Vendome Copper and Brass Works have made your bourbon possible for over 100 years, based in Louisville, Kentucky. They bend materials not meant to be bent, but they do it expertly, and they weld materials that are difficult to weld but create miles of flawless seams. Vendome equals bourbon excellence, and its presence is evident throughout the bourbon landscape.

The 95% rule

Every bourbon follower has heard that 95% of the world’s bourbon comes from Kentucky. Did you know that more than 95 percent of American whiskey flows through Vendome equipment? That is correct, and chances are that much of the bourbon you have been sampling came from a Vendome still, passed through a Vendome doubler, or fermented in a Vendome tank. You can call this company many things, specialists, artists, metal fabricators, but I call them passionate. Have you looked at some of the Vendome equipment closely? It is not simple and plain; they produce equipment that is a functional work of art designed and built by artisans.

In business for 118 years

Vendome Copper and Brass Works have been a family operation for over a century. They have persevered through prohibition, World War I and two, and the more recent whiskey drought of the 1970s to become the brand known for excellence. I began seeing the name Vendome as I toured the distillery landscape in Kentucky. I did not know much about them except that they appeared almost everywhere. After seeing the Vendome name time after time, I was determined to learn more about the company.

Butchertown District of Louisville

Vendome sits in an inconspicuous area of Louisville known as Butchertown. I had visited this area multiple times and never realized this critical and historic part of the bourbon industry was close by. The visit was worth the wait, and the resulting equipment brought to life from sheets of copper, steel, and brass is breathtaking. Go to Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Makers Mark, Jim Beam, Michters, Brown Forman, and Angels Envy, and you will find Vendome equipment. There are many more locations worldwide that are too numerous to list. They are the gold standard or, in this case, the copper standard of the industry.

Family matters

Four generations of the Sherman family have operated Vendome, and it is plain to see why this company is successful. Throughout our Kentucky bourbon experience, we have met many successful people with a common trait: they are good people. Founded by W. Elmore Sherman, the company is in the competent hands of Rob, Barbara, Susannah, and Mike, all fourth-generation company owners. Spend a few minutes with them, and you will realize that they are good people with a passion for what they do. When they needed to, they branched into sectors such as dairy, food, candy, chemical, and brewing. Through every obstacle, the Sherman family created quality products that serve their clients’ needs. The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame honored the Sherman Family by electing them as members in 2005.

Unsung heroes of bourbon

Vendome Copper and Brass Works is not on the label of your favorite bourbon, but chances are they played a large part in the distilling process. The Sherman family has that unique brand of southern hospitality that I frequently find in the Kentucky bourbon world. They are craftsmen, and they are specialists in their field. Most importantly, they are good people creating heirloom quality equipment with pride. On your next distillery visit, look at the still and see if you recognize that Vendome label. If you do, you know the distillery is dedicated to creating the best whiskey using the best equipment.

A few images of Vendome products

Garrison Brothers Texas Vendome Pot Still
Garrison Brothers in Texas. Photo courtesy of Vendome Copper and Brass Works.
Vendome Copper Column Still at the Sazerac House.
Vendome Column Still in the Sazerac House. Photo courtesy of Vendome Copper and Brass Works.
Old Forester Column Still in Louisville Kentucky.
Vendome column still at Old Forester in Louisville Kentucky.