TEM 474 / 574 Group 1 Distillery tours

TORE and Woodford Reserve

TORE is an acronym that stands for different qualities or characteristics that a communicator must have if they are going to maintain the attention of an audience long enough to make a point. These characteristics are theme, organization, relevance, and enjoyment (TORE). The characteristics of TORE are basic ideas for how interpreters can continuously and successfully communicate to an audience about their interpretive products. Our tour guide at Woodford Reserve was Stacy.
Theme: A tour guides communication should be thematic; the theme of Stacy’s communication was humorous and informative. The topic of the tour was the history of Woodford Reserve and their bourbon distilling process. Stacy used an informative theme to give the audience the information they needed to know but would bookend information with a joke or humorous comment to keep the audience entertained and paying attention. This is very important because information that is too dry or just a statement of facts will bore the audience and many will stop paying attention. A topic without a theme leaves the audience asking “so what”, but by using humor she allowed the audience to receive historical information. She answered why the facts and history she was covering was relevant.
Organization: When a communicator presents information that is organized and easy to follow the the audience’s attention is greater. Communication is at its best when it does not require a lot from the audience. An audience will lose attention is they have to work too hard to follow the communicators train of thought. Stacy was excellent about keeping our attention during our tour of Woodford Reserve by not over loading too much information at once. I do not recall if she followed the “no-more-than-five” rule that Ham (2013) recommends in the TORE reading, but her presentation of information was organized and easy to follow. An example of organization was her ability to provide a linear time line of the historical evolution of the distiller.y. A second example was the organization was the process of how the bourbon is made. The tour was organized to start at the first step in the distillery process and ended at the last step, packaging of the bottles. Even the tasting was organized by providing information on each type of bourbon a participant would taste.
Relevance: Information is relevant when it is meaningful and personal. It is important for tour guides to keep this mind because a captive audience’s attention will drift if the information does not pertain to their own experiences in some way. A good communicator will always find a way to connect their information being presented to the lives of their audience. Stacy would do this by making little jokes about bourbon and was genuinely interested in Midway by asking questions about our class. Stacy connected with her audience by bringing our personal experiences into her tour and managed to keep her our attention from drifting. One comment of relevance for me was connecting what types of distilleries we have in Panama versus what is made in America.
Entertainment: Again, Stacy’s used a humorous light hearted theme in her tour which served as a form of entertainment. Her jokes would keep the audience captivated and paying attention. Often communicators can over do the “wow-factor” for entertainment purposes and overshadow their message. A visitor should remember the message the communicator was interpreting not just the theatrics of their presentation. Stacy was excellent about keeping us entertained without overshadowing the purpose of the tour. I can remember her saying a comment about smelling the bourbon and then saying well "lets go taste it". It was funny and I laughed.
100-year-old cypress wood fermenters!
Woodford Distiller's Select, Woodford Rye, and Woodford Double Oaked! Yum!

Persuasive Communication Theory and Angel's Envy

Persuasive Communication Theory: Angel’s Envy Source Factors: Russell Mendez, the tour guide for Angel’s Envy, was a great example of self-confidence and had extroversion personality traits. Overall Russell Mendez was extremely knowledgeable about the distillery and the distilling process making him a credible source. A slight error in his bourbon history did cause a pause in my personal view of his credibility when he stated the congressional resolution declaring bourbon ‘America’s native spirit’ in 1963 instead of 1964 when is was actually passed, this mistake most likely would not have been caught by most bourbon distillery visitors, but it is still a crucial date to get correct. Dr. Day was quick on the catch of this slip up! The fact that Dr. Day only corrected one mistake instead of several added to Mr. Mendez's credibility. Other characteristics of a source factor is the communicators likability, Russell was extremely likable. His big personality and theatrical presentation of Angel’s Envy operations was charismatic and entertaining. At times I felt his showmanship might have overshadowed his message but this often happens with “wow-factors” to keep the audience entertained. All of this said, I think Russell was an excellent communicator of our visitor experience. By the end I found myself thinking much higher of Angel’s Envy, which is why I think Russell was an excellent example of source factors in this persuasive experience.
Receiver Factors: As the receiver of this persuasive communication, I as a bourbon studies student received Russell’s persuasive communication differently than other bourbon distillery visitors. My receiver factors would be my knowledge of bourbon and my involvement that contribute to the effectiveness of the message. As a bourbon studies student I found myself much more involved and invested in the information that I was being presented, along with the fact that due to my prior bourbon distillery visits I was more informed on bourbon than some. These receiver factors contributed to the effectiveness of Russell’s persuasive communication. Even though I learned about bourbon prior to the tour I am still influenced by the TORE theory and was positively impacted by organization, entertainment etc.
Channel Factor: it was face-to-face communication. The tour was just for our class so the size of the tour was probably smaller than normal. The tour guide was able to personalize the experience for our group. We were able to hear and see clearly. If the tour was for a larger group this might impact both the ability to hear and see the tour guide.

