162: How Data and Automation are Shaping the Future of the Bourbon Industry with Opus Integration Co-Founders Don Ault and Scott Feldmeier

Louisville is the recognized bourbon capital of the United States, evolving alongside shifts in technology and culture. But how can the bourbon industry adapt in this age of data and automation?

Don Ault, CEO, and Scott Feldmeier, Senior Automation Engineer and COO of Opus Integration, join Manufacturing Happy Hour to discuss the rich history of manufacturing in Kentucky and how Louisville came to be a hub for bourbon production.

They explain what part Opus Integration plays as the industry integrates data and automation to take bourbon manufacturing to the next level, sharing how manufacturers can use smart devices and get floor team members on board with data-driven change.

Plus, they explain what makes them such a great partnership and explore their predictions for the bourbon market.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. Speaking the language of IT helps foster productive IT/OT conversations.
  2. Talking to executives, plant floor staff, data scientists and all stakeholders is critical in the running of a successful plant.
  3. Integrators are educators, showing manufacturers the value of automation and demonstrating best practices in programming, code development and device selection. If you’re a manufacturer working with an integrator, ask them questions!

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “Great partnership centers around a balance of different exposures and different experiences.” – Don Ault, CEO of Opus Integration
  • “There’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of tools available to take the bourbon industry to the next level.” – Don Ault, CEO, Opus Integration
  • “In the distilleries we’re working on now, everything is automated. It’s starting to evolve even more. Once that data is in your production facility, it leads to the next piece of data and the next.” – Scott Feldmeier, Senior Automation Engineer/COO, Opus Integration

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

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Don’t miss ISA’s Black Friday sale! ISA, the International Society of Automation, is a non-profit professional association of engineers, technicians, and management engaged in industrial automation. From midnight EST on 21 November through the end of 28 November, you’ll be able to save big on books, standards, training course, and ISA merchandise. Follow our link to save up to 30% off.

This episode is part of the MADE HERE City Series, created in partnership with ISN, the Industrial Solutions Network. In these episodes, we’re exploring what makes a city’s manufacturing community so special. This series not only features full podcast interviews with manufacturing leaders, but behind-the-scenes tours of some of the region’s most iconic and important industrial operations. Check out our first mini-series in Louisville, KY today.

What We Discuss with Scott and Don

  • What Opus Integration does
  • How Kentucky became the bourbon capital of the US
  • What happens in a bourbon distillery
  • How bourbon manufacturing has evolved
  • How to get floor teams on board with data-driven processes
  • What makes a great partnership in manufacturing
  • What’s next for the bourbon industry

Recommended Resources

  • Opus Integration, a systems integration company based in Buckner, KY, offering services including PLC application development, virtualization of process automation systems and plant floor troubleshooting support
  • Heaven Hill Distillery, a family-owned whiskey distillery, based just west of downtown Louisville, KY. Offering a selection of classic rye whiskeys and bourbons
  • Watch Hill Proper, a unique dining experience in Louisville for both the foodie and bourbon enthusiast alike. A hub for those keen to learn about the rich history of Kentucky and how the role bourbon has played in the United States

Connect with Scott and Don

Don Ault | Scott Feldmeier