Angel's Envy: First the spirit, then the distillery

Lincoln Henderson at the announcement.
In a bit of reverse engineering, Angel's Share Brands LLC -- which already sells its Angel's Envy bourbon in nearly 30 states -- plans to build its own distillery.

The company, headed by Wes Henderson, on Tuesday announced a $12 million project that would convert a century-old building in downtown Louisville, KY, into a distillery and visitors' center.

"We're going to come up with some really neat stuff as soon as we get the distillery operating," said Lincoln Henderson, the brand's master distiller who came out of retirement four years ago to help his son, Wes, create the brand.

The new distillery is expected to begin production in December 2014, opposite the city's minor league baseball stadium.

Angel's Envy bourbon is aged in white oak barrels, as required by statute, for four to six years, then is finished by aging in used port casks for several months. Its rye whiskey ages for at least six years in oak barrels before finishing in Caribbean rum casks for up to 18 months.

The Angel's Share -- the name comes from the traditional reference to the amount of whiskey that evaporates in the aging process -- project is just the latest in Louisville.

Michter's Distillery, a maker of premium bourbon and rye, is in the process of transforming another historic building into a distillery that will offer tours and tastings. It is targeting a spring 2014 opening.

And, Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., which makes Evan Williams bourbon, plans to open a small downtown distillery, open to tours and tastings.

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