Nestled into a remote corner of Butchertown between the train tracks and the flood wall is a new distillery. Unlike most of the distilleries in town, this one isn’t planning to make bourbon in any form. Instead, Copper and Kings Distillery is making brandy, one varietal of which is being billed as, “brandy for bourbon lovers.”
Aged in used bourbon barrels, this brandy has faint characteristics of the bourbon leftovers with which it was married. The aroma is sweet and the flavor has those hints of vanilla you’d find in any bourbon. But this is only one of many products made at this distillery -- others include an un-aged brandy and an absinthe that is currently aging in Serbian juniper barrels. There are also plans to make other spirits such as gin in the near future.
The distillery featured three copper stills made by Vendome Copper Works, right down the street. They are a little different than traditional whiskey stills- they have brandy helmets on top, as the process of making brandy is slightly different. Each one has a name- Isis, Magdalena, and Sarah- all named after the women in Bob Dylan’s life.
The barrels are aged in the basement, which has the capacity to hold a thousand barrels. There is brandy aging in many different types of barrels, from sherry casks to something called a “Kentucky Hog’s Head Barrel.” According to owner Joe Heron, brandy can’t handle the drastic temperature changes that bourbon needs, and instead requires a pretty narrow temperature band. That’s why they hang out in the basement.
The courtyard in front of the distillery is still under construction, but it is already gorgeous. There is a fire pit with built-in tiered seating and a pig roast area with a bar. Refurbished shipping containers will be added soon and will contain restrooms and a kitchen. The space will be available for rent, but it will be reserved for the community to enjoy on Friday and Saturday nights.
Copper and Kings will be hosting a soft opening for the public Friday, July 11 from 5 to 11 p.m. There will be live music, food trucks, and cocktails for sale. The event is free. A distillery tour and rooftop tasting will be available for $5.
Construction is ongoing, so look for more events and news over the course of the summer.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl