'd have to send a crew over there _________________________.

SYVERTSEN: _______________ barrel, huh?

HAWSE: _________________, taste it ______________. Under govern ment supervision.


SYVERTSEN: Of course.

HAWSE: And, that was another problem that they don't have today. The government. When they first -- whiskey first come back after prohibition ______________________ enforcement offi cers in the field ______________________

SYVERTSEN: And, you were the bad guys? They saw you as the bad guys as they had _______________? Out in the field _____________?

HAWSE: He was out to get 'em.

SYVERTSEN: Some of them even had _______________ arms, didn't they?

HAWSE: That's right.

SYVERTSEN: Some carried ________________ arms?

HAWSE: Yeah. They were allowed to do that. Every once in a while, you'd see one. They have storekeeper gauges _____________ __. You had one to watch the warehouse all the time. One would help you out on the grain floor. You had to go 15:00get him, take him ________________________. You had one lock ___________________, you opened up _________________ way up to grain ______________ put a government lock on it and keep a record of that. And, you ______________________________.

SYVERTSEN: Did you have a full-time one?

HAWSE: We sure did. He wore a white coat just like in a nut house.

SYVERTSEN: Was it a different guy _________________________?

HAWSE: No. We had a fellow that run the samples. Now, when you sent a fermenter up there, ______________ called him and ____________________ dry answers from the top __________ a certain amount __________________ and you got ready to drop it _____________________ whichever you'd do, you'd have to call him again. You'd see__________________________ on the beer platform up there________________________ and let him go up there and _________________; 16:00he'd get a sample of that beer and take it back to the government office and ________ ________ alcohol content was _____________________.

SYVERTSEN: __________________

HAWSE: ____________ had to do it real often ________________ before he got good at it.


HAWSE: Then, they had a _____________ chains on the still 17:00________________________, had a chain on the _____________ ___ in the boiler room _________________ up where you come from the middle __________________

SYVERTSEN: ________________ up there?

HAWSE: Mm hmm. I mean it ________________________________. You had to go up there and unlock it in the morning. _________ ______________________ and fasten up chains _______________ ______. Everything had to be locked. ___________________ ___ steam down there on the still, that had to be ________________________________________________ distillery ____________bottling house. __________________________. They had a little wash _______________________ fermenter. __________________________________________________ had to be locked. _________________ sitting around here; the government man was late _________________ sitting around waiting for him. ____________ And ___________ Then, when they filled that thing, he'd weigh it again. He'd weigh it at night and the next day ________________. Then, we'd raise it to ______________. It got more expensive _______ saving barrels. Them barrels was $2.50 or $3.00 ________. 18:00I guess they're more than that now.

FOOTE: They're around seventy.

HAWSE: ________________ barrel of whiskey ______________ bring them in and _______________ quite a job.

SYVERTSEN: What _____________________?


SYVERTSEN: Was one of the jobs of the master distiller to check the barrels before they were actually filled with the new whiskey?

HAWSE: That came under warehouse superintendent; that was his job. Actually, the 19:00master distiller, like Ed here, he's in charge of that whiskey until it comes out of that cistern room over there and goes to the warehouse. If anything happens to it in there, that's Ed's; but, filling of the barrels and everything belongs to the warehouse crew. But, he's respon sible. Now, if they would go off and leave a valve open and run it on the floor over there, which they have done, they'd blame me for it again. And, the government -- you've got to write a letter and explain why and everything. And, the warehouse superintendent wouldn't be responsible; but his people, when they get through, they'd have to drain out and carry it back, put it back in the tank for the next day. If they don't close that drain valve down there, then you've lost some whiskey.

SYVERTSEN: Before it _____________?

HAWSE: Before ______________ whiskey ran ____________________. And, we had about, by that time, after we pumped up, I guess we had 25 barrels ________. Under those cisterns, they have a concrete wall run, a concrete floor that's to catch that whiskey. And, it would, it would catch it. Anyway, I'd get a pump and 20:00pump it out of there and carry it back to the beer well and put it in the beer well and leave it set.

SYVERTSEN: Nothing went to waste!

HAWSE: Oh, you had a loss, maybe as much as a barrel. But--

SYVERTSEN: That's an interesting tale, though. You actually took it off the floor and then redistilled it again, to save. That is an inter esting part, I think.

HAWSE: Yeah. Well, the government wouldn't let you put it back in the cistern, you know, them barrels like that; but you wouldn't really want to -- no telling what's in there -- people throw candy wrappers and all that stuff down in there, you know. One time, we had a couple loads of wheat. And, we shut down for 21:00vacation -- three weeks -- and it went on -- you remember me telling you about those windows up there -- if you'll open them windows, they'll stand like that; they're kind of a different window. You can pull them all the way down with a chain, you know; and the fellows will do that to get more air. Then, when it rains, it'll rain in on top of those storage bins; and they was wood; and it would go right down through them. By the time we come back from vacation, we had us some wheat -- we started running the wheat and it was mushy. Well, they didn't know what to do. So, we went ahead and used up the wheat; oh, I guess we 22:00had a thousand barrels of whiskey with that in it. We had different kind of opinions about it -- some said it was good; some said it wasn't so good. So, they didn't want to take a chance. So, when the time was up on it -- four years -- they bottled it as Old Elves(?). They didn't want to put it in Old Fitzgerald or Cabin Still. You know, that started selling; and it sold so good, they couldn't get away from it. I said, "What do you want to do; do you want to make more from mouldy wheat?"

SYVERTSEN: I thought that was a __________ I was just telling you. It must be wheat.

HAWSE: It really went over good.

FOOTE: But, you know, back in the old days, when a lot of the bourbon was in a bottle with a cork in it and you had a corkiness there, some of those old-time bourbon drinkers, they weren't as -- they didn't mind that mouldy or musty odor 23:00as they would now. Probably today it wouldn't go over so big.

HAWSE: That could have been one of the reasons, too. Now, they don't use any corks any more at all. They have much better screw tops. But, they used to dip those corks in paraffin. But, you still lose whiskey. The volume of the whiskey will go down in it, but it won't these screw caps. We've had them set, loaded distributors and have them set there maybe for years. And, then when they start to ship it out to their customers, some of it's down that much; some of it's down to sugar in the bottom. And, then we'd get it back. They'd bring it in here by the truckloads sometimes.


FOOTE: I had a great uncle that was talking about that, whenever it was legal to send whiskey by mail, I guess -- Blackburn Moore was his name -- and he was talking about helping deliver the mail and how the guy showed him how that you could take a couple of straws from the field and puncture the cork -- you puncture the cork and put one straw in for an air hole and the other straw in to suck through and you could get you a drink out of a whiskey jug while you were delivering the mail.

SYVERTSEN: A delightful story!

FOOTE: It would seal out well, too, I imagine, because, when you pulled the little straw out, it was so tiny; but it would be down just a drink.

HAWSE: Well, you know, during prohibition, some of those -- of course, the gangsters and everybody, you know - they'd take an electric needle, real hot, and turn his bottle upside down and there wouldn't be any liquid in the bottom of the bottle. It would burn a hole right through it, you know. Burn right into it and take whiskey out.

SYVERTSEN: With an electric needle!


HAWSE: Yeah, heat it, you know, to melt that glass. I've tried to bore -- we used to bore holes in _____________ and put it on a drill press over in the shop. You'd have to do that, you know, when you're using for displays. Sometimes, they'd have that ________________ stacked full of them over there, you know; and you'd break about every other bottle you know, trying to bore holes. Found out an old 16-penny nail would do about as good as anything. You'd finally burn a hole in it, but you'd break a lot of bottles. Glass everywhere.

FOOTE: When you started up in 1934, were you -- not necessarily you the individual, you, the distillers -- were you worried about the influence of the 26:00former mob group upon the industry? In other words, were you afraid that the rum-runners and the bootleggers of the '20's and early '30's would re-assert themselves and somehow, you know, tend to dominate the operation once the industry became legal again after repeal in '33 and '34; was that a problem; was that a worry?

HAWSE: I don't think ever a problem. Although they would go around to these warehouses and steal whiskey; they'd back up a truck, you know, at these country distilleries; cut a hole in the fence and go in and go into the warehouse through the windows and take the barrels out. But, I don't know that that would have anything to do with organized crime or anything like that. People did do 27:00that, you know. They had a problem with that for a while. They'd rob warehouses. We never did have that problem here. We lost a barrel one time -- a barrel of whiskey. We took about twenty barrels over to the bottling house. At that time, we had a ramp; it went up to the back porch on the back side of the bottle. It wasn't near as big as it is now; I'm talking about just a little bottle across the railroad track. And, they would take those barrels up there and leave them set there until, you know, you had to head them up and squigg(?) the heads off of them, you know, stamp -- you had to put a stamp on them. And, then they'd sell these barrels for a quarter a piece when they was empty. If it was a dump man, he'd dump the barrel in the inside. Just had a trough you set them up on at that time, and you'd roll it right back out there on the porch and set it there and then a farmer or somebody would come along that wanted the barrel or the bottling house superintendent, we'd sell it to him for a quarter. So, he sold 28:00the barrel for a quarter; and the guy went out there and he had an old trailer on the back of his car, and he rolled a full barrel on it. Just looking at it, you don't know the difference, you know, unless you get up there and examine it and see whether the stamp is off or some thing. Well, his tire went flat on that old trailer, so he goes over the bottling house and borrows a jack from the government man, goes over and jacks his trailer up and changed the tire on it, pulled out and left and then missed that barrel; you know how it is -- the serial number come up missing. Well, everybody had a different idea about the color of the car, the color of the trailer, what kind of looking fellow he was 29:00-- everybody had a different idea. Never did find the barrel. The government agent scarred(?) us into town; they didn't want to lose that tax.

FOOTE: Oh, man, I'll bet that drove the government people to distraction.

SYVERTSEN: Was that one of those small, 22-gallon kegs.

HAWSE: No, one full.

SYVERTSEN: One of the big ones.

HAWSE: Forty-nine or fifty gallons.

FOOTE: He did okay for a quarter, then, didn't he? The guy that bought it.

HAWSE: Yeah. He got his money's worth. Good whiskey, too, about five or six years old. Probably about a hundred, twenty proof at that time.

SYVERTSEN: When you started up in '34, what were your chief brands over here? I know you said there were over a hundred, but what were the big sellers?

HAWSE: Old Fitzgerald.

SYVERTSEN: Old Fitzgerald.

HAWSE: W. L. Weller was one of them and Old Fitzgerald, Cabin Still -- that was 30:00our main brand. You see, Stitzel Distillery up there, they had several brands of their own, you know; and Old Fitzgerald was one of them. And, W. L. Weller on Main Street, they had a brand of their own but it was mostly gin, exotic brands, you know. That's about all they put out. But, Old Fitzgerald was always our main one. I guess, though, you could go over there and get to rooting around in them old storage rooms over there; and it's no telling what kind of labels you'd find. There was more than a hundred.

SYVERTSEN: But, the end product -- there wasn't much variation. Despite the hundred labels, there was not actually one hundred identifiable different 31:00whiskeys, was there?

HAWSE: Oh, no.

SYVERTSEN: They all fell into a few simple categories.

HAWSE: Yeah. They never did blend the whiskey here. You don't blend it yet, do you, Ed?


HAWSE: We never blended whiskey. It was all straight whiskey. Arrow, Mammoth Cave, names like that. Mattingly & Moore used to be one of your brands over there. Four Roses was their main brand. Mattingly & Moore and Broadbrook. Now, that's a long time ago.

SYVERTSEN: Did the master distillers suggest names for products?


SYVERTSEN: That was never a function.

HAWSE: We put out a Lima Guild(?) here. That's where they got that name, Lima Guild, I suppose. They put out one here and, oh man, someone always said _____________________, but really it wasn't. I don't know where they got that name. I never did hear anybody say.


SYVERTSEN: Well, now, you worked for McGill. What was your job in the distillery when you first came to the distillery?

HAWSE: Mr. McGill?


HAWSE: I was chief engineer when I first came here.

SYVERTSEN: You had an engineering degree background?

HAWSE: Well, I was an engineer over at Frankfort Distillery, and that was the old plant.


HAWSE: And, then, Mr. McGill took me on this job. When they hired, I guess you're heard of Andy Corcoran.


