Bourbon boom helps family-owned company continue to grow - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bourbon boom helps family-owned company continue to grow

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Vendome Copper and Brass Works is one of Louisville's most successful family-owned businesses, and now the bourbon boom is placing its products all over the world.

Vendome occupies more than an entire block in Louisville's Butchertown neighborhood.

Inside the plant, there is constant activity as many of the company's 75 employees hand-make copper stills for the spirits industry.

"I would say right now it is about as busy as it has been since the late 1970s," said Michael Sherman, a vice president at Vendome.

He says this is far from an assembly line type operation.

"We are a customer fabricator, so every pot is a little bit different, depending upon what the customer wants."

Distillers from all over the world, big and small, rely on this Louisville company to manufacture the equipment used to make bourbon, gin, vodka and other spirits.

"If you look around, all of the major distilleries have had major expansions over the past few years," said Sherman, "and new tourists centers, right now bourbon is hot."

The company also makes stainless steel tanks and copper coils for huge companies like the world famous brewing comp nay, Anheuser-Busch.

Vendome is a fourth-generation family owned company that has been in business for 110 years.

It has lasted that long because it has been willing to change with the times. Several decades ago when bourbon wasn't so popular, Vendome began making equipment for other industries.

"We had to branch out into other industries," Sherman said. "The chemical, food and beverage industries and expand just to keep our doors open."

Now that the spirits industry is hot once again, about 75 percent of its business is generated through that industry. About 10 percent of Vendome products are exported.

"Vietnam is a project that just came about this fall," said Rob Sherman, also a vice president of the company. "It was just a customer who really loves bourbon so much and he has some money to invest and start a new company."

Last year, Vendome purchased a building across the street from its main operation, which signals the company is still growing after being in business for more than a century.

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