Creative people have a reputation for being eccentric, and that’s the perfect word to describe Joe Heron, whose secret to aging brandy is to play music for it. Based out of Louisville, Kentucky, Heron’s distillery, Copper & Kings, believes that the secret to great booze is to keep the music going for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The rotating playlists, which range from showcasing classic Americana like Bruce Springsteen to modern Indie Pop like My Morning Jacket, help to keep the booze, and all of the men and women who work there, in the mood to keep going. Except for a ban on Katy Perry, there’s no limit to the musical influences that can be soaked up inside Copper & Kings, which is of course, exactly what Heron had in mind.
See, Heron believes in a process known as sonic aging. The gentle vibrations caused from the constant flow of music allow the liquids inside the distillery’s 1,300 barrels to constantly keep circulating. This is incredibly advantageous, because the more contact the alcohol has with the surface of the oak barrel, the more flavorful it becomes. Heron maintains that “the sonic aging process is actually really integral to who we are as a company as well; Copper & Kings is meant to sound like a band, like the Kings of Leon.”
Just like babies are happiest when you talk to them, Heron believes that “happy brandy makes happy drinking.” And why spend all of your spare time making one-sided chit chat with barrels of alcohol that are just starting to find themselves when you could have the greats like David Bowie and Bob Dylan do it for you? Think of all the wisdom this booze will have seen before it even finds its way out of its barrels and into the world.
Even though the idea of sonic aging may sound a bit out there, Heron’s way of doing business brings up a good point: if music has helped play a part in the shaping of each of our collective identities, then why can’t the same be true for booze? Just because it’s not alive doesn’t mean it can’t age.