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Trippin’ in Chicago

Combine race cars, bourbon, world-class manufacturing technology, and a wily host and you’ve got the special IMTS edition of Road Trippin’ with Steve.
Jan 16, 2023

He’s got a race car, some top-notch bourbon, a camera crew, access to world-class manufacturing technology, and a license to make mischief. Stephen LaMarca is back, and he was all over Chicago in the lead up to IMTS 2022. Tune in for all his misadventures in the new special edition of Road Trippin’ with Steve, brought to you by EOS. 

The special two-episode series, that premieres the week of Jan. 23, begins with Steve—and his colossal, Pit Viper sunglasses—cruising around Chicago in the IMTS Rally Fighter, which now features a new wrap design. There’s plenty of engine revving, a peek under the hood, and a minor parking crisis. And a detour. There’s always a detour.  

After finally parking the Rally Fighter, Steve heads to KOVAL, a distillery in downtown Chicago that’s serving up organic spirits. Housed in a former metal fabrication facility, KOVAL is using automation and machine monitoring to make their process repeatable. The result? A high-quality beverage every time, whether they’re making Chicago bourbon, coffee liquor, or cranberry gin. Steve and his team certainly liked the product and the technology behind it

Dr. Robert Birnecker and Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart, the husband-and-wife team behind KOVAL, showed Steve how a small operation can guarantee consistency using big data. Distilling is a complex process with myriad variables. KOVAL’s answer to this problem was to install monitors on every piece of equipment and connect it all to a central communication system. This way, they know what’s happening inside and outside the mash tanks at every second. If something goes wrong—from a change in ambient temperatures to a dip in flow rates—the distillers receive an alert. Unlike other small distilleries, KOVAL knows if there is an aberration long before the whiskey hits their lips. 

Relive all Steve’s highlights and insights in this special season of Road Trippin’ on on IMTS+ starting Jan. 23.

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Author
Michelle Edmonson, CEM
Vice President, Exhibitions
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