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    While you can turn the corner almost anywhere in Louisville and find a local craft beer, you may find it a bit more difficult to find locally-crafted spirits. Lucky for us, however, Louisville-bred Rabbithole Distilling is vaulting into NuLu to quench our bourbon-thirst.

    “Especially in Kentucky, there’s not a whole lot of craft distilleries. Obviously, you have all the big players […] but we can come up with a brand that’s innovative, experimental, maybe a little bit more on the modern side that captures and really embodies that spirit of craft distillation,” says founder and CEO Kaveh Zamanian. “The time is right. We’re in the beginning of a swell […] with people discovering bourbon, and really, American Whiskey, at large.”

    Zamanian, who is also a California-transplant and psychoanalyst, has nourished a passion for distilling for years now.  “In my early 20s, I had a chance to work at a vineyard.  [I] passed it up, and went to graduate school, instead,” says Zamanian.  “For years, I kind of regretted it, but it’s really stayed with me.” Fortunately, Zamanian’s wife is a native Louisvillian. “When we moved here, I fell in love with the bourbon industry. My wife would reference ‘the rabbit hole’ and taking us down [it], so I thought it was a really good name and metaphor for a craft distillery.”

    Incorporated in 2012; Rabbithole gained huge momentum in 2014 and aims to offer something new to NuLu. “I’m not coming from a traditional distillation. Most of the brands you see are really appealing and relying on the tradition of multi-generational distillation, or on the other hand, some appeal to the western frontier,” says Zamanian. “We essentially want to experiment, much like the craft beer business […] and to really position Rabbithole as a laboratory. [It will be] an incubator for guest distillers to come in and work for us, to essentially develop different types of finishes and recipes.”

    Projected to break ground this summer and to be completed in 2017, Zamanian hopes that the distillery will be the “feather in the cap” for Louisville.  He explained that he feels, "NuLu is probably the best neighborhood in town from a standpoint of just the feel and culture and aesthetic of it. There’s a vibe there that I felt that would be a good fit for Rabbithole as a brand. When people see the building, people will get that it’s both an aesthetic and manufacturing accomplishment. [I want it to be] a source of pride for both Louisville and Kentucky.”

    On top of the NuLu distillery, Rabbithole will also be developing a lot between Market and Jefferson. “[It will be] a place for civic space, gathering space, outdoor venue space, but also where small shops and retailers can show their goods. Ideally, it would be vendors that are Kentucky born-and-bred,” says Zamanian.

    For those that want to get a taste before the grand opening, check out Rabbithole’s Kentucky Moonshine at Liquor Barn, Westport Wine, and Beverage Warehouse for an 80-90 proof, 100% corn distillate spirit. Throughout the coming year, Rabbithole will be releasing a two-year distilled rye, an English gin, and imported Mezcal. To stay up-to-date, check out their website.

    With a passion for locality and craftsmanship, it won’t be a surprise when Rabbithole finds success from tourists and local Louisvillians.

    Images from Rabbithole Distilling.

    Brett Gordon's picture

    About Brett Gordon

    I'm a writer, a musician, and an almost-graduate from the University of Louisville. I currently live in Shelbyville, but please, don't hold that against me.

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