Amine and Beth Karaoud said their love for bourbon started when they bought a liquor store, at First and Oak in the company’s namesake neighborhood.
The company just pushed out its first small batch release of 2500 bottles last month. They were blended from barrels purchased from other distillers and collected over six years.
Owner Amine Karaoud said they’re starting off slowly, working their way up to distilling possibilities.
“Because of our small scale we can go barrel to barrel and make sure when we’re ready to bottle, those are ready,” Karaoud said. “We’re going to let them rest until they’re fully mature.”
The idea for Old Louisville Whiskey, now located on Poplar Level Road, started about seven years ago.
Karaoud, originally an engineer, and his wife Beth decided to buy and run a liquor store in Old Louisville, at First and Oak. That’s where they were exposed to the world of bourbon.
About six years ago, the Karaoud’s started buying barrels from other distilleries, selecting the mash bills (recipes) they liked.
“Almost like a puzzle, all the information you get and all the whiskey you try,” Karaoud said. “If you’re patient and can wait long enough and select your bourbon and whiskey and let them mature properly, you can produce a high quality product.”
To help fund the business, the Karaoud’s sold off some investment properties in Old Louisville.
Inspired by their roots, they kept the name for the company.
“It’s a love for the neighborhood, the architecture, the money we made there,” Karaoud said.
After several years in their Poplar Level Road rickhouse, they were ready to blend 19 barrels into their first small batch. Others barrels are still waiting for their time to shine.
The Karaouds are planning a few other experiences as well: single barrel labels, tastings and barrel selecting.
Eventually, they’d like to expand into their own distilling. The latest project is a batch of rye that should be ready to go this month.
Karaoud said even in a booming bourbon market, surrounded by the largest names in whiskey, he believes there’s space for smaller, family-owned brands.
“I think if we prove ourselves and put good quality product we can go anywhere after that,” he said.
Batch 1 Rye, with about 1100 bottles, is set to debut this month.
You can find more about Old Louisville Whiskey here.