Tag Archives: Factory

Goats, Kudzu, and Rotted Wood Walk into a Bar…

5 Mar

Bick wall, hole in the wall, Goat Farm Atlanta

…there’s no punchline. Becuase there’s no joke.
Not really surprised, are you?

What’s incredible, though, is how these three come together and create compelling space. Yes, I said “compelling.”

Humans flock to the Goat Farm in industrial Atlanta for the cool, run down buildings aside the train tracks. Photo clubs (like mine) are in heaven. Funky weddings, trendy businesses, clever adjectives paired with benign nouns.

That Was Then, This Is Now
Once a cotton gin, there are 12 dilapidated buildings on the 12 acre property. Crumbling brick; facades overgrown with kudzu (the fastest growing plant in the South that’s practically un-killable); broken windows; rotted wood. Basically a dream come true…as long as you’ve had your tetanus shot.

Now it’s glory for artists, and goats. Becuase they go together like peanut butter and jelly. I didn’t know why it was called the goat farm until I actually stumbled upon some goats. That part is rather hidden despite being the namesake and all.

Americana the Beautiful
Places like this, tucked away where you don’t expect to find them, are the lore of Americana. History and production. Creativity and productivity. Turning a space inside out. It’s American. It’s Beautiful.

What spaces have you discovered – in your hometown or on the road?

Can’t see the slideshow? Click here.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream: Secrets to their Chunk-to-Ice-Cream-Ratio

26 Dec

Ben and JerrysWe may think of Ben & Jerry’s as quintessential Vermont, but it turns out they have factories across the US, and wait for it, in Tel Aviv Israel. A perfectly natural choice for ice cream production.

The factory tour is filled as much with clever tidbits as it is eccentric painting and massive obsession with ice cream. And isn’t that really the way we want all tours to be?

Chunk-to-Ice-Cream-Ratio
Cookies, candy and other detectible chunks are added when the ice cream reaches a consistency like soft serve. Makes sense. And adds to that time-honored tradition of scooping out the biggest chunks possible when you hold a cone–or pint–in your hand.

Peace Love and Ice CreamWhat Small Containers You Have
B&J intentionally use pint-size containers becuase the larger the container the higher the air content, and the more susceptible to freezer burn. So a gallon container is in and out of the freezer a lot; more chance for spoiled ice cream. A B&J pint is only touched a few times once home. Stays fresh.

Flavor History
Over 300 flavors have retired; they weren’t a hit or it’s time to move on. Cherry Garcia is the #1 flavor of all time (feh, not by my standards), and suggested by a customer–who now gets free ice cream for life. I see pros and cons to this arrangement. You?

Tasting Room
Ever improving, the tour ends in the tasting room where we get to try a new flavor that’s in development.

My day: Late Night Snack for Jimmy Fallon: vanilla bean ice cream with salty caramel swirl and fudge covered potato chips. Umm, couldn’t have come up with anything better myself.

What ice cream flavor would you create?


Jack Daniels’ Bar Miztvah Project

1 May

Jack Daniels TourWhile just a wee thing, Jack Daniels learned about distilling whiskey. When he turned 13 his teachers found the error of their ways and took to the Spirit, instead of spirits, and left Jack to fend for himself. And fend he did, making a product, brand, and a successful business. Indeed, he became a man at 13. (For those keeping score at home, no, he wasn’t Jewish; I just liked the poetry of it!)

The Distillery tour in Lynchburg, TN is spectacularly more interesting than expected. And for a woman who only recently graduated to lager (from cider), their marketing videos made me THIRSTY for a shot of Jack.

Prohibition of course played a major part in the company’s history. When Tennessee went dry, Jack sold whiskey in Alabama to soldiers in the Civil War. When the whole country went dry the company later got permission to produce alcohol in the county even though it can’t be sold. And just recently the county was convinced of the benefits to sell Jack Daniels to tourists – tax dollars at work! Now the municipality is well-staffed, -sidewalked, and -maintained.

So how is it made? Wood is quite important. They make their own barrels (and sell the used ones to Scotland for Scotch and New Orleans for Tabasco). And the wood burned to make coal is expensive – I think he said $1 a plank. That coal is mixed with crushed maple sugar and distills impurities…one drip at a time. A rig dispenses the whiskey through plumbing over 4-5 feet of charcoal and it takes five days for a drop to make its way to the bottom.  Mellow.

Jack Daniels Very Special Coal

Very Special Coal

Jack Daniels Distillery

Making the Very Special Coal

Shovels for the Jack Daniels Very Special Coal

Shovels for the Very Special Coal

This is the only place in the world to make Jack Daniels whiskey – it’s all shipped from here. 20,000 barrels are stored per building, with 77 on the property. 1 million gallons of whiskey. I suspect they have good security.

Want a barrel of your own? They’ll raise a black flag when you come to buy it, and put your name on a plaque. The wall where I stood included such prestigious buyers as Costco of Mexico and Kevin Spacey’s 50th birthday. Continue reading