8 Fun Facts About the New Copper & Kings Distillery

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.

The Copper & Kings Distillery is still under construction, but is now fully operational.
The Copper & Kings Distillery is still under construction, but is now fully operational.

In Butchertown

Located near a slaughterhouse, Copper & Kings will also have a pig-roasting pit. Brandy and pork, anybody?

 

Orange is its Favorite Color

Orange is also the color of my favorite college--Oklahoma State, where I graduated from.
Orange is also the color of my favorite college–Oklahoma State, where I graduated from.

In honor of the copper still, Copper & Kings has adopted the color orange. The distillery even paints its barrelheads orange.

 

Barrel Fun

Below are used sherry casks. Above rest former Woodford Reserve barrels.
Below are used sherry casks. Above rest former Woodford Reserve barrels.
Copper & Kings will be experimenting with subwoofer aging, a technique made popular by the fellas at Hudson Bourbon in New York.
Copper & Kings will be experimenting with subwoofer aging, a technique made popular by the fellas at Hudson Bourbon in New York.

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

The ad board inside the offices.
The ad board inside the offices.

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

Copper & Kings DistilleryOne 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.

Great View

What a view!
What a view!
Copper & Kings will be using solar power to supplement their energy.
Copper & Kings will be using solar power to supplement their energy.

This distillery is renting space for meetings and events. It’s hard to be that view. And, they use solar power.

 

Stay In Touch!

One Reply to “8 Fun Facts About the New Copper & Kings Distillery”

  1. Stopped by for a tour of Copper and Kings in Louisville today. Wow! What an amazing facility! Thanks for spreading the awareness Fred! These guys are definitely going to be a driving force behind a resurgence of brandy in America. It seems that much of the best Cognac and Armagnac is ending up in Asian markets, so it is nice to see an American Company making true craft brandy. They have only been distilling for a few months, and really don’t appear to be open yet. I contacted them through the website and Krista was more than happy to let me in for a sneak peak. I believe they plan on full scale public opening very soon as the only thing that appeared unfinished was the courtyard, which I am told will have an area for hog roasts!
    In my job as a spirits buyer for a retailer I taste a lot of new products, and honestly their Eau de Vie is top notch, I can’t wait for their distribution to expand beyond Kentucky. Usually, it takes years before distilleries perfect their process, but Copper and Kings seems to be on the right track from the very beginning. Their head distiller is from a wine making background, and must have an excellent pallet because it seems that he is making all of the right cuts in heads, heart, and tails of their products. They are also experimenting with gin and absinthe that is fruit based. I was fortunate enough to get to try a bit of their absinthe, and it was incredible. I am sure that this quality is also in no small part due to the incredible equipment that they have. The company that made the stills, Vendome Copper and Brassworks, is an experienced business that has served the whiskey industry for years. It is also located just a few blocks from the distillery, and when I go back I hope to get a tour there. These are true pot stills specifically designed for brandy distillation unlike many American brandies that are processed using equipment better suited for whiskey, vodka, or heaven forbid…ethanol production.
    So, back to the Brandy. As I said, their own in house distilled Eau De Vie (unaged brandy) is incredible. They also have plans to make apple brandy, and are currently experimenting with various varietals of grape. Their products are non chill filtered which allows the botanical nature of the grape varietals to shine.
    Their aged product is sourced from various distilleries, and is of a very good quality as well. They have about 850 barrels on hand now and capacity for several hundred more in their cellar. They were also filling barrels with new distillate while I was there. It seems that they have taken great care to sample and know every barrel that they have on hand, and have expertly chosen and combined them to create their own unique style. I believe that they referred to it as the DNA. They even play music for the barrels in the cellar on what must be the best sound system in any distillery. The vibrations probably in part will help the ageing, but the ambiance they create is incredible. Nothing like the rack houses that you expect to see in Kentucky
    In addition to all of this they seem to be making every effort to be sustainable. Much of their furnishings were made from refinished lumber, they are in a remodeled building, and they have solar panels on the roof.

Comments are closed.