HAWSE: He took me as his assistant. Mr. McGill got too old to get around much, you know. He was way up in his 80's. And, Andy Corcoran was his assistant and then _______________ went up to master distiller and plant superintendent. Then, 33:00he took me on as his _______________. That's how I got -- for a long time, he was a real nice fellow. Old man McGill was a nice fellow, too; but he really ripped these guys _______. I'd see them sit over there on the fence. My desk was here, and his desk over there; and he'd get on those fellows so strong, they'd cry like babies.

SYVERTSEN: Were most of them country people in terms of background?

HAWSE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: Because I remember you had mentioned last time that there were a lot of country workers in the distillery here.

HAWSE: Yeah. Nearly everybody came from Nelson County. They had little distilleries all over the place out there, you know. There was the McIntyres and 34:00Brumleys and Mudds and all kinds of them.

FOOTE: But, McGill was tall-dogging the bone yard, wasn't he? Not only the people that worked for him but the government people.

HAWSE: Oh, he was tough on them, too. Of course, they wouldn't say anything, you know, they'd let him talk and then that was it. And, he was over the bottling and everything. Bottling superintendent answered to him. He'd go up in that office, and you could hear him a mile. And, the guys that went from Stitzel thought their old man was -- he was it. He made them a lot of money, you see, by operating his place cheap and everything. It was cheap to start with. My salary was $980 a year when I come here to work.

SYVERTSEN: But, for that period, that was probably a pretty good salary, wasn't it?


HAWSE: It wasn't too bad, and it went up pretty fast too. They'd give you a raise, you know; he could give you a raise any time he wanted to. There was no union or anything like that.

SYVERTSEN: But, Andy Corcoran didn't -- he was young when he died. He wasn't on that job too long, was he?

HAWSE: Andy was -- I'll tell you, he came from Medley Brothers down at Owensboro. _______ Corcoran Copper Company. His daddy was part owner of that at one time, and he died, and then Andy's uncle -- he still operates that -- or his son does --Tom.

SYVERTSEN: It's a copper business, right?

HAWSE: Yeah.________________________ copper pipe. But, he came up here and went to work here in '41, 1941. That's when he took me over as his assistant. I was 36:00on vacation, seeing my brother in Peoria, Illinois. He called me up and wanted -- said, "Come on back." I just got there. He said, "Well, I fired that _____________ down here." He said, "He was so drunk they had to carry him down the steps and carry him out to the car, so I got rid of him. I want you to come down and be my assistant. Come on back." He said, "Leave the wife and daughter up there, and you can go back and get them later on." I said, "I'll bring them with me when I go." I came on back. Yeah, that fellow -- he was from Pennsylvania. He'd been up there -- don't Seagram have a plant -- Frankfort had a plant in Pennsylvania, didn't they?


HAWSE: Yeah. He worked up there and Andy Corcoran went up there and got him and 37:00brought him down here. At _______________ Distillery. And he treated the fellow terrible. And, the fellow was drinking all the time, got worse and worse, so they had to get rid of him. So, he didn't bother me too much, you know. Me and him got along well. I did it all, and he just ---- (tape ends)

SYVERTSEN: Mr. Hawse, did the master distiller at this time, in the early '30's, have a management function over the workers? Did he have to make sure that they produced properly? Did he have to watch over a problem of possibly over imbibing and so forth?

HAWSE: If you liked your job, you had to keep him on the ball. And, we did have a -- there was more of a problem then, I guess, than there is now, because they were more lenient with them. And, those old timers that run these places, you know, they'd just look over a lot of those things. We had fellows in dry house 38:00that drank a lot. Finally had to get rid of him. We had them in the fermenting room, one of them -- had to get rid of him. Well, we had two of them back in the dry house. But, you had to catch them drinking, you see. You've got to have proof, and then you can get rid of them. But, back in the early days, you'd just walk over and tell you to go to the office and get your money. And, he'd call them up there and say, "Get his check ready for him. That's the last one." And, that was it. After they got the union, things was different. You had to go through cer tain -- you had to take certain steps to do it.

SYVERTSEN: When did the union come into play?


HAWSE: About '42, 1942. That's when it started. First came in.

SYVERTSEN: Can you recall that and how it happened? How they came in?

HAWSE: Yeah. They started hiring people, trying -- they knew they was trying to organize, so they would hire people that -- when they hired a new man, they'd say, "How do you feel about a union?" If he said, "Well, I like the union," they said, "Well, maybe you're not exactly right for this job." If he didn't like the union, then those fellows got over there and the other guys -- they took them over to the side first thing you know. So, we had it anyway. But, in 1961, the union got pretty strong around here, very strong. So, they had it in the contract, they had to give the distillery a week's notice before they go on strike; give you a chance to get your beer out, get it all run out and 40:00everything cleaned up. But, then, three days before -- they give them the notice that they were going on strike -- three days before, they struck on Friday night. Told them on Friday morning, you know, and struck on Friday night. And, _______ come in here -- his name was Roy also -- and he said at 10:00, he said, "I'm not going to leave here. I don't have the mash out of the tub." He said, "I'll get it out of there and wash the tubs out good for you." He said, "They don't want me to, but I'm going to do it anyway." Well, I'd have had to do it if he didn't. And, they went on strike. And, I heard the government man; they was all meeting up here by the front gate. He said, "You people are on an illegal strike. You went on a strike before you should have. Three days." And, he said, "If you don't go back, you're going to lose your job." And, that's exactly what 41:00they done. They picketed this place for a year and a half and about thirty of them finally came back. The rest of them lost their job. People had good jobs, making better money than the average industry, you know; and some of them lost their homes. They lost their wives, out there with them women night and day, you know.

FOOTE: And, they lost the union. There was no distillery workers union here after that. When the union came back -- well, it was an independent union for a while after that. Then, they affiliated with the Paper Workers.

HAWSE: Never did go back to the Distillery & Wine --


HAWSE: What was that fellow's name? He worked at Seagram's.


FOOTE: McKernan?

HAWSE: McKernan. John McKernan. He told that government man -- well, they asked him, said, "The government man says we're on an illegal strike but they'll go back when the job --" You know a little distillery like that can't beat a big union like this, but they did. They hired some smart law yers and went after it.

SYVERTSEN: This was '61, right?

HAWSE: Yeah. They didn't care what it cost. They thought, because they caught us without fermenting full ________________ you know, that they wouldn't dump it, they might have to dump it out, and they'd call them back on Monday morning before they dumped it, but it didn't work that way. I went back and fired the boilers. John Holzknecht went back and run the dry ___________. Woody run the still and McClure and them come down from the office and agitated the fermentors and --

SYVERTSEN: Three of you ran it.


HAWSE: Yeah. Had to stay over here twenty-four hours a day for about three or four days, you know. I'd go up in the office and sleep. They fixed me a bed up there. Then, when we started up with a new crew; now, that's a job. You bring in people that never did see a distillery, had no idea how you made it or anything. You start teaching these jobs, you know. Then, at that time -- it's more simple now, because, like Ed, he buys dry yeast and uses that -- but we had to --we made our own yeast. They had jug yeast and donast(?) and day yeast. That's what the rooms was; that was our day room where they've got their lounge in there, you know. Then, the donast cup on the next floor, and that's -- up there's where we made our jug yeast.


FOOTE: That is half of the job, just taking care of the yeast.

HAWSE: That's right; it was. I'd be over here on Sunday night and everything else, looking at that yeast, seeing that it wasn't too cold. You never know what a fellow's going to do to you.

SYVERTSEN: So, you partially slept over here to take care of the mash and partially to take care of the yeast. Is that right?

HAWSE: Yeah. They didn't know anything about it. Well, you can imagine, Ed, what it would be if you'd just take all these fellows out of here and bring some new people in and said, "We're going to make whiskey."

FOOTE: You get the yeast a little too hot, and it'll kill it. And, if it's a little too cold, it doesn't grow. It's got to really be babied along.

HAWSE: Yeah. And that was really a job. Woody and I finally straightened that 45:00out, though. We got the job done.

SYVERTSEN: Didn't you perhaps worry that, when the strike was about to occur, that some of the pro-union people, the union people, might have walked off with some of the yeast? Was that a worry? I mean, that would seem to be a rather critical factor; if a strike is about to occur, and somebody can walk off with the main yeast. That could really hurt your operations for years to come.

FOOTE: Well, the master distiller always controlled the yeast.

HAWSE: I was going to say, we never did tell them that.

SYVERTSEN: Okay. That was a secret, huh?

HAWSE: That's what it was.

SYVERTSEN: That's interesting.

HAWSE: More so than what they thought, but they bought it, you know. We didn't tell them everything. People worked around here twenty years -- I guess every 46:00bit that much, wasn't it? -- and still not know how to go up there and start off the yeast. That's the way it works. You don't tell them after you --

SYVERTSEN: If I'm not getting too inquisitive, here, did the master distiller in 1950 hand over the yeast differently than the master distiller in 1985? I mean --

HAWSE: No comparison. Let Ed tell you about that.

FOOTE: Well, Universal Foods grows and dehydrates their yeast for us now; and we receive it from them in 50-pound bags, so it's really no problem now, where before it was about 50 per cent of the job, the scheduling and the handling and 47:00the starting. Of course, the final yeasting would be done by the distillery worker; but always the start and getting it going was the master distiller. So, there's no comparison.

HAWSE: Altogether different.

SYVERTSEN: Would you tell us in some more detail, you know, how you used to get this process going?

HAWSE: You mean the yeast?

FOOTE: From the jug.

SYVERTSEN: Yes, step-by-step, if you would.

HAWSE: Do you still have jugs up there?


HAWSE: You done away with all your copper jugs.

FOOTE: Oh, well, we've got some up there not in use.

HAWSE: They hold 22 gallons, and you make this jug yeast out of malt. It's a process. Of course, an ordinary yeast man, he made it; then he'd stock that, strain the juice off of it and stock it. Then, you'd pour it in these jugs and close it up tight and it gets a terrific pressure on it. I guess a hundred pounds.


FOOTE: I would think so.

HAWSE: And, you'd store it in a cold place and keep it cold. That's the reason ---- And, maybe you would draw out so much and stock your donast with that, you know. Use, say fifteen pounds to stock your donast; dump that in your donast, have your donast ready -- see that was a big deal. And, then, when you make the donast today or tonight, they say at Noon and, depending on the temperature you set them on, what time you set them -- and, then the next morning, when the yeast man came in, he makes the day yeast; and then he divides his donast up from upstairs -- that was another floor above him. Then, he'd drop that down in 49:00his day yeast and his day yeast started working. Then, after so many hours, you'd get a fermenter -- you'd get so much mash in your fermenter rack there, enough to take care of your yeast, and you pump your day yeast in that, and you set those cups and that's ready to go, then. Then, the process starts all over; and, when you're running two shifts, you're making two sets of day yeast to day yeast. And, when they got up to 2,250 bushels, we had to make four day yeasts and then another day yeast; you had to add enough to the four day yeasts to make another one. You know what I mean?


HAWSE: And, that's what I had to work on.

FOOTE: Well, now, you used hops, too, your hot water.

HAWSE: Yeah. Forty gallons of water and you put these hops in there -- a scoop of hops -- like an old grocer's scoop -- you dump it in there and boil it. Then 50:00you strain those hops out of that water and then you have to cook your malt in there, see. And, that's what you stock and then you strain that the next day; and you have to cover it up with cheesecloths and all that.

SYVERTSEN: Cheesecloths?

HAWSE: Yeah. Put over the top of it. You don't want dirt and stuff falling in it, you know. But, ___________ has to come out of it. Fermenting ____________. Shove everything else out and then you have to strain that, jug it. We usually made about -- was you here when we was doing that, Ed; or did you --?


HAWSE: We already had dry yeast when you came. We'd make about two jugs one week and three jugs the next, and that would keep the place running at 2200.


SYVERTSEN: Do you have other comments about the comparative nature of the process then and now?

HAWSE: No, it's just a lot easier.

SYVERTSEN: You feel glad about that, I suppose.

FOOTE: Somebody else is doing most of the yeast culture. We just rehydrate it and inoculate our fermentors. Unbeatable as far as convenience.

