SMALL TOWNS PREVIEW: Bourbon aged by Lake Michigan

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 6:57 AM CDT
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ALGOMA, Wis. (WBAY) - For centuries, whiskey makers have used the oceans to help age one of the world’s most popular spirits--bourbon.

A Wisconsin man has tried the approach with fresh water from Lake Michigan. After he could no longer easily find the fine bourbon he sought, Kerry Shaw Brown decided to make his own.

Thursday in Small Towns, Jeff Alexander travels to Algoma to see the bourbon mission aboard a charter boat.

Brown wanted to an aggressive aging method--one that could age the bourbon years in just a few months.

He connected with owners of Kinn’s Sport Fishing and asked if he could place casks of bourbon in the front of one of their boats. They agreed and barrels of bourbon arrived in July.

Lake Michigan went to work.

“I’d be getting texts from Captain Bret, the bourbon is really getting a workout today, it’s six footers, and so yeah, he would update me from time to time,” says Brown.

“And you were thrilled?”

Brown replies, “Absolutely, yeah.”

“I think we accomplished what Kerry wanted and that was really to mix them up well, and boy, after this September, everybody knows how windy it was, we took a beating out here, so he was pretty pleasantly surprised when he tasted it was he not,” says Bret Cook, Kinn’s Sport Fishing co-owner.

We were there as the bourbon was unloaded off the boat and sampled.

Thursday on Action 2 News at 6, the full story of how the salmon boat turned into a bourbon boat.

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