There are more than 50 distilleries in Kentucky. Most of them make a bourbon or whiskey of some sort with one exception, Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. You see this distillery just down the street from Whiskey Row is kind of the lone wolf in the state as it doesn’t focus on the states signature amber spirit, bourbon. Instead, as the company name implies, they focus their efforts on brandy.
The company has just announced that Brandon O’Daniel, the companies Head Distiller since February 2014 has been promoted to Master Distiller effective immediately. Like the thoroughbred horses that circle the nearby track at Churchill Downs, Brandon’s distilling bloodline goes back four generations. His great-grandfather was distilling in the 1920’s, and whose confiscated still is rumored to be the largest in Kentucky history and the condenser “worm” of that still is believed to be stored at a Kentucky historical society. Brandon’s grandfather started in the Kentucky wine business in the 80’s and his family remain in the Kentucky wine business today. The dude basically has “Brand(y)on” in his name.
The company says that O’Daniel is an award winning wine-maker and viticulturist, and it is this unique wine-making experience and heritage that makes him singularly qualified to distill superb American style brandy. His experience as a vintner enables a pedigreed palate and a deep knowledge of fermentation, fruit varietal nuance, blending, quality management and taste profiling.
He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture and Master’s Degree in Plant and Soil Science with an emphasis in viticulture and oenology from the University of Kentucky.
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“Brandon has mastered his craft,” says Copper & Kings founder Joe Heron. “This is not an empty honorific, but reflects the skills and leadership of someone who is amongst the finest distillers of brandy in the world, and we can’t discount his excellent palate, his leadership of a full production team through example and education. We would be remiss in not recognizing him as an inventive alchemist when it comes to innovation – gin, Destillaré cordials, absinthe, bitters, and more to come, we certainly breathe rare air when it comes to relentless innovation, with Brandon making the complex, and arcane, come to life in spirit form.”
Copper & Kings uses small batch copper pot-distillation to forge untraditional, non-derivative, pure pot-distilled American apple and grape brandies, absinthe, gin and Destillaré liqueurs that are non-chill filtered with no added sugar, colors or synthetic chemicals. The state-of-the-art distillery exclusively focuses on the distillation of brandy based spirits.