HAWSE: We had a lot of people come around here with different things to take the place of yeast like we run it. But, these people that furnish Ed, that's the best system right there. We'd have them come around here and pour it in the fermenter and says they can -- one fellow from England, he was really -- he got so mad at me I thought he was going to run me out of here, because I wouldn't go 52:00along with him, you know. He was a big Englishman; he wasn't a Swede. He had a certain yeast that they made over there and he claimed that just about a gallon of it worked when he fermented, and I didn't believe that. I couldn't afford to let him talk me into something, and I'd come up flat one day and not have any whiskey. If I did, I'd be gone too..

FOOTE: If you get off to too slow a start, then you're asking for contamination, too. You put enough yeast in there that you seal it with that seal, too.

SYVERTSEN: How much yeast were you using per ton?

FOOTE: I think you figure about 3 per cent of the total volume.


HAWSE: Maybe more than that. All together, it was -- about 3,400 pounds would go in about 16 fermentors. There was a lot of yeast that goes in there. You take a day's -- one day's four hundred gallons and about two hundred gallons in the fermenter.

SYVERTSEN: How does that compare to what you use today?

FOOTE: Well, you can't compare it.

HAWSE: You have a higher count.

FOOTE: Yeah.

HAWSE: D cells. That's what you have to go by.

FOOTE: And, then the way the cell divides. It's like a geometric logged rhythmic progression. Start with one cell now, and you've got a million after --

HAWSE: If you don't hit that million, you're out of luck.

FOOTE: And, depending on your -- well, you varied your temperature, like a few 54:00degrees different temperature will increase your multiplication.

HAWSE: I'll tell you what gives you a thrill. You'll be sitting down here and the man out of the ferment room comes down and says, "Roy, I forgot to put yeast in that tub," or pumped it in the sewer or something like that, see. There, you've got a fermenter and no yeast. Well, you'd have a tub of vinegar before it worked itself off. So, you have to go up there and start dipping, pick out a tub that's working real good and start dipping and then you don't get really out of it what you should.

FOOTE: So, today, well, we'd just take some more dry yeast -- if we would lose or mess up or, say, rehydrated it at too hot a temperature, you know, to where that it was killed, well, we could just do it again. Take another amount of 55:00yeast and measure it out. This is our yeast that was cultured by them for us, and it's a proprietary strain; nobody else can use it and they _________it for us.

SYVERTSEN: Nobody else does use it, then?

FOOTE: No. They also make a standard distillers' active dry yeast that's sold indiscriminately to whoever wants it.

HAWSE: This strain that you're using, that's what we always had.

FOOTE: Right.

HAWSE: We never lost it.

SYVERTSEN: Yeah. It's a continuous strain.

FOOTE: We also have ample _______-stored. The pure culture started, so that, if something would happen to the culture at Universal, we could go back to this lab that holds our yeast for us.

HAWSE: I always kept a two-gallon jug. Do you still keep that? I kept a two-gallon jug, and I'd change about once a year. In case anything happened, you 56:00could go back and start off again with that jug. Two gallon is plenty to make your first starter on. I always kept -- Woody's probably got one in his refrigerator at home. During prohibition, an old distiller told me that he kept a jug in a well from the time whiskey went out and came back. Do you believe that?

FOOTE: Well, now, at McKenna Distillery out at Fairfield, they had a jug in a well. When Seagram bought that distillery, they took a jug out of the well, that old mansion behind the distillery; and that's one of their favorite bourbon yeast today -- 103 or K Code yeast that they use or were using, because they've 57:00got an extensive library, you know, a lot of different yeasts, some mainly for spirits production, some mainly for bourbon, some for low fusel oil, some --

HAWSE: What about rye whiskey?

FOOTE: We -- what little rye whiskey that I ever saw made, they used the bourbon yeast in it.

HAWSE: We made some rye here and used the regular yeast. Frankfort over there made 60 per cent rye. Fermentation would go about that high above the fermentors. And, you couldn't get within a hundred feet of that cistern room when he was drawing it off; it'd burn you up -- your eyes. They finally had to have doctors over there to put drops in their eyes when they would draw it off. 58:00And, we had a time with it here, too. We were making what you call pepper whiskey, and you couldn't stay on the built platform back there; you couldn't stand it. _____________________ cistern room. It was bad up in the fermenting room, too; and we had to put curtain around -- we used wooden fermentors at that time -- we had curtains about 3 ft. high, canvas. We nailed slats around there, you know, put this curtain in there; and it'd come up sometimes over the top of that. Normally, we don't have too much rise, you know. At that rate, you --

FOOTE: Yeah, and our bourbon -- four to eight inches is probably all it'll come up anyhow.

HAWSE: Once in a while, it'll get a little wild. We made some wheat first of the year --

SYVERTSEN: With this same yeast?


HAWSE: Yeah. Now, that's the difference between this distillery --I don't know of any other distilleries that use wheat in small grain except Makers Mark. They make it exactly by ____________.

FOOTE: Yeah. They got the yeast and formula both from us.

HAWSE: Yeah. I gave it to the fellow; I gave it to them. Yeah, that's what I done. And, whenever he did sit down -- you know, at these other distilleries, they -- in the spring time, when the water got warm and those branches were _____ _____, why they couldn't cool down, so they sat down until the next fall. Well, most of them put their yeast away, but he wouldn't out there. And, then he'd call me up and say, "Roy, I need a jug of yeast." I said, "All right, bring your jug in." And, he'd bring it in; and we'd take it upstairs. And, we made enough for him, too, one of the first times, you know, to get him started. It's 60:00the same whiskey as ours.

SYVERTSEN: You prefer to make most of your whiskey in cool weather, right? In the winter season?

HAWSE: It don't make any difference around a place like this. Your water stays the same temperature. Always figure about 60 or 61 degrees when it comes out of the ground, about 56 or 57 in winter and summer, so it don't make a bit of difference.

SYVERTSEN: Okay. But, you de-mineralize the water --

FOOTE: No, we had deep wells with continuous temperatures, see; the shallow branches and lakes that they used some places in the country, why your --


HAWSE: It would warm up. It warms up on you. You cool your mash down. You couldn't condense your vapors coming off your still.

SYVERTSEN: So, that was an advantage for you here? The wells?

HAWSE: The wells. That's the reason all these distilleries is in this part of town. At one time, we had about eight of them. Fortuna, this little one down here. And, here, Seagrams built. And Catchers and -- well, they call it Early 61:00Times now, don't they? Well, when they first built that, it was Catchers over there, in an old wooden building. And, ther e's Yellowstone. _______________ And, there was one out here, Meadowlawn. They made good whiskey, too. And, when they first built this place, the water level under this ground was about 25 feet. They had a little hand pump back there; they would pump and mix mortar to lay these bricks. But, then, other distilleries built. Then, during the war, they started building these chemical plants down there; and, then Louisville, with those hotels and things, they started drawing that water for air conditioning; and the water table went down, went down to about 55 feet. But, I 62:00understand now that it's coming back up.

SYVERTSEN: But, it probably also got contaminated in that process, too, with the chemical plants, huh? I mean, that aquifer down there.

HAWSE: There isn't any of carbide. It flows from the Northeast to Southwest. It goes across this way. It goes towards those plants down there and away from --

SYVERTSEN: So, you really like it?

HAWSE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: That's an interesting point, very interesting. Is that one reason why they picked this site? Did they know that at the time they set up?

HAWSE: They knew that water was here. Of course, there wasn't no way of knowing that they'd ever build those chemical plants. Only thing down there was a tie __________. And, they creosoted cross ties. It was a big plant down there. And, when they had that '37 flood and washed that away, that was about 63:00___________________. We pumped millions of gallons of water out of that, a day, I guess. We pumped about 300 gallons a minute; I can tell you that, sometimes. In the winter time, we just let them run all day and night. Then, all these other plans, Seagrams, drew many, many times as much as we did out of it, I guess. Yellowstone and all of them.

SYVERTSEN: You all drew from the same aquifer then, I presume, this thing, this Louisville aquifer which covered much of this.

HAWSE: Yeah. It's 129 feet down here to rock. I've seen them drill so many wells around here. I know 128 and 129, and that's pure sand and gravel, no mud, no -- nothing else -- chunks of coal maybe. But, you can take and mix concrete with it; it makes fine concrete. No mud or anything. Grayson shoved it in here and 64:00ground it up, you know and -- yeah, that's where it came from. They did a lot of it down there.

SYVERTSEN: When did you stop using the water from the aquifer?

HAWSE: We still use it.

SYVERTSEN: You still use it.

HAWSE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: Well, that's interesting. As you know, many of the distilleries in this area draw it from __________. -- started the talk that they use de-mineralized water from the city water line. Is that not true?

HAWSE: He uses that to cut his whiskey with.

FOOTE: As far as I know, I don't know anybody that uses de-mineralized water in mashing. Maybe they do.

HAWSE: They may treat it. Now, maybe what he means is they treat it for -- like you would keep from scaling up your pipe lines.

FOOTE: Well, now, like over at Seagram there, they would chlorinate it and then 65:00carbon filter it, which would -- that would just give them -- it would be germ free.


FOOTE: But, they used -- they had the deep well, pretty much the same as us, except we don't do anything to it.

HAWSE: They de-mineralize water here, but it's used for just -- not for the fermentors or anything like that.

SYVERTSEN: So, to the best of your knowledge, most of the fermentation done in this area still uses the aquifer water after it's been treated with chlorine and some filtration.

FOOTE: Yeah. Some of them treat it; but, as far as I know, all --

HAWSE: You have to watch it if you put in your mash. If it had chlorine in it, it --

FOOTE: Well, the carbon filter took the chlorine out. You could look at the 66:00sample before and after the carbon filter.

HAWSE: It will take it out?

FOOTE: Yeah. And, then you'd have to steam the carbon filter a couple of times a week to -- and back flush it -- to keep it active.

SYVERTSEN: So, you're pretty satisfied with that process, then?

HAWSE: Mm hmm.

SYVERTSEN: And, you don't see any problems?

FOOTE: It's the best Kentucky bourbon in the world.

SYVERTSEN: The original partnership that you talked about between that -- how did that partnership work out, and how did they decide the divi sion of the mash from the product? Did it make any difference? What were the practical implications of that partnership, both on the managerial business level and on 67:00the production level?

HAWSE: Mr. Farnsley and Mr. Van Winkle, they were two whiskey salesmen; and they sold whiskey to different companies around; and they even sold medicinal whiskey during prohibi tion. So, they acquired this little W. L. Water plant up there. They had a still about that high and about that big around. I used to go up there every once in a while, and they got -- Stitzel is an old plant here. They had a plant at 26th and Broadway. You remember seeing that old ware house, a big old brick warehouse at 26th and Broadway on the Southwest corner?


HAWSE: Well, back in there is where -- that's one of their ware houses. And, they built that one before -- I guess -- you can see the pictures of it up here 68:00-- around 1909, something like that. And, Mr. Stitzel, A. P. A. Stitzel -- that was the name of that plant, too. And, he retired; and his son, little Phil, they called -- grandson, little Phil, come to -- he was going to run it. But, then, he died, so the old man came back out of retirement; and they got together, the three of them; and they built this place.

End of tape

HAWSE: He made a lot of whiskey.

SYVERTSEN: Well, where did all his experience come from?

HAWSE: Well, owning that distillery up there, and his father owned it and his grandfather owned it, you know. So, these other fellows, they were salesmen, so, when they come together out here, they took over the selling end of the ____________ he had. And, the old man Stitzel, he was the one that --

SYVERTSEN: Production.


HAWSE: Yeah. He got the plant built and everything. And, some of these -- they didn't have much money, I mean, they didn't have enough money to build this plant outright. So, Joseph & Joseph --

SYVERTSEN: Joseph & Joseph.

