Meet the Maker: Copper & Kings
It would be hard not to notice the sleek, bright orange and black Copper & Kings sign that rises above their distillery when you’re driving down Story Avenue. Located in the middle of Butchertown’s growing community of local and small businesses, Copper & Kings is often also at the center of promoting that community and organizing neighborhood events.
Copper & Kings is primarily known for their brandy and absinthe, but equally as delicious is their non-alcoholic Butchertown Soda. You can find the Louisville-made craft sodas in the cold case at any of our stores.
While Butchertown Sodas have recognizable flavors, they are preservative-free, and use organic cane sugar and other high-quality ingredients that make them less syrupy, and more natural tasting than the average soft drink.
Cat Braithwaite, a Designer and Social Media Manager at the distillery, says that the idea behind Butchertown Sodas is that the flavor is, “a little more adult – grown up. It has more of a culinary flavor experience to it.”
Because of their commitment to using natural flavors, they sometimes use unexpected ingredients to achieve the taste they want. One of the ingredients they use in the Cola Superior is – you guessed it – coffee.
When a new flavor is needed, the development usually starts with Joe Heron, the owner & founder of Copper & Kings.
“Joe usually picks out what flavors we want to start using, then our Louisville partner Flavorman creates 5-6 different recipes for us to try. Then we get to taste test! We’ll give feedback – it needs more cardamom, or it needs more sassafras – and Flavorman adjusts the recipe until it’s perfect,” Cat explains.
For the team at Copper & Kings, it’s important that the flavors are completely unique and can stand on their own, but also mix well with the flavor profiles of their American brandies.
“Joe & Leslie really try to foster a creative environment here. They’re open to new ideas, whether it be one of their ideas that we can take the reins of, or if we have an idea for something,” says Cat.
It’s one of her favorite things about working at the distillery. And with events like “You’re the Wurst” in October, or “Kentiki” (a Kentucky-themed luau surf party) this summer, it’s clear that creativity is embraced at Copper & Kings. Creativity, and also a strong sense of community.
Like Heine Brothers’, Copper & Kings focuses on partnerships with local organizations and businesses.
One of the first events Cat helped with, for instance, was a “Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels” event for breweries they had collaborated with, “We partnered with 14 different breweries and we gave our brandy barrels for them to age their beer in for about 9-12 months. It gave the beer a really nice rounded, rich flavor. All were very unique and adventurous.”
More examples include their Cured & Crafted festival, which is a showcase for local food, drink and craft artisans. Even their seasonal pie shop venture, the Butchertown Pie Co., sells a signature flavor of ice cream from local maker Louisville Cream, as well as the local Spudz chips.
Along with their commitment to supporting the local and small business community, sustainability is important to Copper & King’s mission. (Insider tip: If you bike, you can also earn a 50% discount on a tour of the distillery when you ride over.)
“We re-purpose shipping containers and have solar panels on the roof that we use to supplement some of our energy. Out front, we planted a butterfly garden as a migratory way station for monarch butterflies. The garden also helps mitigate stormwater run-off, which can be detrimental to nearby creeks, streams or rivers,” says Cat. “We also have recycling bins in every room – so as soon as you’re done with your Butchertown soda you can, you know, make sure the bottle gets reused.”
At Copper & Kings, they believe that because Alcohol is agricultural, “we have a responsibility to focus on environmental awareness and sustainability.”
Which means, when you’re drinking a Copper & Kings product or attending one of their events, you’re also supporting their sustainable practices, as well as your Louisville neighbors.
And don’t worry – whether you’re drinking your Butchertown Soda on a Copper & Kings tour or in one of our stores, you’ll still have access to a recycling bin!