Joe + Lesley Heron
Soda master behind Butchertown Soda Co. in Louisville, KY, Joe's goal is to create clean, small-batch sodas that reflect he vitality of the Butchertown district of Louisville he calls home.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
We wanted to develop a line of natural sodas that were more grown up and adult in flavor and that could cross the line between non-alcoholic refreshment and an adult alcoholic mixer. We also wanted to highlight our wonderful neighborhood, Butchertown.
Tell us about your products.
We make a throwback style of soda – with flavors from Ginger Beer, Cream Soda, Tonic Water, Mandarin Mint and Cola. The products only contain natural ingredients and are preservative free and use organic cane sugar. They are not syrupy sweet but carry a hefty, almost culinary, taste profile that is refreshing and complements alcoholic spirits really well in a cocktail or a simple highball.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
It’s about attention to detail. It’s about quality ingredients. You need to care deeply about what you make.
What Drew You To Food?
We are naturally drawn to interesting food and beverage. We are interested in products that speak to you vs sell to you.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Everywhere. Chefs. Bartenders. Musicians. We read enormously and widely.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We also work in the distilled spirits industry with Copper & Kings American Brandy and Absinthe. We also have a line of Kentucky artsian food under the Butchertown Provisions label – we have a Straight Honey from the Copper & Kings Head Distiller, Brandon O’Daniel’s, personal hives, and we are working on some really interesting spices – a South African Style “Bo-Kaap” Malaysian Fruit Curry Spice mix, brandy barrel stave smoked black peppercorns (misted with Copper & Kings brandy beforehand), and a brandy barrel stave smoked BBQ dry rub.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
Ginger Beer. I am of South African extraction, we are fanatical about Ginger Beer. And Butchertown Ginger Beer is exceptional and meets the colonial standard for sure.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Moroccan influenced chicken stew with beans, olives, kale prepared by my wife Lesley.
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
Ah. Now this I can speak to; Never take a knife to a gunfight.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
Matt Jamie at Bourbon Barrel Foods, Mike Mays at Heine Bros Coffee, Sam Crus and the Against The Grain team, every distiller in the state – large and small.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Watching South Africa beating New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Final eating a grilled lamb chops, “boerewors” (look it up), great salad (with limited lettuce, and lots of olives, tomatoes and feta cheese) with excellent alcoholic libations.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
Dinner party with friends at home, loud music, loud conversation, lotsa laughs, and Les’ cooking.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
Watching rugby, going to live music concerts.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
Oi vey. That’s too hard – My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Jayhawks, Whisketyown, Modern Jazz Quartet, Soul Music, African Music, Neil Young, Van Morrison …
What is your favorite recipe to make with the product featured in our basket? (Provide recipe if possible)
Butchertown Stormy – Butchertown Ginger Beer + Copper & Kings American Brandy.
Copper & Kings Immature Brandy + Butchertown Tonic – with extra lime. Over ice. Mmmm – thirsty!!
What other product in our October basket would you most want to try?
They all look amazing. But Sfoglini Pasta Shop | Saffron Malloreddus Pasta looks awesome. And I haven’t tried that yet.