HAWSE: Yeah. They're still in business, too; aren't they? I see the name once in a while. They was the architects on this job, the building of it. And, Mack Corcoran & Sons Copper Works, they put the copper in; and they said, "Well, you pay us when you get to making money," which he did; and that tided them over, you know, and helped them out. And, by golly, after they got to selling those warehouse receipts, they made all kind of money then; and they paid everybody off. But, it worked pretty good. Then, Mr. Stitzel died; then Mr. Farnsley died. Then, his widow had a third of it; and Mr. Stitzel's widow had a third of it. 70:00And, Mr. Van Winkle, he finally died; and he had a third of it; but he'd get his grandchildren a few shares of stock in it, you know. And, finally, the other two got together and -- Stitzel's widow, she died; and her brother, Dr. Cook, down on Broad way, he got the biggest part of it and a orphans' home got about 12 per cent of it, you know, her part; and they all got together and that -- Julian didn't want to sell this plant, you know. But, they got together and put the pres sure on him; and he finally had to sell it. His own sister went against him on it, you know. She put her part in. They wanted their money out of it, and I don't know why. Julian -- I mean, he could just cry, you know, thinking about losing this plant. He was raised here, him and that old bird dog. I used to hate 71:00that dog. Every time I'd go around the warehouse, he'd be after me. They -- I've seen that Stitzel get mad at the government man and just throw his cigar on the ground out there on the road and jump up and down on it. When they first built the warehouse, each floor -- there's seven floors -- had a door that opened outside -- had to be outside. And, you had your elevator shaft going up here. Then, you had to build a platform across here diagonally to roll barrels from the elevator shaft into that floor; and then you had a door on the eleva tor shaft -- you had a door going to that floor. There were 14 doors, and the government man had to lock them 14 doors and seal them; they had to _________ 72:00seal in it, you know, every night. And, you had to go around and unlock it every day. Then, we started building warehouses. They built the warehouse according to government plans, had to, you know, when they first built them. But, when you get five, six, seven warehouses, that's a lot of doors. First thing you know, the government had to get an army out here unlocking doors. You had 14 to a warehouse plus all the other things, and they told us -- Black, Mr. Black, he was the inspec tor -- he come out here and he told Mr. -- I walked out to see what was going on. I stayed behind pretty much. He told Mr. Stitzel, he says, "You got to take those doors out of there and close that opening and cut holes in that eleva tor shaft and put doors in there," and he says, "so we can lock 73:00your bottom door on that side of the runway and on this side; and then nobody can get in and out and we don't have to go up and down there and unlocking all them doors." Oh, it made that old man so mad. He jumped up and said, "God, I built this thing according to your plans. Now, you want the whole thing changed."

SYVERTSEN: When was this roughly; do you know?

HAWSE: It was about '37. You know he's right, you know. They built it according to the plans, and he didn't want to change it. It cost a lot of money.

SYVERTSEN: Three or four years later -- that was pretty bad.

HAWSE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: That's a delightful story.

HAWSE: The old man goes over to the bottling house, and they had a guard. You've heard of old Jack; haven't you?

FOOTE: Mm hmm.

HAWSE: At that time, he wore a policeman uniform and carried a gun; and he stayed in the bottling house. They finally made him take the gun off. But, 74:00Stitzel went over there one day. Of course, you wasn't allowed to smoke in the bottling house. And, Stitzel always had a cigar in his mouth. I don't know whether he had it lit or not, but he had it in his mouth. He went in there and Holzknecht went up to him and said, "You can't smoke in this place." That old man looked at him and he said, "Young man, I own this place; and I'm going to smoke any place I want to," he said. "Did you understand that?" John said, "Yes sir." It wasn't exactly right to be smoking, but I don't believe he was smoking. I think he just carried that old cigar in his mouth.

SYVERTSEN: Well, did the three owners -- were they pretty amicable basis with each other normally?


HAWSE: Oh, that office up there -- you know where you go in the side door and you go downstairs to the basement? They had one room on that side of that stairway and one room on this side, and there was two rooms in back. And, this room on this corner -- you know it had a fireplace in it, pretty good sized room -- but, there was Stitzel's desk in there, Granlin's(?) desk was in there, and Farnsley's desk was in there; and Miss Hagan was an old lady, and she was secretary to all three of them. And, all four of them had a desk in that one room. And, then there was a payroll clerk, and she took care of the telephone and everything; and then George Metzger, he got the orders out from the bottling house, and then they had another fellow with the insurance, and that was just about the --

FOOTE: Whole staff.

HAWSE: Yeah. I believe one woman up there called ______________, she was Charlie's assistant. Then, they started adding to the -- just like the 76:00warehouses and the fermenting room. They started adding room and went on out and dug a basement and put a cafeteria down in there; put that fancy front end on. But, those three men, they were real good friends, I suppose. Mr. Farnsley was just like an old country man, even though he owned this _________ and everything, he comes -- I was out here one Sunday, and I was the only one; didn't have any cars around here or anything. I just happened to come over here, and he and his wife come walking in. He said, "Roy, you think it'd be all right if I'd take my wife around and show her the distillery?" I said, "You own it. You can look all you want to."


SYVERTSEN: I was going to ask you another question. Most of these distiller ies had men working around the ferment usually, in the mash area; and women tended to work in the bottling area. I presume that was true here. What kind of situation did that, you know, create? I mean, was there a problem that sexes were segregated in effect in operations?

HAWSE: I don't think that's ever been a problem here. You mean the men working back there and the women working in the bot tling?


HAWSE: Very seldom you ever see a woman around here. And, what they do now, there's a few of them working around here; but, for 35 years, I don't guess a woman ever --

FOOTE: Some of them wound up getting married.


HAWSE: Yeah. Well, you see more women visitors around in the plant than -- that's about -- that never was a problem around here.

SYVERTSEN: I know the last time I was talking with Mr. Foote, I asked him the question about whether the distillers, master distillers today, are they a very close linked group; and are they socially close; and are they close in terms of professional services? And, if I recall right, you said that it's not as close as one would imag ine, even though there's only a small group of master distillers left, they're pretty much independent, which is kind of interest ing, I think, in perspective that this industry as a whole has shown a lot of cooperation from one company to another. If one company has some trouble with yeast, you know, or cooperage or something, often there was, you know, some kind 79:00of and agreement to keep the competition going. In your day, were the master distillers very much an independent group from one another in the industry? Was it the same situation, or did you find much cooper a tion -- I think part of the background on that question also is the fact that you were starting up at a time, at the moment of repeal, in a state in which whiskey production still was frowned upon by many people and, of course, the majority of the counties were dry.

HAWSE: I don't believe -- I never depended on anyone else, and I don't guess they depended on me, but -- like old Joe Beam. He came out of Bardstown, and he'd been a distiller before prohibition, and he's the one that hired me. He 80:00come over there and brought his son, Roy. I guess maybe I was named Roy, so he thought, "well, I'll hire another Roy." But, anyway, he put his son as master distiller over there; and Frankfort Distilleries hired him kindly as a -- sort of looked at him and wanted to get things started you know -- and he put his son in there as master distiller, and he had five of them -- five boys all got to be master distillers at these distilleries around here. And, I was pretty good friends with them, so that's about the only link that I ever -- there was one of them over here at Yellowstone; there was one of them down here at Troy, Indiana, at the distillery down there; up at Midway. Even -- about three of those boys worked here at one time, Barry, Everett and Otis. But, then, they'd leave here 81:00and go to the distillers as distill ers. Grandpa'd come down and take care of them, see. He ____________ for the yeast. And, Mr. McGill here was old Joe Beam's brother-in-law. That's how he got his job here. They went to Stitzel and he asked them, "what about a skill? Have you got a skill? Do you want a job?" He said, "No, but I've got a brother-in-law," so he put him over here. And, he would come over here the first of the year and look at the fermenting room and look at the yeast and tell the old man this, that and the other, you know, and then go on back to Bardstown right after. So, it -- in later years, I don't think there was ever -- I never had to go to anybody else, and about the only guy that ever came to me was a fellow over here at Yellowstone. He got in 82:00trouble and come over here. Well, out at -- out here at Meadowlawn, too. I went out there and worked a year after I retired. They had a new distiller out there, and they was afraid of him. They elevated the distiller's job, and they wanted me to come out there and stay with him. I stayed with him about a year. Made good whiskey and a lot of it. It was a good little still. So, we was friends, too. But, that was about the only way. Now, I never did make it a point to run to Bards town or any place else, because I had my problems; and they had their problems; and my problems was not their problems. _____________ will tell you that no two distilleries operate exactly the same, so you're beating your head 83:00against the wall if you go to see another distillery some place and he don't know what you're talking about or anything. You have to work it out yourself the best way you can. None of them's the same. Back when you was waiting, the rest of them was on to something like that. They don't know what to do and --

SYVERTSEN: Well, the other reason for asking that question, of course, is the fact that there's so much romance that has traditionally surround ed the role of master distillers; and, so, it's just natural to ask what is kind of the nature of that romance and, you know, how does it fit into, you know, the industry as a whole and into the community?

HAWSE: I believe that ________________ whiskey, most of it centered around the salesmen; doesn't it, Ed?


HAWSE: The selling end of it seems to be the biggest part of it, you know. And, 84:00then the romance part comes down to the bottling house, before it gets back here in the distillery. There is a certain amount of romance to it, I suppose. Like I told you once before that we don't tell everybody all of our secrets, so that makes somebody think about it, you know, a little more. Of course, you pour whiskey in a bottle; and you put it in a bottle; and everybody knows you put it in a bottle and how you put it in there; and that's it. But, making this yeast, that's something else, you know.


FOOTE: But, everybody knows what a bottle looks like; and everybody involved in the distilling industry knows that it's got to be in that bottle on the shelf before the money goes in, so the salesmen, the bottle; that's where the big interest generally is.

HAWSE: That's the big end of it, really. And, they have so many of them on the road and everything, you know; and they bring them in here; and you can't -- they come down there and ask you a lot of questions and they want -- all the 85:00salesmen, they want to be distillers, too, see. So, you tell them what you want them to know and let them guess the rest of it. Well, that -- they used to send them down here and they were a big nuisance. I'd spent -- maybe they'd be down here two or three weeks, and then there'd be another. And, they want to know all about making whiskey. They're going to learn it all while they're here. If you're going to learn it in two weeks, you have to be good.

SYVERTSEN: Well, I'd like to lead into another question, I think; and that's the famous touting by Pappy Van Winkle of "no chemists allowed here". You know, was that attitude of his more part of the romance added to the industry or is that a real secret that I shouldn't ask?

HAWSE: That's the selling part of it. Because they had a lot of visitors here and always did, and they liked to add them kind of things. They didn't mean 86:00anything really. They even put bonding warehouse on -- on warehouse -- they put it on bonded -- they had these distillery -- over the front door of the distillery, they used to have the name "Stitzel-Weller Distillery" and the number, you know, and everything on it; and they had different -- you had to get the carpen ter over here and he'd take -- you make whiskey today for one guy in New York, so you had to take down the sign and put the other one back up, you know. You know, different brands, you know, which didn't mean anything. But, that's the way it worked.

SYVERTSEN: That's part of the romance.

HAWSE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: You mentioned, I believe, Jim Beam. Did you --


HAWSE: I said Joe Beam.

SYVERTSEN: Joe Beam. Excuse me. Did you know many of these distillers personally? Had you met them?

HAWSE: Oh, I --

SYVERTSEN: The Browns, the Beams, the _____________ and so forth?

HAWSE: I knew more Beams than any of them. We was all pretty good friends. We didn't visit with one another or anything; but, if I wanted to ask them for yeast; if they asked me for yeast, they got it. That's about all. There ain't no organization that I know of. Do you know of any, Ed?

FOOTE: No. It does seem kind of strange, as few as there are left --

HAWSE: Everybody else is organized. But, like I say --

SYVERTSEN: I was surprised when you answered that, you know, last time, because I thought, you know, all the romance and, with the fact that there are so few master distillers left, you would think that they would have their own tight little association both for themselves and to perpetuate, you know, the romance 88:00of the indus try. But, apparently, that's not so; it's a very independent kind of thing.

FOOTE: Well, there are not but about a dozen distilleries that operate in Kentucky any more; are there?

SYVERTSEN: Right. And, how many master distillers, you know, for that dozen?

HAWSE: Does all of them have distillers now, Ed?

FOOTE: Pardon?

HAWSE: Does all of them have master distillers now, or do they --

FOOTE: Well, it's a different thing, and probably the -- you know, I've always felt that, even though the distillation is a pretty much exact science, if you will, that the fermentation though is still about as much art as it is science. And, with the type of yeast that we use in making bourbon and the limitation we 89:00have distilling at a very low proof, that's probably true. But, in a big distillery that's making vodka and a neutral spirit, I think Seagram's idea is that they want a guy with a Ph D in Chemical Engineering. And, they may call him distiller; but it's a different breed from what we we've been talking about.