Geist - Service and Wilderness Trace

Service: The value of being on the Craft Tour versus not being on a tour was the ability to sample the bourbon, see the process, and smell the product. In terms of service the guide was attentive to questions. He followed up by asking if we needed clarification and if we understood the answer. We received a souvenir glass to remember the tour. During the tasting the tour guide added to the service by explaining each product we were tasting. On this tour it seems the guide anticipated some questions and were responsive to the audience. The main thing I appreciated about Wilderness Trail’s visitor mindfulness was their connection to the visitors and their physical orientation. Patrick Heist part owner of the distillery was kind enough to lead our tour when the tour guide that was supposed to guide us wasn’t feeling well. Patrick was mindful in his willingness to connect with the visitors and explained his and the distilleries accomplishments in a humble and humorous way that kept the audience entertained and informed throughout the tour. All the staff at Wilderness Trail were very accommodating and genuinely kind in their mindfulness of visitors encouraging us to sign up to their family tree email chain and accommodating us with anything we might need. I think Wilderness Trail was the most hospitable distillery we visited. I felt very valued as a visitor and believe they were actually happy to have us there. It is really important for visitors to feel valued and respected in following the mindfulness model and Wilderness Trail was excellent at this. I will definitely return to tour again!

Mindfulness and 4 Roses

This tour guide paid the least attention to visitor mindfulness. It was a rushed tour with little time or attention to my sensory experience. The visitor mindfulness for our visitor experience at Four Roses was very lacking to say the least. Our physical orientation from our tasting guide offered nothing in the way of mindfulness. Granted, the guide was rushing through our tasting experience to have enough time to guide the next tour but still the amount of impersonal scripted communication was disappointing. Our tasting guide did nothing to interact with any of the visitors, rushing through her very obviously routine and scripted information about Four Roses and our tasting experience. Unlike other tours, this guide did not let us complete one taste testing before she moved on to the next. This is the only guide whose name I don’t remember or had time to write down. The mindfulness model states the importance of making visitors feel valued and respected. With my experience at Four Roses I definitely did not feel valued but more like an obligation.

Interpretation and Bourbon Heritage Center

The three archetypes of interpretation are the provoker, the teacher, and the entertainer. For the Bourbon Heritage Center I personally think that the interpretation focused more around the teacher archetype. Herb was our tour guide at the Bourbon Heritage Center, he was very genuine and kind and I think his interpretation approach mainly focused around the teaching archetype. He was very informative but didn’t really provoke much from the audience. He explained in great detail the aging process but never provoked the audience to make any connections on a personal level, or none that were impactfull enough for me to remember. We were told much information but he did not ask any questions. I think that interpretation should embody all three archetypes by being provoking, informative, and entertaining. Herb was very energetic and enthusiastic in his communication but I felt I was being taught the aging process rather than being provoked to make a personal connection. I did learn most about the aging process at the Bourbon Heritage Center than any other distillery that we visited. I think the museum/bourbon exhibit in the visitor center and the fact Haven Hill’s bourbon is aged there and not distilled there made the experience more about the transfer of information and less about entertainment.
This is how they separate the sides "north and south"


Created with images by Bradley N. Weber - "Kentucky Bourbon Barrels"

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