Angel's Envy was founded in 2006 when inaugural Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee Lincoln Henderson came out of retirement to craft a special family Bourbon. Lincoln un-retired specifically to work with his son Wesley Henderson and later his grandson Kyle. Lincoln's legacy is deep and wide as he was the Corporate-wide Master Distiller at Brown-Forman Corporation for 39 years, retiring in 2004 and includes releasing the huge brands of Gentleman Jack, Woodford Reserve, and Jack Daniel's Single Barrel.
Angel's Envy became so big overnight that they were able to build the $12 million Louisville Distilling Company on Main Street along "Whiskey Row" in downtown Louisville which opened it in November 2016. Angel's Envy was purchased in full by international spirit giant Bacardi of Hamilton, Bermuda in March 2015. Wes Henderson, the chief operating officer continued on as the "Brand's Ambassador," and the rest of the family will remain involved in the brand. The distillery can produce at least 30 barrels a day with anticipated sales of 100,000 cases annually.
Angel's Envy is larger than a craft distillery but still not in the league of the Major distillers in Kentucky. It makes its Bourbon and Rye in very small batches of eight to 12 barrels, after it is aged 4 to 5 years, then finishes its Bourbon in Port Barrels and its Rye in Rum Casks. Lincoln Henderson passed away in 2013, but before he did, he was quoted as saying this about their masterpiece, "The 4% of our spirit that is lost each year during barrel aging is called the 'Angel’s Share.' After you taste our finished whiskey, you can tell that we had finally gotten a better deal than the angels."
Michter's American Whiskies
Michter's Bourbon and its predecessors have a long and storied past that dates all the way back to 1753 and is said to be America's first whiskey company that still exists today. Originally called Shenk's Whiskey, it was a rye distilled by Swiss Mennonite farmer John Shenk in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania. Folklore exists that this particular rye whiskey was so valued that when the Revolutionary War broke out, General George Washington visited the distillery and purchased all the stored whiskey to fortify his men as they hunkered down in their camp through the long, brutal winter at Valley Forge.
Around 1840 the distillery became known as Bomburger's Distillery for 50 or 60 years and was owned by a Pennsylvania Dutch distiller by the name of Abraham Bomberger. In 1919 Prohibition hit the entire country and forced Bomberger's to close. In 1933 after Prohibition ended, the distillery was re-opened but went back and forth into financial trouble several times. In 1953, the owner of the distiller changed the name of the flagship brand. Louis Forman created the new name by taking pieces of his two son's names Michael and Peter to come out with Michter's. In 1989 Michter's declared its death in the form of Bankruptcy abandoning both the name and the distillery.
In 1999 Richard “Dick” Newman and Joseph J. Magliocco partnered up to buy the brand out of bankruptcy and started distilling in the early 2000's. Newman the former President Austin Nichols, the distiller of Wild Turkey and involved prior to that in producing brands like Old Grand-Dad, Old Crow, and Old Taylor handled the production end. Magliocco a former salesman that distributed the old Michter's brand handled the marketing side. Michter’s made the decision to re-open the distillery in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has two locations including a new 67,000 square foot distillery in the Shively, just outside Louisville and the antique Fort Nelson Building in downtown Louisville.
Bird Dog and Western Spirits
Western Spirits itself started in 2007 with it Flagship brand of "Lexington Bourbon" named after one of horse racing’s most successful thoroughbred sires, is an 86 proof bourbon that has garnered high ratings in reviews, but they really didn't make a big splash until Bird Dog. Bird Dog of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a line of flavored whiskies and straight bourbons that debuted in 2009 with is first standalone brand of "Blackberry-flavored Whiskey." Bird Dog is wholly owned by Western Spirits and its Director for Brand Development Klay Kelly said the overwhelming response from liquor stores, whole sellers and end consumers has spurred the company on to develop other flavored iterations. Blackberry was followed in spring 2013 with "Peach-flavored Whiskey" and "Hot Cinnamon-flavored Whiskey." A year later in 2014, Western Spirits introduced its "Maple-flavored Whiskey." Then really bucking the trend in the industry they released a standard "Kentucky Straight Bourbon" in the Bird Dog name. All Bird Dog Bourbons and whiskies are bottled in Kentucky and at 80 proof while many flavored whiskies are made at 66 to 70 proof.
In the last five years, the explosive growth of flavored whiskey category has brought enormous attention to the brand. Bird Dog was the first company ever to come out with a Blackberry-Flavored whiskey. Amid the slew of flavored whiskies to hit the market like Niagara Falls from Kentucky, Tennessee, Canada, Bid Dog has managed to stand out and stand out big in the U. S. and Canadian markets. After Blackberry and Peach going ballistic in Spring and Summer months while Maple and Cinnamon have skyrocketed in late Fall and Winter months. “We are seeing many women who have told us that they are not usually whiskey drinkers but that Bird Dog is a very smooth whiskey and that they were really surprised and enjoy it,” says Kelley. “Also we are seeing a number of consumers who want to get into whiskey, that are really enjoying starting with our flavored whiskey and then moving into some of our straight whiskeys are well.” In 2014 Bird Dog released its sixth and seventh iteration in an "Apple-flavored Whiskey" and a "Chocolate Flavored Whiskey."
Then in 2015, they partnered up with The Bardstown Bourbon Company, a first-class distilling team led by Bourbon Hall of Fame Master Distiller Steve Nally to produce their high-quality bourbon for many years to come. BBC has a 3 million proof gallon capacity at their state of the art Napa Valley style distillery which opened a Visitors Center with tours and tastings. In that same year, Bird Dog debuted their "Bird Dog Small Batch Bourbon," their "Bird Dog 10 year-old Reserve Stock," repackaged their "Kentucky Straight Bourbon" all at a higher price point than their standard $18.99, they also introduced "Bird Dog Blended Whiskey." Parent Company Western Spirits premiered their Top Shelf Bourbon in "Calumet Small Batch Bourbon" and Sam Houston Blended Whiskey.
Jefferson's Bourbon began in 1997 when Trey Zoeller chose Thomas Jefferson to name the brand after because of his insatiable quest for learning. Jefferson who traveled the world to learn things from other cultures. He personally cultivated and experimented with 330 varieties of 89 species of vegetables and herbs and 170 varieties of fruits in his own garden to meticulously take notes of cross-pollination and growing habits. Because of his travels, Jefferson introduced Macaroni & Cheese, Ice Cream, French Fries, Champagne and Parmesan Cheese to America. Trey and his best selling father Chet Zoeller continue a so called family distilling tradition as his great-great-great-great grandmother was arrested for distilling and selling spirits in 1799, which was illegal at the time.
Trey Zoeller himself experimented like Jefferson by blending new and aged barrels of bourbon from established distilleries that have perfected their craft over hundreds of years. Then Jefferson's adds complexity by blending different ages and mash bills but also agitates and or finishes them in different way to create some very unique taste profiles. Jefferson's Bourbon has partnered with The Kentucky Artisan Distillery of Crestwood, Kentucky to distill and blend their bourbons and whiskies. The KAD is where innovative blends and brands including the Barrel Aged Manhattan, Wine Finishes, Wood Experiments and Rum Finishes have all been brought to life.