HAWSE: They do it all together different. This is more like a country ---

SYVERTSEN: Well, I know, when we began this discussion, there was mention of the fact that most of the workers who were brought in here were actually country 90:00folk; and, as you were explaining that, the things that occurred in my mind, I wonder why; was it the fact that it was easier somehow to work with the country folk? Or, was it the fact that there was a worry about ultimately union activi ties becoming strong, you know, the urban people who might other wise have been employed? Or, was it some other factor?

HAWSE: I can tell you the reason. When they started these distill eries, they brought all these old distillers from these distilleries out at Bardstown, see. They had experience, and they brought them down here and put them in charge; and, when they did, they brought --

SYVERTSEN: Friends and family --

HAWSE: their kinfolk with them. Yeah. That's what it was.

SYVERTSEN: -- extended family situation.

HAWSE: That's right.

SYVERTSEN: I see. Well, that's interesting.

HAWSE: Now, Mr. McGill had his son; and he had a nephew -- his nephew and his 91:00wife's nephew -- all working right here in this distillery, see. There wasn't too many on a shift. You almost had a shift of McGills and then the McIntyres, and one of them worked in the yeast room; one of them oper ated the still. And, also, Mr. McGill's brother, he was a still operator. So, there you are. And, then, they brought in the Millers. Miller come over there at Frankfort, and his son come over here. There was a Miller over here. So, that's the reason they was all country people.

SYVERTSEN: Well, that's fascinating. Is that largely true today? Do you have -- in your hiring practices, do you tend more to bring in relatives of employees; or has that changed --

FOOTE: No, but Louisville is basically a country town, maybe less so today; but 92:00like, even twenty or thirty years ago, a big percentage of the people are just about one generation away from the farm; they go down to the farm on weekends. I go to the farm and visit my dad.

HAWSE: Fifty per cent of them is just about two years away from Grayson County, too.

FOOTE: Yeah, Grayson, Meade. A lot of the work force around is, if not from rural areas, they're not too far away.


FOOTE: And one generation.

SYVERTSEN: But, even today, there tends to be more of a predominance of hiring within the family lines? Would that be fair to say?

FOOTE: No. That's not done much today. I don't think they like to --

SYVERTSEN: The reason I asked that is because, as you know, for instance, Brown-Forman, you know, prides itself on what you know what it considers family, 93:00you know, nepotism. And, they say it has worked fairly well. You can talk with some other distillery people that will also tell you occasionally that, you know, nepotism -- family nepotism works. Now, in the mass urban settlements of this country there usually is a kind of a tension, animosity towards even using the word nepotism. In other words, nepotism almost is a jargon term, a negative term, yet, within the distilling indus try here, it seems to have worked fairly well and, I suppose you could say might even be somewhat of a positive term within a certain context.

FOOTE: Well, even though none of us are related around here, we always -- we all feel like that we're from kind of the same roots or we feel like part of a big family, I guess.

HAWSE: At first, that was okay around here. The families hired the family, like the Brumleys; he had a daughter, and his son worked in the bottling house. He 94:00sold slop back there. He had another son worked here, and one worked in the ware house, _____________ one of the dry houses. So, that was one family ___________, and they lived right here on the corner up here, across from that bakery. So, it was kind of a family outfit to start with, you know.

SYVERTSEN: How was that to manage, I mean, as the master distiller who had oversight responsibilities over the corporate product? How was that a factor in management? Was it rough? Was it difficult?

HAWSE: I never paid any attention to it. The kinfolk didn't --I didn't have any, so it didn't make any difference to me. If I had to jack one of them up, I'd give it to him, whether his father liked it or his brother or sister didn't make 95:00any difference.

SYVERTSEN: Was it somewhat unusual that you, who did not have any apparent family ties actually were promoted into the position of master distiller, which was, you know, a prestigious position?

HAWSE: Well, what normally and everything over at Frankfort Dis tillery, I kind of helped; I knew those people over there, see; and they was connected into here, so that helped me. This fellow said, "Well, he's a pretty nice guy, you know," he said, "filling tanks and" --

FOOTE: That's the way it worked.

HAWSE: Frankfort, now, they didn't believe in that at all. Kin folks wasn't no good. We would trade one -- like our mash man for their mash man because he had a brother working in the main office up on Main Street -- Market Street and put him on a mash team. And, the miller -- his daddy worked over there, so he couldn't work over there, so we brought him over here and sent our miller over 96:00there, see. But, around here, only in latter years, did it make any differ ence. Blood relation couldn't work here. Now, if you got married after you work here, fine. If it's your brother-in-law, he could work here; but your brother couldn't. So, that's -- But, I think once in a while they'd get around that, too, you know. I never had it here in the distillery. Woody worked here, and his daddy worked in the boiler room. Of course, Woody was just a kid; and he left; and then they fired his daddy. Old man McGill did, so it didn't make any difference.


SYVERTSEN: Did the strength of the union here -- did it tend to ______ any correlation or any pattern with the decline of family nepotism in hiring?

HAWSE: I don't think so. I believe they stopped -- they was get ting away from that before we got the union in here.

SYVERTSEN: Was there any correlation between the family working together in the distillery and the rise of unionism?

HAWSE: I don't think there was. I don't believe that had anything to do with it. You always have a few agitators, you know. I don't care what you're doing. And, that's the way it gets started. And, Mr. McGill was high-handed. Now, I'll have to say that. You could -- if you just walk back there and if you don't like a 98:00fellow and you fire him, you made a bad mistake back there as far as relations with people. And, you can't do that. Those people are going to resent that, and then they're going to start thinking about a union. Now, I think that's the way it come about. He was tough on them. He'd cuss them out. That don't work really.

SYVERTSEN: How do you handle grievances today? I mean, do grievances tend to come to you, Mr. Foote, as the master distiller, first; or do they tend to go to some other --

FOOTE: No, ---------- from here to Personnel --

SYVERTSEN: And, then to a grievance committee.


HAWSE: Even thought it's against Ed, he has to take that thing to the Personnel man.

SYVERTSEN: That is rough.

HAWSE: Yeah. We used to get a lot of them. Of course, we had a few more people working than what you have. And, then, along the way, why, some of the agitators 99:00we got rid of and that cut down.

FOOTE: Well, the grievances are minimal, really. All kind in the thing together and working together, and we know what we want to do and what we have to do, so I'm quite happy with the atmosphere. Not any "me and them" or "you and we"; it's "us".

HAWSE: Yeah. That's better.

SYVERTSEN: Well, in your day, as master distiller, were most of the grievanc es basically money --


SYVERTSEN: Mr. Hawse, could you also tell us about the other major union issues that came up during your tenure as master distiller; and would you also clarify 100:00when you became master distiller; and when did you retire?

HAWSE: I became master distiller in 1942, and I retired in 1970. That is, the last day in 1970. And, that's when the union started, about 1942, here. And, there was -- we didn't have too much trouble with them at first. Of course, they ironed out the issues, you know; but, as years went on, you'd get a different kind of people. You can tell -- at first, like you say, they was all country guys; and then come this moving in of different kind of people; and then they have different ideas. And, they'll say, "Well, this fellow worked in my place," 101:00and he'd let you -- deliberately stand there and let you call in the wrong fellow; and then he would say, "Now, then, you've got to pay him, too." Or, if you -- like on Sunday -- you work something like that -- double time. If you called in the wrong one, you had to pay. You had to pay both of them. He stayed at home. And, he wouldn't say, "Oh, I'm not supposed to come in; he's got a little seniority on me." They'd never say that. They'd let you go ahead and stick your neck out. And, your assis tants would do that more than you would, you know. You'd leave it up to them to call in somebody, in case somebody's sick or something like that; and he'd call in the wrong one. Then, even if he came in, you had to give him four hours if he just come in and turned around and went back home. You had to pay him four hours. Little things like that. But, the strike was the big problem. They couldn't resolve it. Then, we got the whole new 102:00crew; and then --

SYVERTSEN: Now, which strike was this?

HAWSE: 1961.


HAWSE: Was you over at Seagram's at that time, Ed?


HAWSE: A lot of these fellows went over there. _____________ got them a job over there. Did you know Joe Vogt?

FOOTE: Yeah.

HAWSE: He was a good man. He was on mash _______________. I tried to hire some -- after they, Seagram's bought that, you know; and they moved some of the Four Roses people over to Seagra m's -- I tried to hire some of the yeast men, because we was on a strike, see. They says, "Uh uh, we're not going to come over there and work for you," although they would have a good job and they'd make good money and they could --good retirement and everything. A lot of them, 103:00Seagram's laid them off anyway, didn't they?

FOOTE: Yeah.

HAWSE: Lost out completely. Otherwise, we didn't have too bad a relations with the union.

SYVERTSEN: Most of the issues were simply salary scale and who would be called in, seniority?

HAWSE: Yeah. That's about all. And, of course, you have your contract to go by. You can pretty well stick to it. Some of them try to trap you, you know. You've got to watch that all the time.

SYVERTSEN: Did the master distiller help negotiate the contracts?

HAWSE: No. That was left up to the Personnel Department.

SYVERTSEN: Is that still true today?


HAWSE: They'd come down and ask you a lot of things, but you don't have any say. In fact, you might not want to give them anything, if there's somebody on there 104:00you dislike. So, they keep you out of it.

SYVERTSEN: But, to your knowledge, that was typical of industry at the time that you worked in it, that the master distiller was not actually in direct negotiations at the contract time.

HAWSE: No. We never did get in on that. They'd always bring it down here, the proposal, what they were going to propose to the union, and let you read it over and see if there was anything in there that you objected to, otherwise. It wouldn't do you any good to object anyway, you know.

SYVERTSEN: Well, do you think, in hindsight, looking back, that the master distiller should have had a stronger role historically in the labor negotiations at contract time? Would that have helped your position as master distiller or hinder it?


HAWSE: I don't believe it had any effect on it whatever. You had your job to do, and your men had their job to do, and that's all there was to it in rating, you know. It didn't -- you had to take the men they give you; that's one thing. You might -- that's the only thing I ever objected to. If you had a fellow in the boiler room that was an experienced fireman on the boiler and that job come open, that ware houseman could bid on it and want the same pay that fireman got; and he wouldn't know whether you put coal in that boiler or wood or whatever. He wouldn't even know the difference, you know. So, you had to teach them, maybe for -- well, you'd have to work another fireman for about twelve weeks teaching that over every day. Besides paying him, you were paying the other fellow to teach him to fire the boilers, see. So, I don't see why they couldn't just go out and hire a fireman; but they'd file a grievance for something like that. You 106:00had to stick to it, you know. Some of these jobs, a fellow could learn quick. Ed got a fellow in the ferment room, Chester Bailey. He come over --he come here on that strike. He came up and bid in there, to the fermenting room; and I went up there to him, and I said, "Do you like this job?" He said, "Yeah, I like it." In about a week's time, I turned him loose; he was a good ferment man. But, here come another fellow from the bot tling house. You've got him on the still now. He come up there two years later; he didn't know any more than he did when he went up there. Now, see the difference in people. That Chester Bailey was good. I just -- I stood up there with -- I had a measuring pole all marked off, even 107:00had wrote down on there what it was, this was where you _______ _____ the foam; this is the cooler this and the cooler that; and he never could get it. And, I'd just practically have to stand there -- Woody or myself would have to be up there nearly every time we'd set a tub seeing that he done it. Put him down on the still, and I guess he did pretty good, didn't he?

FOOTE: Mm hmm.

HAWSE: He's a good still operator. He was glad to get away from up there. When they first put him up there and he was agitat ing them tubs, you know, running that agitator through that __________ -- the strike hadn't been going on too long -- he said, "Boy, I've got to go to the doctor; there's something wrong with me." I said, "What's the matter?" He said, "I don't know. My chest." He said, "I believe I've got cancer of the lung." I said, "My God, go to the doctor." So, he took off for the doctor; and he come back. I said, "What did the 108:00doctor tell you?" He said, "He told me them muscles were sore there; I was doing something I wasn't used to doing." That's all that was the matter with him.

FOOTE: That's about, physically, the hardest job in the distillery, I guess.

HAWSE: Oh, yeah. And, you know, at first, Ed, old man McGill didn't believe in air to agitate the tubs or cistern or anything else. He believed you had a big long paddle; I think there's still some of them around here. You had to go down in there and stir them.

SYVERTSEN: Get the air in that.

HAWSE: No air.


HAWSE: No, no air.

SYVERTSEN: Well, I don't follow. Why the emphasis on the stirring?

HAWSE: You had to stir them up, you know, before you could drop them and pump them in the beer well, because the grain separates from the liquid after it's fermented, it all settles in the bottom, see?


HAWSE: You've got to stir it up to get it through your pump and everything out the beer well towards the agitators. And, they put those big fermentors in back 109:00there. They're about 16 ft. deep, I guess, or 18 ft., something like that, while the paddles, they was about 25 ft. long; and the ceiling was only about 10 ft. off the floor. So, no way you're going to stir it with that, you know; and them fellows trying and, you know, working up there, ____________ that way. I guess they put air -- they bought that air compressor out of town, put it in; and, you talk about a relief, that was it.

SYVERTSEN: So, do you stir it today?

FOOTE: No. No, we stayed with air.

SYVERTSEN: You stayed with the air.

HAWSE: All you have to do is stick that agitator in there and run it around, and that air will come up there.

FOOTE: If you had rye in there instead of wheat, I think that the air would be bad for you.


HAWSE: Might be.


FOOTE: You have more of a tendency to make picric(?) whiskey with rye, and that's where you create the aldehydes. And, you've got to have alcohol in the presence of air to do it, so we don't have any problem with high aldehyde whiskey; but, if we were using rye instead of wheat, we would have.

SYVERTSEN: But, the air will make that grain circulate better throughout, and that solves that problem pretty well?

HAWSE: Much better. That's a job, stirring that. We used to cut the whiskey, when we had to stir it, back in the cistern room at night -- or any time during the day -- we'd have to call -- when we'd get ready to pump it to the cistern room, you had your tank __________, we'd call the government man down here and open up the tank and gauge that and get it down to about 101 or 102 proof, you know, and then pump it up. If you pumped it over there about 130 proof and had 111:00to put all that water in there, them fellows on top of them cisterns, they'd be cussing you; they'd call you everything you can think of, you know, for stirring them things_______. It made it much easier to make it over here and put it over there. There wasn't so much of it at one time. Those tanks over there ________________ with 2250 bushel, they're like that being full. There's a lot of whiskey in them.

SYVERTSEN: When you were a master distiller, did you have a system by which you apprenticed people for different tasks, I mean, over a period of time? Or, how did you choose, you know, which fellow went to which position? I know you just gave us one example of one fellow who did not work out in his position. But, I mean, what was the general method by which you assigned people; or was that kind 112:00of predetermined in the union contract?

HAWSE: Once you put a fellow on a job, he can stay there until someone -- as long as he wants to -- unless someone with greater seniority than he does can get him off of it and say, "Well, I want that job. You have to get off; I'm an older man than you are and can do the job," then you -- but, you don't have that problem. The fellow usually -- a job opens up; somebody has to come from another department into your department, you know; and he'll bid in there and -- now, when I had the old fellows, I could take a man and put him on the mash tub that never saw a mash tub and forget about it. Everybody else took care of us. Same way in the yeast room or back in the ferment room. You just put the new man back there, and the old fellows would see that he didn't make a mistake. But, after the strike, you couldn't do that. The hell with him; it he can't do it, get 113:00somebody else. That was their attitude. See, they were a different kind of people. They talking about the --

SYVERTSEN: The strike is critical; it's a watershed in operations, I begin to see.

HAWSE: Right. You were talking about country people. Now, the first ones, up to the strike, were mostly country people. Well, where the agitation and everything kind of -- at the bottling house and the warehouse, you know -- these people over here, they didn't really want to go on strike.

FOOTE: It's still that way in the distillery, though. We have a minimum of problems. The only grievances would be warehousing, bottling --

SYVERTSEN: But, now here.


HAWSE: No, you don't have too much of it here. Over in the bot tling house, it's so many different small operations and classifications and all that, you know, that one of them will overlap and then you've got troubles, you know. One fellow 114:00working, and he'll say, "He's taking my work." "No, I'm not," and that's the way it goes.

SYVERTSEN: So, the union contracts are very different then in the distilling operation versus the other operations --

FOOTE: Well, it's the same contract, except we've got the same people here all the time. They're good on the job, and that's their job.

HAWSE: Yeah. We don't change around much here in the distillery. Ed's got a nice bunch of people here.

SYVERTSEN: And, so your workers here, you know, with the mash tubs and so forth, are assigned basically on seniority gratises(?).

FOOTE: They were, but the older guy anywhere in the distillery can't come in here and take one of their jobs. Now, if that -- if one of them leaves and that job permanently opened, then I've got to take whoever bids on it and train him. But, until that time comes, well, whoever's on the job, it's his job.

HAWSE: You got one alternative. Like, Ed brings a man -- they send Ed a man and 115:00he puts him on a job, he's got 30 days. And, Ed can say before the 30 days, "You go back to your job. I don't want you over here." I've had to send some --

FOOTE: If I see that he's just not capable of handling the job.

HAWSE: Yeah. You've got -- you can send him back.

SYVERTSEN: Does that -- in your viewpoint, is that pretty much an operable situation; or would you envision in the future, you know, some better situation for managing that process?

FOOTE: I don't see anything wrong with it. I mean, if you can't tell a guy's going to make it the first week, why there's something wrong with you, I'd think.

HAWSE: We had a fellow -- Ed's got him now, back in the dry house, the one they were talking about winning the $10 Thousand -- he worked in the warehouse for years; and he bid over here in the yeast room. Well, I go up there; and the 116:00fellow on the day yeast, he said, "He's not reading that thermometer right on them __________ yeast and that jug yeast." I said, "Well, what do you mean?" He said, "Well, I tried to show him; but," he says, "he tells me to mind my own business. He said he knows what he's reading on a thermometer, and that's the way it is." Well, now, a couple of degrees on the thermometer up there can make a lot of difference in your time; can't it, Ed? And, I told him about it. I told him; I said, "Jim, if you -- you've got to learn to read that thermometer right." "Well, I know," he said, "I know what I'm doing," and he says, "And, you can't change what I'm -- I know what it is, and I'm not going to change." I said, "Well, okay, back to the warehouse." I sent him back to the warehouse. He said, "Roy, you mean that I can never bid on another job here?" I said, "No. When another job comes open that you want to bid on, bid on it." And, he bid on 117:00that warehouse job and has been back there ever since, a long, long time -- good man, real good. Just couldn't teach him how to read the thermometer, and I don't know why. Maybe it's his eyes.

FOOTE: Or hardheaded. Maybe he's hardheaded.

HAWSE: Yeah, there was something wrong with him.

SYVERTSEN: John McKernan, who you mentioned earlier, I've been told by some other people, in the course of other research, was considered a power house in union circles in Jefferson County and was also considered very influential in the local Democratic party. Do you have any comment on that?

HAWSE: I don't really know him personally. I've seen him several times in union meetings, something like that. But, I guess he was all right; but he sure led 118:00these people down the daisy path. He took them out on strike, and he just made a big mistake, and that was all there was to it. He thought they'd call them back in there before they lost that beer, and they didn't lose the beer, so there was no way he could get them back in then.

SYVERTSEN: Because the Distillery Workers' Union was an AFL/CIO union and the AFL/CIO has been traditionally tied to the Democratic party, from your experience, what has that meant to the workers in terms of their overall political affiliation on the state and local level? Has that Democratic tie been there with the workers on the munici pal and city, county, state level; or has 119:00that tie-in been mostly on a national level?

HAWSE: I suppose it's been more on a national level. I think that -- ____________ different people. You don't know; it's hard to say, you know; what do you think about it, Ed?

FOOTE: Well, there's an old story. I think it was Alan Trout's story, where he was talking about the fellow that said, "I've always supported Democratic candidates. I vote for sheriff and magistrate, everybody all Democratic. But, you know that there's not any Democrat that's got sense enough to be President of the United States." I think around here, Democrat -- most of the working people tend to be Democrat; but, obviously, they didn't vote that way in the last presidential election.


HAWSE: No. Well, they was voting against a certain class of people at the time.

SYVERTSEN: Do you have any other comments about the workers and local poli tics historically?

HAWSE: No, I don't think so. I'm not too up on it now since I retired.

SYVERTSEN: Well, I mean, going back to your period. You know, any stories, affiliations that you can recall between the workers and -- for instance, in Kentucky, there was the Clements machine and there was the Chandler machine. Did you ever feel any of that among the workers?

HAWSE: I don't think that had anything to do with the workers around here. Some of them was Democrats; some of them was Republicans. Most of them wasn't anything, I don't suppose. I don't remember hearing politics discussed around 121:00here at all. Of course, I wasn't around on their lunch time.

FOOTE: They're not very political. The guys that I know in the distillery --

HAWSE: No. I wouldn't think so. You see, I was distiller, chief engineer and assistant plant superintendent; I got around pretty good. I don't believe I ever heard them discussing politics in any way. They're always afraid -- this fellow's afraid he's not going to be with this man; and this man's afraid, "Well, I'm not; I'd better keep quiet on the job, because he won't agree with me," you know, so --

FOOTE: I don't know about the average working person, but I think traditionally the distillery people have tried to maintain as neutral a profile as possible politically.


HAWSE: You can get your foot in it, if you don't watch.

SYVERTSEN: I've heard some others say that, as far as management level --

FOOTE: But, it certainly wouldn't apply to the union people. They say what they want to; they just don't -- apparently not that interested.

HAWSE: They don't say anything. I don't -- I never heard them discuss it in any way.

SYVERTSEN: What about on the management level ____________________? Do management-level people tend to support either one party or the other or one faction or the other?

HAWSE: I think most of them were Republicans. Wouldn't you say so?

FOOTE: I would think so. Yeah.

HAWSE: I don't have a reason to believe that; but it seems like, when I say something about Democrats, the crew in there always look down their nose at me.

SYVERTSEN: Well, maybe they -- in the 40's, as you know, the FET, the Federal Excise Tax, you know, skyrocketed; and it could be that ____________________ 123:00blame that on the Democratic administrations, national administrations of the 1940's, FDR, Truman.

HAWSE: When they put this extra tax on whiskey steam, you know, why, that caused a lot of friction up there. And, that was going to ruin them; they were going to move all the whiskey out of the state and everything. I don't know whether they ever --

FOOTE: But, even that, even that, the master distiller was down here making whiskey. Now, the guys in the office, they might have been politically involved; and the might have been talking to people and doing things; but you were making whiskey. Right?

HAWSE: That's right. You don't care what they do. You've got your hands full to start with.

SYVERTSEN: So, there wasn't a lot of discussion, for instance, when the production tax was doubled in 1955 from five cents to ten cents and there were threats of distillers' moving their warehouse stocks over to Indiana and so 124:00forth. Somehow, that never really filtered down amongst the workers.

FOOTE: Oh, yes. Now, there would be -- whenever that -- when whiskey started moving across the river and being warehoused over there, there was a grumbling about the state tax.

HAWSE: Yeah. Brown-Forman moved a lot of whiskey up to Terre Haute.

SYVERTSEN: And, then later, they built a plant in Utica, of course.

FOOTE: Yeah. In Indiana. Moved stocks over there.

SYVERTSEN: What was that like up here, I mean, you know, with the workers and so forth? Did they have some kind of response to that?

FOOTE: Well, there were a lot of people working; it was a pretty busy time for one thing. It was after that that they -- when they, you know, the results 125:00weren't seen immediately; and -- but, years later, when you start seeing everything drift away, that you started hearing more comment on it.

HAWSE: Yeah. Mostly, warehouse people do more grumbling about it than anybody, taking work away from them. But, the people making the whiskey, they already know -- they don't care what they're going to do with it; they can haul it to the moon if they want to; they wouldn't care, you know.

SYVERTSEN: The -- may I ask you, some of the colorful figures in this indus try, do you have some anecdotes, stories, about some of them?

HAWSE: I know a few about old man McGill and somebody like that. Ed might know more of them when he was over there at Seagra m's than I do.

