Imagine having to turn away 50% of the people that wanted to visit your business. That is the challenge that was facing Angel’s Envy Distillery on Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The Angel’s Envy bourbon brand, famous for taking fully matured bourbon and finishing it in various wine, rum, and other specialty barrels, was co-founded in 2010 by the late Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson and his son Wes Henderson. In 2013 they started on a journey to build their own homeplace that would include a fully operational distillery including distillation, barreling, bottling and a visitor experience.
Construction began on the new facility in July 2013 and the distillery and homeplace officially opened its doors in November 2016. Before long, Angel’s Envy discovered it had a problem, a good problem to have albeit a problem, they were turning away people that wanted to tour the distillery where their favorite bourbon was made. The solution, announced in November 2020 was to expand the visitor center by adding more than 13,000 square feet to the brand home including a new event space and bar, a larger retail space and several new tasting rooms.
What Makes Angel’s Envy Distillery Tours So Popular?
Well, first it’s the bourbon and its reputation in the distilled spirits world. In addition to the amber liquid, it’s the same old three words that have been a part of real estate forever, location, location, location. The Angel’s Envy Distillery sits on Whiskey Row, near the Ohio River on Main Street in downtown Louisville directly across the street from Louisville Slugger Baseball Field and right off I-65, an interstate with average daily traffic around 150,000 travelers per day. For Northerner’s heading south for their Winter or Summer break it’s an easy drop off from the interstate to pick up a one-of-a-kind ‘distillery only’ bottle of Angel’s Envy.
Expansion Will Allow Angel’s Envy to Double Annual Tour Visitors
The expansion, which adds 13,000 square feet to the facility, will allow Angel’s Envy to welcome an additional 64,000 visitors each year, doubling annual guest capacity.
“We had a good problem when we opened in 2016,” explained Angel’s Envy Brand Home Manager Dee Ford. “We quickly realized that we were turning away as many people as we were hosting… We decided we needed to put together a plan to enlarge this space to accommodate more visitors. We are about 90,000 square feet and we added an additional 13,000 square feet.
“We now have five new tasting rooms. Three are upstairs and two are downstairs. And a wonderful event space that has a very nice catering kitchen and an additional bar upstairs.
“We also added a ‘bottle-your-own’ area on the first floor. We’ll be offering a single barrel of Angel’s Envy [sold by the bottle].
Ford added that guest experience will start in a new room that will lead directly to the distillery.
“We’ve made it easier for guests to start a tour and head right into the hot, steamy bourbon distillery,” said Ford. “It smells just like cornbread coming right out of the oven. Visitors will walk directly into the center of the center of the ‘cathedral’ as it’s called. Guests will see our column still, doubler, fermentation and more. They’ll see the overall look and feel of the entire grain to bottle experience that we do here at Angel’s Envy.”
Angel's Envy Distillery from 2014, to 2016, to 2022.
Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.
“Angel’s Envy has seen significant growth over the past several years, and that will only be amplified with our Brand Home expansion as we can now better meet the incredible demand from visitors who want to tour our facilities and experience our distillery,” added Angel’s Envy General Manager Gigi DaDan. “We’re proud to be part of such a strong community in Louisville and will continue to invest in our hometown.”
Watch the Grand Opening celebration remarks here from DaDan and Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman.
What’s New at Angel’s Envy Distillery?
The Angel’s Envy Distillery expansion includes the following amenities.
- Larger Retail Area – The retail space was expanded to allow for a larger and more open shopping experience.
- New Bar Space – The second floor includes a new full-service bar where mixologists will craft cocktails for reservation and event guests.
- Five New Tasting Rooms – Where guests can partake in educational bourbon tastings. The three new tasting rooms on the second floor are named after the Henderson family. There is the ‘Lincoln Room’ named after the late Lincoln Henderson, the man who got the family started in the distilling business. The ‘Wes Room’ named after Lincoln’s son and Co-Founder Wes Henderson. And the third room is the ‘Henderson Room’ room to allow for future generations of Henderson’s to make their own mark on the business.
- Event Space and Full Catering Kitchen – The space can be used for pairing dinners and private gatherings such as conferences and corporate events. All this can now happen without interfering with tours. The space can be divided into two to accommodate multiple events.
- Bottle Your Own – This is always a fan favorite at distilleries. A new designated room for will allow for a “Bottle Your Own” experience which will offer guests the chance to fill their own bottles of Angel’s Envy’s distillery-exclusives spirits.
Angel’s Envy worked with Joseph & Joseph + Bravura Architects, Contagious and Sullivan & Cozart on the design and build for the expansion; construction began in late 2020. Take a look at this related story if you would like to compare the architectural renderings to the finished product.
The Angel’s Envy says the brand home expansion was made possible with ongoing support of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the Kentucky Governor’s Office, Kentucky Tourism, the Louisville Mayor’s Office, Louisville Forward and Louisville Tourism. The expansion will create approximately 20 new jobs.
The Henderson’s are Two Time Members of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame
The father-son duo are both members of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. Lincoln was elected as an inaugural member back in 2001 while Wes was selected in 2019.
Angel’s Envy is available in all 50 U.S. states and several international markets, and it is produced by Louisville Distilling Company, a subsidiary of Bacardi Limited.
Take a Sneak Peak of Angel’s Envy Distillery’s $8.2 Million Visitor Center Expansion [Renderings]
Angel’s Envy Distillery Plans $6.5 Million Visitor Center Expansion
VITOK Engineers Convert 100+ Year Old Building into a Distillery Even the Angel’s Envy [BrandScape]