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Making BourbonA Geographical History of Distilling in Nineteenth-Century Kentucky$
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Karl Raitz

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813178752

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813178752.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Signatures of Risk

Signatures of Risk

(p.159) 8 Signatures of Risk
Making Bourbon

Karl Raitz

University Press of Kentucky

Innovations in production technology and machinery increased efficiency and productivity but also introduced risk, especially if employees were given responsibilities for which they were not trained. Accidents that maimed employees and destroyed structures and equipment were commonplace. Recognizing and addressing risk were important to business survival. Risk also resided in environmental variability; flood and drought, hailstorms, high winds, and lightning could all affect grain production, river transport, water availability and quality, or distillery functions. Cattle and hogs in distillery feeding pens were susceptible to the same diseases that plagued the general livestock population, often with losses sufficient to force distillers into bankruptcy. Fires caused by mechanical failure, lightning, careless use of lanterns, or arson might destroy an entire distillery works. Insurers developed actuarial risk assessment techniques to reduce their vulnerability, and insurance premium rates forced distillers to consider building fire-resistant structures and increase the spacing between warehouses. This, in turn, changed the distilling landscape and introduced formal external controls into the distilling process.

Keywords:   risk, vulnerability, mitigation, contingencies, accidents, livestock disease, fire, insurance, landscape

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