There’s the new car smell, new shoe smell and the new distillery smell—a lovely aroma of fresh wood, copper and sweet alcohol dripping off the shimmering still. At Copper & Kings Distillery, near a slaughterhouse in the Butchertown District of Louisville, I picked up a hint of good old-fashioned farm smell, making this shimmering new facility a throwback to the farmer distilleries of the 1800s.
Copper & Kings is doing something many people think is crazy. They’re focusing on brandy. That’s right, a distillery in the middle of Bourbon Country will be making a spirit that starts with a “b” and it ain’t bourbon.
So, get your sidecar recipes ready, here are eight things you need to know about this new distillery.
Located near a slaughterhouse, Copper & Kings will also have a pig-roasting pit. Brandy and pork, anybody?
Orange is its Favorite Color
In honor of the copper still, Copper & Kings has adopted the color orange. The distillery even paints its barrelheads orange.
Copper & Kings currently ages brandy in sherry casks, used bourbon barrels, used Cognac barrels, hogsheads and port barrels. They’re also aging Absinthe in juniper barrels from Serbia.
No Whiskey Here
Copper & Kings will not be making whiskey. They’re focus is brandy. Kentucky actually has a strong brandy history that was stifled by the Civil War and all but eradicated by Prohibition. Specifically, Copper & Kings is making apple brandy and brandy from Muscat, Chenin Blanc and Colombard (which is used in Cognac). They’re buying wine from California and distilling it. They also bought distillate from a handful of craft distillers. As owner Joe Heron told me, “there’s no MGP for brandy.” In other words, American brandy producers cannot purchase large quantities of brandy from other brandy producers.
Targeting Bourbon Drinkers
Copper & Kings knows its backyard is in Bourbon Country, so it’s pursuing bourbon drinkers.
The Stills are Beautiful
I’ll let the photos speak for stills.
No Barrel Stamps
One of the things I found fascinating about the barrels were pieces of paper stapled to the barrels. If you’ve ever been to a Kentucky bourbon warehouse, you may have noticed the stamp on the barrelhead for tax purposes. The paper is easier, they say.
This distillery is renting space for meetings and events. It’s hard to be that view. And, they use solar power.