Made in the South Awards 2017

Copper & Kings

Drink runner-up Joe Heron channels his love of music into a top-notch brandy


Copper & King's Butchertown brandy.

Joe Heron wasn’t being willfully obtuse when he opted to build his brandy distillery in Louisville, the bourbon capital of the world—the decision was just practical. “Guys like me don’t build distilleries,” he says. “Engineers build distilleries, and they’re all in this state.” For his grape brandies (he also makes apple brandy, absinthe, gin, and a curaçao), Heron sources wines and then cranks them up to eleven during distillation and aging. A music lover, Heron pumps rock into his basement barrel maturation room, blasting tunes through subwoofers to infect all his brandies. Can you taste Kings of Leon? Doubtful. But science says there might be something to “sonic aging”—it can broaden the flavors in your glass. For Butchertown, named after the distillery’s neighborhood, Heron blends a selection of grape brandies aged in used bourbon casks and new American oak, then bottles it at a stout 124 proof.

>Butchertown brandy, $60 from


> Drink winner: Tropic Thunder
> Drink runner-up: Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
> Drink runner-up: Urban Tree Cidery
> Drink runner-up: Copper & Kings

See all winners and runners-up