According to the Audubon Society, buzzard nesting sites are usually in sheltered areas, such as inside hollow trees or logs, in crevices in cliffs, under rocks, in caves, inside dense thickets, or in old buildings. In the case of Buzzard’s Roost, they fall into this final category with a new home in an old building.
Buzzard’s Roost Sipping Whiskey has been flying without a nest since it was founded in 2019. Now after much searching the startup whiskey brand has landed on Louisville Kentucky’s famed Whiskey Row. Buzzard’s Roost value proposition is they take fully aged, sourced bourbon and rye whiskies and re-barrel them for approximately 90 days using a second barrel created using specific seasoning, toasting and charring methods.
The distiller has announced its new homeplace will include its own micro-distillery, retail space, bar and tasting room. The 6,000-square foot facility covers two floors and will offer a full 360-degree Buzzard’s Roost experience. The micro-distillery will produce about a barrel per day or from five to seven barrels of new-make bourbon or rye per week, complementing Buzzard’s Roost’s sourced whiskies.
The micro-distillery will be unique. Rather than a full-blown distillery where mashing and fermenting take place Buzzard’s Roost distilling process will start with a doubler. The plan is to install a 70-gallon Vendome Copper & Brass Works doubler where they can finish a whiskey. They will acquire whiskey from a distilling partner and finish it in the doubler. Then they will mature the new make whiskey using their own unique barrel combinations.
“This is an important next step for us,” says Buzzard’s Roost CEO and Co-Founder Judy Hollis Jones. “We’ve had significant success expanding our distribution into 10 states plus Canada in the last three years, and we launched our online shop in late 2022. The new micro-distillery and tasting room will let even more people – including the growing number of visitors to Louisville – experience Buzzard’s Roost bourbons and rye whiskeys in fun and creative ways.”
“We look forward to offering interesting experiences for people in Louisville to come back more than once. We will have some guest speakers, from time to time, on unique topics around the whiskey industry, or food pairings, or whatever that person’s specialty is. I am hoping we can create an environment that people like coming to visit us and come to learn, for both tourists and local people.”
A Unique Whiskey Customer Experience
“The Whiskey Row space will include a bar for tastings, a small retail space where customers can buy bottles, t-shirts and hats,” added Co-Founder Jason Brauner. “We will also have a small still where we will produce about a barrel a day of spirits. That’s all on the first floor. The second floor, in the basement, will have an educational classroom, a VIP tasting room and offices.
“We’ll give different types of classes. Mainly, we’ll focus on our focus which is on the wood and our secondary maturation. We use a char #1 on all our second barrels. When we start putting new make into our own barrels we’ll be using a char #1 on our first barrels as well. We really focus on our maturation. We’ll be focusing on Wood 101.”
“We won’t be doing any mashing or fermentation in our facility. What we are doing is we are getting some first run from one of our partners. We are going to clean it up on our doubler and it will become ours at that point and we’ll put that into our char #1 barrels.”
A Three Phase Plan
Once the new location is open that will put Buzzard’s Roost on its way to accomplishing Phase 2 of their long term business plan.
“We have a three stage plan,” stated Brauner. “Stage one was to launch the sourced whiskey with our unique finish.”
Phase 1: Launch a brand. The first step was to launch the Buzzard’s Roost brand with sourced whiskey and finish it with secondary aging.
Phase 2: Open a bricks & mortar homeplace. This is what’s happening on Whiskey Row. Create a homeplace where they could share their story, offer classes, sell products and start to experiment with new make whiskey.
Phase 3: And finally, the long term plan is to own their own distillery at some point in the future.
Hollis added that the timing for Phase III is to be determined. “We are spending our time focusing on what are the steps to grow the business, to get it nationwide. I am very interested in being across all of Canada, we are only in one province now. I’m interested in Europe and Asia. We have a lot of work to do to expand our brand. There will come a time when it makes sense to have a distillery but right now, I think we have to see how fast we can execute our brand plans. And then, as we get closer to it, we’ll be able to set that [distillery] target.”
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The new Buzzard’s Roost space will offer whiskey education classes designed by acclaimed expert and author Susan Reigler and cocktail classes developed by mixologist and author of “Bourbon is My Comfort Food” Heather Wibbels (aka “The Cocktail Contessa”).
Visitors to the Buzzard’s Roost Whiskey Row Experience also will be able to sample from Buzzard’s Roost’s growing portfolio of bourbons and ryes in guided tastings, and full-size cocktails also will be available. “We anticipate offering some special limited release bourbons and ryes that will only be available in the tasting room,” adds Hollis Jones.
The space was conceived and designed by Work Architecture + Design, led by Mitchell Kersting and Kathryn Curtis. You can see four of the renderings above.
Construction is well underway at the 634 W. Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky location. Buzzard’s Roost Sipping Whiskey plans on opening their Whiskey Row location to the public in late March 2023.
Three Things to Do Nearby
While you are on the distillery trail there are plenty of other things to do, see and taste. Here are three things that are just minutes away.
Distilleries: There are several distilleries within walking distance including Angel’s Envy Distillery, Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Evan William Bourbon Experience, and Old Forester Distillery. Here is a full list of Louisville’s distilleries.
Museum: The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is just a few hundred yards away. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is all about celebrating the extraordinary role of Louisville Slugger in baseball’s past, present and future. It is a visit that will delight guests and create joyful, lifetime memories.
Museum: The Frazier History Museum is also within walking distance. The Frazier also happens to be the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. If you are looking to figure out where to go on the trail, this is the place to go.