LuxCo is currently a huge non-distiller bottler of distilled spirits based in St. Louis, Missouri. They have just opened a new distillery called Lux Row Distillery in the "Bourbon Capital of the World" Bardstown, Kentucky and began distilling in April 2018. The 18,000 square foot distillery employs 34 people and was built at a cost of $70 million on a 70-acre property that includes six new barrel warehouses. LuxCo is a privately held company was founded in 1958 as the David Sherman Corporation and was renamed in 2006 after of their founders, Paul A. Lux. In 2016 LuxCo had $330 million in sales of distilled spirits across the United States and internationally and employs 220 employees at their massive St. Louis bottling plant.
Luxco has made whiskey since the early 1960s and currently has several industry partners who produce it for the company under contract, said Luxco’s chairman and CEO Donn Lux. Luxco currently has more than 100,000 barrels of whiskey aging in Kentucky. Those partners are running into capacity issues, Lux said, prompting Luxco to build its own facility that will enable it to control its own production as its bourbon sales grow and try different barrel types and aging techniques.
LuxCo's flagship brand is Rebel Yell and its other big seller is Ezra Brooks Bourbon. LuxCo's top-shelf bourbon is Blood Oath and it also sells a very popular wheat bourbon called David Nicholson. In January 2013, Luxco bought Beam's Bellows Bourbon and Bellows Home Bar Solution, Lord Calvert Canadian, Calvert Extra American Blended Whiskey, Canada House, Wolfschmidt Vodka, Dark Eyes and Tempo brands for $65 million.
LuxCo also owns the Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky which makes both Yellowstone Bourbon and Minor Case Rye, and Everclear. In 1883, Minor Case Beam bought his cousin Parker out, and the distillery operated under the name "Head and Beam." In 1900, Francis Head sold his interests to Minor Case Beam and the distillery name was changed to "M.C. Beam and Company." Its two most popular brands at the time were T. J. Pottinger and Old Trump. Currently, Steve and Paul Beam serve as Master Distillers at the distillery.
The Rebel Yell recipe was invented in 1849. But the "Rebel Yell" brand was officially introduced as a Registered brand in 1936 by Stitzel-Weller. It was not marketed heavily until 1944 when Charles Farnsley, the former mayor of Louisville campaigned to make it a top-selling brand around the 100th anniversary of the original Weller company, with the idea of distilling it in limited batches for exclusive distribution in the Southern United States only. In the early 1980s, after some other changes of ownership following the break-up of Stitzel-Weller in 1972, the brand was purchased by the LuxCo. In 1984, Rebel Yell became distributed nationally and sold in all 50 states.
The W.L. Weller & Sons company was founded in 1849 by William Larue Weller, who pioneered using wheat as the second grain for his bourbons instead of rye in his mash for a lighter smoother flavor than the older style of bourbons. Rebel Yell was one of about six recipes that Weller documented. The W.L. Weller company merged with the Stitzel distilling company to form the Stitzel-Weller distilling company in 1910.
The rebel yell was a battle cry used by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. Confederate soldiers used the yell during charges to intimidate the enemy and boost their own morale, although the yell had many other uses.
Ezra Brooks was a pioneer in the early shaping of the State of Kentucky and was a passionate whiskey baron who helped push through the “Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897” along with and maybe to a lesser degree than Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. Ezra Brooks Bourbon is charcoal filtered for an unmistakable, unforgettable mellow flavor and then aged in new white American Charred Oak Barrels.
Frequently LuxCo has compared by Ezra Brooks in its own print advertising to Jack Daniel’s and distributes it in square bottles with a black label. Unlike Jack Daniel's which diluted its proof in 1987, Ezra Brooks is still produced at 90 proof. Ezra Brooks is Aged for at least 5 years and uses only superior grade corns from the state of Indiana.
Bellows Bourbon is a brand that was very popular in the 1950's and 1960's. The brand was established way back in 1830 by The "Bellows & Company" of Frankfort, Kentucky. In the fifties, Bellows became Popular when they marketed a “Home Bar Solution” (i.e. Mad Men style). When you bought the Home Bar you would get a quart of all of the following; Bellows Bourbon, Blended Whiskey, Bellows Canadian Whisky, Bellows Scotch, Bellows Vodka, Bellows Gin, Bellows Rum and Bellows Brandy. With this Home Bar Solution, you would have everything that you would need to entertain guests.
Although it is hard to trace the brand during the late 1800's, we know that Bellows was bought by National Distillers in 1935. It became popular from the 1950's to the 1970's and was even renamed Bellows Club Bourbon because it was so popular in the social clubs of the day. There is no record of National Distillers having a separate mash bill for Bellows and since it was owned and made by National Distillers it is assumed that it shared its recipe with one of National's top brands, either Old Crow, Old Grand Dad or Old Taylor. For a short time, it was a brand without a true home and disappeared from the liquor landscape. In 1987 Bellows Club Bourbon was sold to the Jim Beam Company along with all of National Distillers. Then Beam sold the brand in 2003 to Luxco of St. Louis, Missouri. For $65 million, Luxco got Bellows and Calvert which were considered pretty good old value brands with high sales across parts of the country. Both brands were always considered "High Volume Economy" brands or value brands. Calvert is blended whiskey, both Canadian and American, as well as gin. Bellows still has a Bourbon, an American blended whiskey, a gin, a rum, a scotch, and a vodka.
David Nicolson Bourbon is the oldest wheat based bourbon in America that is still produced today, dating all the way back to 1843. That brand was named after its original maker, a grocery store owner on 6th Street in St. Louis named David Nicolson (without an "h"). It was Nicolson himself that came up with the famed ‘43’ bourbon recipe. The story goes that Nicholson experimented over a hundred times to come up with the mash bill in a private back room of a grocery store and decided on wheat as the second grain over rye because it was more plentiful in the mid-west and had a softer, smoother taste to it. Although Nicolson believed his bourbon was excellent he could have never imagined that his recipe would be passed down from generation to generation in his own family and then by LuxCo for over 175 years.
David Nicolson 1843 is a wheated mash bill that was distilled by Heaven Hill for years. It is the same whiskey that used to go into the Old Fitz and now goes into Larceny and Rebel Yell. It’s a very good bourbon whiskey and at $30 it’s also a good value. David Nicolson also produces a "Bottled-in-Bond" version sold at 100 proof. David Nicolson Reserve is an extra-aged ‘ryed’ bourbon that is aged five years and exudes a full-body flavor but has a very distinct, spicy taste. Still possessing the outstanding character for which it earned its original popularity in 1843, the David Nicolson legacy lives on unchanged, unfettered, and unmatched. This ‘wheated’ bourbon provides an exceptionally smooth flavor and finish and won the Double Gold Medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Blood Oath Bourbon is a new phenomenon and is probably the country’s most elaborately marketed brand of bourbon on the market today. The LuxCo Top Shelf brand is released its third version of Blood Oath Pact No. 3 in 2017. Blood Oath is a series of high-end bourbon bottling releases that are blended by beverage giant Luxco. Each release is a blend of distinctive, well-aged contracted whiskeys. Each bottling is given a “pact number,” a naming scheme that coupled with an elaborate commemorative package. The three things that set these blended whiskies/bourbons apart are; a different blending scheme each year, their elaborate presentation (with a wooden box with plexiglass front), and their high price tag at over $100 on the secondary market.
Click On first Slide to see all of LuxCo's North American Whiskies
All photos of LuxCo are provided by LuxCo