Wine and Viticulture

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Submission #1805

Distillation Engineer
Full Time
Pernod Ricard USA
Lebanon, KY
Because we know that something extraordinary happens when we come together — when we share a drink, a conversation, an idea, a purpose.

Our founder, Paul Ricard, believed in the positive impact of a strong, inclusive community. As he began selling his spirits, he was determined to make a new friend every day, thereby establishing a company that leads with conviviality, with a goal of creating beautiful, shared moments of celebration for people around the world.

Now, decades later, we’re still bringing people together, breaking barriers and empowering joy through the power of our brands. This spirit of conviviality is what allows us to dream bigger and innovate beyond what any one of us could’ve ever imagined possible.
July 1, 2024
Distillation Engineer
Position Summary:
• We are looking for people who are passionate about making the best whiskey from grain to glass and having direct involvement on every step of the process. If you enjoy an environment that is technical, professional, self-directed but also hands-on, and you happen to love whiskey – this could be the right opportunity for you. The Whiskey Engineers run all aspects of the Distillery, Dryhouse, Blending and Maturing Operations to ensure maximum effectiveness in safety, quality, operations & maintenance, sustainability & responsibility, and production requirements to make whiskey for our Jefferson’s whiskey brand. We are hiring to grow our team for 24/7 operations. Ownership, integrity, and a passion for whiskey are musts. The role will vary in terms of “desk time” and “field time” but is anticipated to be typically 90% in the distillery environment itself including control room, and 10% in the office/desk.
• We welcome those would like to be part of an engaged, and inclusive site culture that appreciates and is diverse, convivial, and passionate about whiskey and the people making it!
Key Responsibilities (bullet point form only):
• Hands-on operation of the distillery, dryhouse, blending and maturing areas to make outstanding whiskey, safely and consistently. Whiskey Engineers will be trained to operate all areas of the site, including some troubleshooting, diagnostics and repair that will build upon technical capabilities.
• The Whiskeymaker will have responsibility and accountability for safe operation of the specific area of the distilery that is being run by the individual, which will rotate based upon schedule as well as need based upon staffing. The Whiskeymaker will work in partnership with other Whiskey Engineers on the team and under guidance of the Team Lead to optimize all aspects of the distillery operations and maintenance including quality, grain handling, cooking/mashing, fermenting, distillation, dryhouse, maturing/warehousing, utilities, sanitation, facilities, and 5S.
• Troubleshoot, repair and correct process deviations and communicate the actions to the team. The troubleshooting includes inspect, repair, maintain, cleaning, replacing and preventive maintenance related activities on instrumentation and equipment.
• Ownership and startup (with support) of areas of the new distillery including cross-training of teammates, working with the equipment suppliers and programmers.
• Lead and support continuous improvement projects
• Maintain compliance with all food safety goals and requirements.
• Attain production requirements and deadlines with prioritization on safety, quality, and efficiency.
• The Whiskey Engineer will have decision-making authority in the following areas:
• Temporarily halt production based upon critical safety risks
• Temporarily halt or slow down production to make necessary repairs or troubleshooting that can impact up to 4 hours of production
• Hold or cut production due to quality concerns, which includes sensory and analytical testing of distillate and mash
• Reject materials such as incoming materials including grain and barrels, based upon analyses against specifications
• Make documented adjustments to operating parameters in cooking, fermentation time and temperature, distillation temperature, reflux rate, distillation feed rate, and byproducts operation based upon analyses and performance
• Make technical determinations on equipment maintenance and/or replacement needs based upon root cause problem-solving methods
• Perform, and/or issue work orders, including overseeing or working with contractors for repairs
• Utility operations including cooling towers, boilers, RO water, air compressors
• Issue requisitions to the line manager or planner/controller for site materials or other items as needed including mechanical equipment
• Collaborate as a team to work out Paid Time Off coverage for approval by the team leads and planner/controller
• Present recommendations to their line manager for decisions that would require greater than 4 hours of downtime, or financial impact that could exceed $10,000 USD
• Support the leadership team and provide ownership on compliance with site and company safety goals and initiatives.
• Communicate across multiple levels of the organization and cross-functionally, including knowledge of and reporting of key performance indices, management of change and operational details during shift handoffs
• Understand and have S.M.A.R.T. goals that contribute to the company and site goals
• Fully understand site operating costs including cost of goods/materials, utilities, cost of distillation, and capex budget
• Full comprehension and ownership of the manufacturing excellence process
• Lead and support continuous improvement projects
• Maintain focus and professionalism at all times including during visitor tours of the facility
• Day to day responsibilities include:
• Track and input inventory data accurately into inventory and reporting systems.
• Have input or lead team meetings to communicate status on key performance indices.
• Utilize technology including e-mail and cell phones to receive and communicate in a team setting where change is constant and often electronic versus face to face, and ensure you are taking accountability to stay current with site updates.
• Perform analyses using laboratory instrumentation and sensory on grain, mash and distillate.
• Perform basic repairs to instrumentation, pumps, valves, gearboxes and electrical motors.
• Understand and conduct basic PLC programming and troubleshooting
• Zero, span and calibrate instrumentation
• Install and replace basic fittings with manual tools.
• Utilize P&IDs, manuals, drawings and schematics to troubleshoot and repair.
• Document repairs, changes and learnings and communicate thoroughly to ensure management of change is completed.
Required Skills & Abilities (bullet point form only):
• Hands on training, guidance and leadership in specific areas especially during startup. This role will require being periodically on-call and at times will necessitate shift support. Be able to check e-mails / text messages during non-scheduled working hours to ensure being up to date on critical needs, or respond to teammates / line managers
• Knowledge of Mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation installations, and pneumatic and digital control systems
• Knowledge of biological processes (e.g. fermentation) and chemical processes (e.g. distillation)
• Process operating experience in distillation, brewing, food & beverage manufacturing, chemical, pharmaceutical, OR a degree in engineering, science, or related manufacturing field or experience that shows aptitude in technical skills and processing
• Be able to work flexibly between different areas of the operation to be highly skilled in all
• Be able to work 12 hour shifts (non-rotating), including second shift
• Be able to work independently as well as cross-functionally with different levels of teams
• Familiar with and able to document process flow diagrams, read piping & instrumentation diagrams, understand and troubleshoot process instrumentation
• Strong verbal and written communication skills
Required: Bachelor Degree: Engineering/related science or business field, or Electromechanic Degree. Preferred: Relevant experience in food & beverage, distillation/brewing, and chemical facilities or manufacturing also accepted

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