FOOTE: You were telling me about McGill and a government guy one time, you overhearing a conversation --


HAWSE: That's what I told him about the old man stopping --

FOOTE: No, it was in the distillery.

HAWSE: Oh. Yeah. That -- this government man's name was Gudgel; he had a -- he wore a big long coat. You know, he wore an overcoat down to his shoe tops, you know. And, he was up here on a beer platform; and the day before he had pulled a gun out of his pocket -- I'm talking about the government man had a gun -- pulled a gun out of his pocket up here in the yeast room on the grain floor; and this beer runner, Bill McIntyre grabbed him -- put his arms down like that and took that gun away from him. The old man was a little bit drunk, I suppose. Well, he -- Gudgel was the man in charge on that particular day, and Bill was on 127:00a beer platform, and Gudgel goes up there and says, "Don't you ever put your hands on me again." And, so Mr. McGill heard it. He said, "What does he mean by that?" He said, "Well, I grabbed him up there and took the gun away from him. He was pointing it around up there on the grain floor, and I took it away from him." He said, "That's what he was talking about." And, Gudgel had come down and was walking towards the ground floor here -- the little office and things wasn't out here; you come out the door there from the engineer's desk -- and I had just walked up there between the mash tubs. And, old man McGill come down off that beer platform. He was so big, and he walked stiff-legged, too, you know, and one thumb off. He walked down there on that floor and hollered, "Hey, Gudgel, you so-and-so, you wait back there; I want to see you." He went up there, and he told him, he said, "Now, look, you bring a gun on my property, in my distillery 128:00again, I'm going to kick you from this door clean out that front gate; and I don't care who likes it or don't like it. You can bet on that." You know, the government took him away from here. They moved him out, up to another distill ery, of course. Boy, that old man was hot. He didn't use as nice language as I did. He really tore him up.

SYVERTSEN: Mr. Foote, I think, when I talked with you last time, you told me as the master distiller, you could usually check the product as it was evolving by your sense of smell. Ova Haney, who we talked about, another master distiller, an earlier master distiller, reportedly could tell by sticking his thumb in it and tasting it. Mr. Hawse, how did you tell if the product was ready and how the 129:00process was going?

HAWSE: Well, we used to run out of whiskey here; and we'd have to go out and buy whiskey, you know. And, say, you'd go some place and buy three or four thousand barrels of whiskey. You'd take -- say, every 20 barrels or something like that, you'd take out half-pint samples; and they'd bring them in here; and they'd have a lot of them sometimes; and we'd have to go up there and sample them. And, then, you have your own samples that you run, like your white whiskey and what you're going to bottle that day. Oh, you'd go up there and set them up, you know, whole staff, __________ help do most of it. We'd set it up, and we'd put half water and half whiskey and taste it, then spit it out. Had a sink up there we'd spit it in, you know. And, maybe we'd get as many sometimes as a hundred samples; and that's after your work hours. You're supposed to be going home. 130:00But, you could tell the difference. It's --

SYVERTSEN: You told by taste. You would just taste it and spit it out; and you could tell, when those barrels came in.

HAWSE: Yeah. Some of it, you don't have any trouble tasting. You take a barrel's had green stains in it; that gives you a thrill. You don't have no trouble picking that out, you know. Or, one that -- say, a rivet had dropped in it or something like that, a cooper's spike -- it'd turn that whiskey as black as it could be, you know; and it tastes like heck. Little things like that. Normally, why, there's not much difference in any of it, unless --

FOOTE: Unless there's something wrong with it.

HAWSE: Yeah. Unless there's something wrong with it. Maybe if you got too much acid, that might make a difference in the taste of it; it'd get a bite to it, 131:00you know.

FOOTE: Or, if you made it with the musty grain.


FOOTE: -- could be used as ___________.

HAWSE: _____________. People don't know the difference. We tasted a lot of whiskey around here. Do you still taste it every day, Ed?

SYVERTSEN: Do you taste it? So, you smell it and then taste it?

FOOTE: Yeah. Well, it's a combination that -- organoleptic, I mean, you can't taste it without smelling some.

HAWSE: Old man McGill rubbing his hands. I never did get -- it all depends on where you had your hands.

SYVERTSEN: Well, you have to dip through so much carbon dioxide, I guess --

FOOTE: No, the carbon dioxide is gone, by the time you're talking about the 132:00final product.

SYVERTSEN: But, don't they test it along the way, at different stages?

FOOTE: Well, oh, yeah, you taste --

SYVERTSEN: I mean, the oldest --

FOOTE: the working fermenter, you can smell and taste that also. That's a different thing.

SYVERTSEN: But, they'd dip a paddle in it. Didn't they dip a paddle in it sometimes?

FOOTE: No, you stick your finger in it. Like, if a fermenter smells real sour or you can tell -- you can tell from in the fermentation if it's going to -- you can probably tell if it's going to be bad whiskey. You go up in the fermenter room, they all got a good sweet, winy, apple-like flavor, you know it's going to be good. If it's got a sour, buttermilk flavor, you're in trouble.

HAWSE: You can tell the difference.

SYVERTSEN: I think you both made an interesting point earlier, you know, we were talking, when you said that, when you run at high capacity, you tend to produce a better, so often a better product, or at least the control of that product 133:00often is easier than --

FOOTE: Your sanitation is better.

SYVERTSEN: -- when you run small quantities versus --

FOOTE: When you leave lines empty, you've got mash residue or it's not perfectly clean; and, even if you put boiling water through there to clean it up, somewhere, before you come back the next morning, that temperature's going to get just right for bacteria to grow. But, if you're on a 24-hour-a-day operation, you don't have that. So, it's just a matter of staying clean.

HAWSE: You can tell in your fermenting room, now, the first tub that you set in _____________ -- your put your ____________ in that first tub -- and you'll notice that tub will not make as much whiskey; the acid will be higher on it. But, if the man in the fermenting room lets that run in the sewer about 15 134:00minutes before he puts it in there, it'll be normal just like all the rest of the tubs. But, if he don't, then that acid will start building up on that tub. First thing you know, you've got that acid through your whole house. First thing you know, you're in trouble. Yeah, that's the way it goes.

SYVERTSEN: How frequently did you have the problem of rejecting an entire ferment?

HAWSE: I never did.

SYVERTSEN: It never happened.

HAWSE: If I did, they would reject me.

SYVERTSEN: I see. Never happened.

HAWSE: Never happened. You know, you can always put some lime in it; soda ash won't hurt it, something like that, and sweeten it; but --

SYVERTSEN: Did you do that without it ever being detected, even, you know, when the bottle -- later on, when the bottle was chilled and so forth, that you wouldn't have any sediment?


HAWSE: Oh, you can't -- you can't even tell when a cockroach flies in it. You don't know the difference. I don't think it makes a bit of difference in it. It does take the acid down, you know. But, you'd better start washing your lines out. That's the main thing, you know. That's where it starts building up. But, I was then deciding what Ed said. This residue lays in these lines, and it's bound to hit a temperature some place where bacteria starts growing; that's what happens. And, if you don't run it in the sewer -- if you run that hot slop through there first in the sewer about 10 or 15 minutes, that'll sterilize your lines. If you put that right in the fermenter to start with, then you've got acid building up. I remember what I told Booze. The fer menting room man come up, and I said -- he said -- the boy was going to be master distiller -- he said, "I just don't understand it," he said, "that tub there at the front door, 136:00the acid's just as high as it can be on it every day." He said, "Nothing I can do don't seem to make any difference." I said, "Where do your put your slop first thing in the morning?" And, he says, "In that tub." I said, "How long do you run it in the sewer before you put it in there?" "I don't run it in the sewer." So, he was already in trouble. Started running it in the sewer, and it worked out all right. I don't know how they operate a distillery. You know, they had a fellow there about 35 years; and I think all he's thought about is bolts and such as that, you know. And, this guy was insisting that you never tell anything. I was sitting there, and the engineer came in. He said, "Every time I open that valve and turn the steam on that -- " (for distilled water on the water still) -- he said, "it pulls all the water out of that boiler." I said, "How big's that line?" He said, "Two inches." I said, "Does it come off the top 137:00of your main steam line or the bottom?" He said, "It comes off the top." I said, "Well, it shouldn't do that." I said, "Go over there and get a sample of water out of the boiler." He got a sample of water out of it; it was seven times ______________ from age, ________________. I said, "My God, man, no wonder." I said, "You go over there and ______ that boiler down to 3,500, and you won't have that problem. Get it down to 3,000." He said, "I don't know why that other fellow didn't think about that." They hadn't done it for 25 years.

SYVERTSEN: That's interesting.

HAWSE: You mix the water right in that boiler, you know; and it starts to foam. They did some funny things. They run their still on a pound and a half of steam. And got good yield. I never said anything. I said, "Man, if you're running on 138:00that, --"

FOOTE: More power to you.

HAWSE: Yeah. Making about five-nine, five-ten every day in there. But, they did use 75 per cent corn. That'd make a differ ence, you know. But, they had an automatic valve on the back of that still that took slop out of it; and I guess that that's the only reason they could run that still on a pound and a half of steam. We used to have a butterfly valve on the back of our still here, you know. That thing -- ever once in a while, it would give you a lot of trouble; and you had a still full of beer and everything else, you know. And, we put that trap on it and things was going pretty good.

SYVERTSEN: Were you affected here by the 1937 flood?


HAWSE: That's the time that guy -- the old man was giving that government man heck, during the '37 flood. We was down, and water didn't get up here. It got up in this elevator in the middle of the room; the elevator shafts was full, about that deep. Didn't quite come out on the top of the ground, the same way in the old boiler room and that elevator shaft in that; it had about three or four ft. of water in it. But, it got all around here; got down there. Of course, I live on a little hill there in back of the distillery. And, it didn't get that. But, all -- from here, all the way to the river, there was only about two farmhouses wasn't ________ down there. It was all the way __________. I took my family over in rented apartments, where I was sure they wouldn't get any water; and I come 140:00back over and stayed here. And, we built a boat; and we'd go up to Dixie Highway -- there was water up from here to Dixie Highway -- and we'd get meat and bread and canned goods and stuff like that; and a few farmers came in here that lived down here; and they brought chickens and hogs to kill, you know. Then we set up cots up there in the yeast room, where it was good and warm for them, we had plenty of coal back there -- had three carloads of coal in our bins. And, we put a stove in the boiler room and run the pipe out the window. And, them farmers come to live right there.

FOOTE: The water didn't get in?

HAWSE: It got in the basement of the office, and we run our mash out. That was the only thing that didn't go well. We had -- we was mashing about 1,500 141:00bushels, and that river coming up that big sewer in the back end; and we run that out; and, instead of drying it, we put it in the sewer and it went right out there and come right back in the basement of the office. That mash in the bottom, all down in that basement _________________, over the radiators and every thing we had you know -- we had a lot of whiskey stored down there, and it was all on that. Got everybody up there, when the water went down, wading around in there and washing them whiskey bottles off, you know, and had to get a fire hose in and wash -- of course, they didn't have that big basement like they do now; it was just -- you know where you go down the ramp. And, it got to stinking, you know; it had been in there long enough to start to sour. Some of 142:00them fellows --them half-pints, they'd drink them as fast as they could get them. So, there wasn't too much of a problem there.

SYVERTSEN: You saw a lot of half-pints in those days, right?

HAWSE: Oh, yeah.

SYVERTSEN: There was good profit, I imagine.

HAWSE: A lot of half-pints, and then they sold a lot of miniatures, too, on trains, passenger trains. Bottling house people don't like the miniatures. They'd give them fits. What is there, 240 in a case?

FOOTE: Yeah.

HAWSE: People would just stick them in their pockets and walk out.

SYVERTSEN: Was that -- I know, at some distilleries, that was a major problem with women putting small bottles under their skirts and bras -- down their bras and so forth. Was that a problem here with women?


HAWSE: Might have been, but nobody caught it. I know they carried out a lot of it. They even one time caught a truck driver loading it back here on the private dock, and they put on eight or ten extra cases. Then, the truck driver, he'd stop someplace else to unload that eight or ten cases, you know. They were a long time catching that one, too. Then, they had to station a guard back there when they loaded a truck. I know I went over there one time, and they said, "Roy, we can't get any heat over here." They had a line -- one of these back buildings here run out with a little dock ______. So, I went over there; and they didn't have a walkway; it was just whiskey stacked in there from the conveyor over to the wall. And, I was walking on that conveyor -- I had it shut off, you know -- and I looked underneath there, and these fellows had been 144:00setting whiskey -- they'd break a case, you know, and they may take out the rest of the whis key and set it underneath there and then later on, I guess they'd take it home with them. I'll bet there was 20 fifths setting under there that people set back. Oh, there was all kinds. They're going to get it, one way or the other.

SYVERTSEN: What did they do here when, you know, when people habitually became drunk. I could see on the one hand that it might be a serious problem for both the company and the industry, during the early years after repeal, to deal with this problem. One could predict that, in some cases, they would want to actually have the people dry out on distillery grounds before going, you know, back into the community, because of the P R problem involved and also because, as time went on, there was that issue, you know, of precincts going wet or dry and so forth.


FOOTE: That could be a factor, too.

SYVERTSEN: Well, were these real problems?

HAWSE: I don't think it was very much of a problem. They didn't fire anybody for getting drunk. They said, "You sober up, and you stay sober." They'd pour buttermilk down him or coffee or something like that. I've seen them get these warehousemen and pour coffee and buttermilk down and take them over behind the warehouse, if one of them would get too drunk. They'll put up with that a while, and then they'll say, "Well, you're not going to do any better, so they'd take him that next time and get rid of him. They just -- they don't run them off just if they maybe get a little too much unless he would really foul up. Now, Homer -- him and Willie used to be at it, and Willie would lay off for about a week. You can do that, you know. And, then they had a fellow over there in the mill 146:00room. I took him out -- well, he was on the mash tub, and he dropped two wheats in one mash tub. By golly, I got up there; and he was really drunk, you know, and he looked it. So, I got that straightened out; and I said, "Okay." He goes right over to Number 2 mash tub and done the same thing again. Wasn't 30 minutes later. I'm telling you. Well, Andy Corcoran -- he was plant superintendent -- come in and said, "Well, fire him." And, I said, "I don't like to fire him." I said, "The man's got a family; he's a pretty good man." He says, "Take him back to the dry house and put him back there and tell him not to come back up here." So, I took him back there; and he straightened out. He had an operation on his back. He stayed out pretty good. He come up -- Miller's job got open; he bid on that -- and he come up to the mill room. And, three times a week, I had to go 147:00over there; and I'd say, "Maurice, if you don't quit this drinking over here, I'm going to have to get rid of you." And, I'd keep telling him that, you know. Finally, he come in one day and said, "Roy, I ______________." I said, "Yeah?" He said, "Yeah. I'm religious." By golly, that guy never took another drink. He started reading that bible. Every time I'd go over there, you know, when he didn't have anything to do, he's be sitting there reading the bible. He went -- I call it a religious nut. He really turned over. Then, he died after he retired. I never did understand that. One tied to the other. From one extreme --

SYVERTSEN: Did you experience pressures during the thirties from religious 148:00groups who were dry, you know, I mean, because they knew you were a master distiller, did they exert pressures on you socially in the community?

HAWSE: Not personally. And, not recently. Some of them around here have. We've had fellows that get religious and quit here, because it's against his principles to be working where they made whiskey, see. But, then I've heard where preachers refused -- would tell a guy, "I don't want your money in my --"

SYVERTSEN: Congregation.

HAWSE: Yeah. "I don't want your money in my --"

SYVERTSEN: They'd say that in front of a distiller or something --

HAWSE: Yeah. We had a farmer back then, and his wife quite the church on that account. And, my little girl, Vicki, she was going down here to Ralph Avenue Baptist Church; she was going to Sunday School; and my wife and I went down there __________. She went with the neighbors -- next-door neigh bors -- and she 149:00come home and said, "Mama, that Sunday School teacher told me that my daddy made his money from whiskey and I didn't have any business putting it in the --

SYVERTSEN: Collection plate?

HAWSE: By golly, she hasn't went back today. No, you couldn't get her back. If that's the way they feel about it, I don't __________.

SYVERTSEN: So, it wasn't too extensive; but there was some of it.

HAWSE: Yeah. That's why I don't understand why.

FOOTE: I knew a guy that worked in the dryer house that would -- he wouldn't work -- there was a railroad track between the dryer house and the distillery -- and, normally, the guys rotated through various jobs, you know, in the dryer house and then mash floor -- and he wouldn't -- it was against his religion to 150:00work in the distillery, but the dryer house he could live with.

HAWSE: I never could understand why they drew a line like that. Could you? Just like the farmer raising the corn; he -- maybe he's real religious and don't believe in anything, but still he --

SYVERTSEN: He'll sell it to the distillery, huh?

HAWSE: He don't know he's doing it maybe. Same way with a fellow cutting a tree down, steel mill, anything else.

SYVERTSEN: As a master distiller, you always had the right to fire a person; is that correct?

HAWSE: Not exactly.

SYVERTSEN: How did that work?

HAWSE: Now, he had to do something real bad. I mean like you catch him drinking on the job, and then you could take him up to the office and say, "Here he is. I don't want him any more." And, they would get rid of him. But, it has to be 151:00serious before he can; and that's the way it should be. Ed might fire everybody in here some day if it wasn't like that.

SYVERTSEN: But, you still have that same authority, I take it.

FOOTE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: I know this is a long day for you, and I don't want to tire you much further, because you're probably thinking about being home by now. I'd like to -- just one other quick question I'd like to ask if I may. Desegregation -- what did this plant undergo _________ desegregation?

HAWSE: That never was a problem here. When they started, they hired -- let's see -- about three or four black fellows to unload grain, unload coal, haul cinders away --

SYVERTSEN: Back in '34, '35?

HAWSE: Yeah. And, they had -- then, they had a janitor in the bottling house; they had a janitor in the office that was black; and it never was a problem. I 152:00had two blacks here --in fact, they went to work just about a month or two after I did; and one of them -- they're both dead now. One of --

SYVERTSEN: They worked in the distillery?

HAWSE: They worked in the labor gang. A small labor gang. You didn't have to tell them fellows anything; they had been here so long, you know. Everything happened. The cinders would be gone, the coal unloaded, the grain unloaded or something. Anything happened _____________, they was there and cleaned it up. It was a pleasure to work with them.

FOOTE: They were very fortunate then here. They didn't have the problems in the early sixties that some of the other places --

HAWSE: No. We didn't have --

SYVERTSEN: I was going to ask you that, you know, because the sixties was the major period of desegregation, whether that was a rough period here in the distillery.


FOOTE: It -- see, I was over at Seagram then; and, of course, they were very early with integration, because of the Brockton(?) family being Jewish, I suppose, because they integrated before they really had to. But, they had black people in sanitation prior to that time. But, they ran into some problems when they first started moving them into management and promoting them rapidly; and, well, they just didn't know how to reprove or how to cull; and they were pretty busy at the time, had some -- like a second shift during the Christmas rush, so they got some people in shipping. They got some pretty -- they'd just go out in 154:00the street and grab the first person that came by. But, they got it straightened out pretty quick. __________ done a real good job, I think.

HAWSE: Later on, around here, after that, they got in the bottling house and warehouse, too. I had them two, then, in grass-cutting season, we'd have a couple more, you know. There's a lot of grass, about 40 acres of grass around here.

SYVERTSEN: I see there's a lot.

HAWSE: But, them two fellows --

SYVERTSEN: So, if you had to date when the first blacks actually came to work in the actual distilling end of the operation, when would you place that date roughly?

FOOTE: Well, the grain unloading would have been --


SYVERTSEN: In the beginning. You said in the very beginning, right.

HAWSE: That part of it, unloading the grain. We never did have anybody - a black man working on the job. I didn't. I don't know whether you and Woody have or not.

FOOTE: But, there's not a big turnover. I mean, you've got five guys working in the distillery; and the guys that are working there now have been there 15 years, I guess.

HAWSE: Yeah. Some of them around 20.

FOOTE: Some 25.

SYVERTSEN: What was your peak enrollment of workers, you know, at the dis tillery entity operation? I mean, at your peak, what was the maximum number of workers that were working?

HAWSE: Twenty-seven.

SYVERTSEN: That's a small number.

HAWSE: That's to run the distillery. I'm not talking about ______ _______.

SYVERTSEN: You were producing 2,200 gallons?

HAWSE: 2,250 bushels.

SYVERTSEN: Bushels, excuse me. With just 27 workers.


HAWSE: Well, see, you only had two mash men on two shifts. That's two shifts. Two mash men; we had about eight yeast men; you had two in front of that room; two on the still; two millers and two back in the warehouse. Then, you had those labor ers, and that's about it. Well, you had a carpenter and electrician. They was always in your contract. I don't know whether they still are or not; are they, Ed?

FOOTE: No. They're -- they report to maintenance.

HAWSE: Yeah.

SYVERTSEN: And, today, you'll run 1,250 bushels or so with maybe just five people.

FOOTE: Right.

HAWSE: And, he's not counting any laborers.

SYVERTSEN: Not very labor tensive(?), this end of the operation?

FOOTE: It never has been.


HAWSE: When I retired, they took all the maintenance and put it under a different fellow -- give that to another man. They didn't give the distiller maintenance like I had, see. I had it all, and I wish they'd took it away from me about ten years before I retired. That was a lot of work.

FOOTE: You'd probably stuck around a while.

HAWSE: Yeah. That maintenance runs into a lot of work, especially when you're running two shifts. They do it on Sunday, most of the maintenance; and you've got to be out here with them and see how things go. Soon as I retire, they hired another maintenance superintendent, give the other still, took it away from him and made him mad.

FOOTE: It was kind of hard to take.

HAWSE: Yeah. And, he said, "Roy, I don't understand that fellow." He says, "I 158:00took the maintenance and give it to Fred, and" he said, "he got so mad at me." He said, "Now, I could have understood if I had cut his wages, but I didn't." So, he had a whole lot less work to do, same money; but he didn't like it. I think __________ pride ___________. That's what it was. Well, there's no pride to it; there's just a lot of hard work, harder than --

FOOTE: -- he's been into it for a while.

HAWSE: That was the chief engineer part of it.

SYVERTSEN: Uh huh. I see.

HAWSE: Keeping coal ordered and all that.

SYVERTSEN: You don't miss that, do you, Mr. Foote?


HAWSE: Well, with that part of it, you've got problems. They call you at home if 159:00you've got a toilet stopped up. You've got to send somebody over to the bottling house; "The sink fell off the wall." I said, "My God, how did the sink fall off the wall?" They said, "sitting in it." I said, "I've got to see this." So, I went over there; and they were -- there were two wash basins in the men's rest room. And, here all these fellows flocked in there to smoke, see, on their break; and there was two of them sitting up on these wash basins. And, you know, how they're fastened on the wall with them hooks. So, I sent the carpenter over there and had him build a 2 X 4 frame under them; they can sit in it now if they want to.

SYVERTSEN: I want to thank you both very much on behalf of the University for all your cooperation on this. Mr. Hawse, it's been delightful.

HAWSE: Well, it's been a pleasure to sit around and talk to you.

SYVERTSEN: It's been a delightful three-way conversation. I've enjoyed it, and I think we've picked up quite a bit of valuable material.


HAWSE: What did you get this out here for, Ed?

FOOTE: It -- you were talking about the government while ago. They were sitting over at the other building the other day when they ran the alcohol, on the heliometer(?) --

HAWSE: You know, back in this number 2 fermenting room, they had a little place ____________ across from the back corner and there's a sink in there and that government man would take ___________ in there, and that's where he run. But, he didn't like it, because on a summer afternoon that sun come through that window and burn him out, you know. So, he finally talked to them to let somebody else do it. And, I set up a -- I set heliometers up on that third floor up there and run water up there and put a sewer up there to it and everything, you know. And, then, he told me, he said, "It's your job." And, I had to go up there and run 161:00it. Do you have any idea how long it takes to run eight samples plus a spot sample? Man!


HAWSE: Four hours. By the time you bring them over and boil them and everything. So, it didn't take me long to find somebody else to do it.

SYVERTSEN: Well, thank you, again. I appreciate it.

HAWSE: Well, you're welcome.


* H = Roy S. Hawse

F = Edwin Foote

I = Interviewer



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