Angel's Envy Distillery Now Open in Downtown Louisville
Twelve years ago, Wes Henderson approached his father with the idea to start a new bourbon distillery in Kentucky. Lincoln Henderson had retired from Brown-Forman after decades in the lab and had already been inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001. He was already famous for being the father of Woodford Reserve, but as the lore goes, he wanted to come out of retirement to do something completely different that no one else was doing at that time - barrel finishing bourbon. The idea was to take bourbon purchased from another producer and finish it in port wine casks, giving the product its own unique DNA. It would be called Angel’s Envy, as it was the portion of whiskey left behind after the angel’s got their share.
Over the years the brand grew in popularity, both locally and nationally. There has been some controversy over whether it should still be called "bourbon" since it rests for a short period in used port wine casks before bottling. But the controversy has not slowed down the growth of the brand, and ground was broken for a brand new state-of-the-art distillery in downtown Louisville just over three years ago. Shortly after the groundbreaking, Lincoln Henderson passed away, leaving his son and grandsons to carry on the family business.
Spirits giant Bacardí acquired the brand back in the spring of 2015, but control of the brand remains with the family.
On November 16, 2016 a ceremonial unveiling was held at the distillery attended by government, industry, media, and family. Distillation began at the facility in early October, and tours will begin just before Thanksgiving.
“Lincoln had a wonderful idea and he called it Angel’s Envy,” said Distillery Operations Manager Kevin Curtis, adding, “I hope he is proud of what we have done here in his name.”
Wes Henderson became emotional as he recalled his father’s contributions to building this brand from the ground up.
The distillery currently runs 10 hours a day with 3 to 4 day fermentation cycles. The 28” column still can process 23 gallons a minute. Grain silos are situated just outside of the distillery for safety reasons and the grains are ground on site for the mash. The mash bill is 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. Barrels are filled and loaded on a truck, where they are taken to an 18,000 barrel capacity rick house in Shively, just south of Louisville. Angel’s Envy uses activated carbon filtration and will soon be bottling on site.
Finished goods will be shipped to Jacksonville, Florida, where Bacardí will use its distribution network to get the final product to retailers. There are currently 9 distilleries open or in construction within the city of Louisville.
Tours will take place Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday thru Saturday on the hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the final tour of the day starting at 4 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with the final tour starting at 4 p.m. Tours cost $15 per person and are available by appointment only. Tickets can by purchased online here.