We took some time to sit down with Four Roses Plant Engineer Frank Corea, so that he could share his story with you. Frank has been with Four Roses for three years, and his role as plant engineer takes him to all areas of the Bourbon-making process, from the Distillery in Lawrenceburg, to the Warehouse & Bottling Facility in Cox’s Creek, and everywhere in between.
His primary function is to focus on the Distillery expansion project, but as that nears completion, he can shift focus to other areas where the operations team may need him. At the Distillery, he’s also responsible for the maintenance department, process upgrades and changes, as well as playing a role in assisting the Distillery Manager with day-to-day operations.
How does one decide to get involved in this line of work? Take a look.
Where did you find your passion to work in this industry?
As a lifelong Kentuckian, it’s always been understood that our state does three things better than any other state–Bourbon, horses, and basketball. It’s one thing to be a fan of those three things, but it’s another to be able to participate or contribute to them.
I was too short to play basketball and don’t quite have the passion for horses that they deserve, but Bourbon was always something I could get behind. To me, Bourbon was always there for special occasions, whether it be a milestone in life, or getting together with company that’s been away for just a bit too long. Those were the times we’d open a bottle of the “good stuff,” slow down for the evening, and enjoy what we had–friends, family and great Bourbon.
What are three things we might find you doing during a typical day on the job as Plant Engineer?
Planning and implementing changes to the Distillery, looking over data we collect from the Distillery, and streamlining our managerial processes to make our work more efficient.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role as Plant Engineer?
I work in a place steeped in heritage, and our maintenance men and operators are second to none. Getting to work with such talented people in such an amazing setting is truly a blessing. This place would not run without our people.
Four Roses is nearly finished with the major expansion project. In what ways have these updates changed the Four Roses production at the Distillery?
We are making more Bourbon now than this Distillery has ever made in its nearly 110 years of operating and it’s only going to increase. We’ve added more of everything–more mash cookers, more fermenters, more stills–and we plan on adding even more. The next couple of years will bring more fermenters, more grain silos and more holding tanks for the Bourbon that we make. At the Warehouse & Bottling Facility in Cox’s Creek, we will be adding more warehouses to hold all the extra Bourbon we will be making.
Have you had a role in the expansion project at the Distillery?
Yes, my primary focus was on the expansion for its first three years. I oversaw various projects in the expansion, from the grain conveying system to the river water treatment process, and had a hand in everything in between.
My main area of work was in integrating all the new devices in the Distillery to our controls system. I oversaw the programming and testing of all our new processes and how everything in the Distillery interacts with one another. It was a great way to learn the process of making Bourbon because the programming touches every single thing in the Distillery from start to finish.
What other exciting things can we expect to see in Four Roses’ future?
We are very excited about our new Bourbon offering–Small Batch Select. It is another way we can showcase the truly wonderful Bourbon we create here. It’s another way to show just how much care goes into making our product, from the operators to Master Distiller Brent Elliott’s ability to mingle fantastic tasting expressions.
What are you looking forward to in 2019?
2019 is an exciting year for me as I get to marry the love of my life. My fiancé Bethany and I challenge each other to be the best people we can be, both in and out of our home. I can’t imagine going through life with anyone other than her. I am truly blessed to have someone as strong as her by my side.
What can someone expect to see on a tour of the Four Roses Distillery?
Our tour is unique because you get to be up close to all of the machines that make our Bourbon. My favorite part of the tour is the fermenter room. All of our fermenters are open-top, so they are very easy to see in and offer a lot in the way of the smell department. The sights and the aromas of the fermenter room never disappointed.
How do you typically enjoy Four Roses?
That really depends on what I’m in the mood for. On a hot summer day, I enjoy Four Roses Small Batch in an ice-cold Kentucky Mule. When I want to unwind, I usually have a neat pour of Four Roses Single Barrel.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about yourself or your job at Four Roses?
We have the best people working for us and making the best Bourbon I’ve had. Every step of our process reflects the time and care that everyone here puts into their job. It truly is a recipe for excellent Bourbon.
Four Roses is committed to safe, responsible drinking.
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