Visit Cox’s Neighborhood Tasting Bars
Visit Cox’s Neighborhood Tasting Bars
Cox’s Neighborhood Tasting Bars Are the Wave of the Future in Louisville…
Bourbon in Kentucky has a complicated and detailed history, where each individual story is custom-tailored to the hundreds of individual bottlers and distilleries throughout our state. With so many options and experiences available to the average consumer, Cox’s decided to create neighborhood tasting bars where both locals and visitors alike could be introduced to the many flavors of our great state.
At Cox’s Spirit Shoppe and Evergreen Liquors, the tasting experience is being elevated to match the unrivaled support of our neighborhoods and their love of all things bourbon and liquor. Cox’s neighborhood tasting bars allow customers to sample new and existing brands in a rotating menu that changes to meet the demands of specific regions throughout the Louisville liquor market. In doing so, Cox’s/Evergreen hopes to broaden the bourbon palate of its customer base, while establishing bourbon as the primary spirit in the Bluegrass State, alongside other favorite offerings such as rum and tequila.
“We have four tasting bars throughout the company,” said Evan Grantz who works in Cox’s customer relations and sales. “Three of which are at our Evergreen stores and one of which is at Cox’s.”
Grantz says the tasting bars are built and based upon the taste of the community that they are in. The tasting bar will carry brands that are popular in the neighborhood but will also work to introduce the clientele to brands they may not be familiar with.
“They’re going to try Maker’s Mark 46 or Maker’s Mark 101,” said Grantz. “They’re not going to just stick to your basic one and that’s really what the Evergreen tasting bars are built upon. They’re much more robust in their options.”
For a customer, getting to sample new bourbons alongside their favorites teaches the customer that experimentation is fun and not to be feared. It also helps customers make better-educated decisions about what they will drink.
Most of the time, when visiting the tasting bars, customers can be assured that they will find a favorite. The bars tend to only cycle a bourbon out when the product runs out.
“If we’re offering a new product or whenever we do our single barrel program where we go out and actually go to the distilleries and pick barrels ourselves and when we get those bottles in, which typically takes a couple of months from the picking to offering them in stores, that’s when we’ll go through and put those on the shelf at the bar.”
To choose barrels, Cox’s sends their employees to distilleries to choose and learn about the products. This gives them a better understanding of each bourbon’s characteristics and process. In turn, the employees are well-equipped to share this information with their customers in the store.
The largest of their three tasting bars is close to downtown in the NULU area. This location opened in May of 2021. Because this is the largest of the tasting bars and one that is situated in a bustling area of town that has lots of visits from locals and tourists, the selection of bourbons for tasting is larger and more diverse.
“You’ll find bottles of Pappy or Blanton’s on all the other tasting bars,” said Grantz. “But the one downtown is where you’ll find your Old Forester Birthday Bourbon and your Kentucky Owl, just stuff that most people don’t even see or might not even know exist — or have only seen on the internet. We’re able to provide those thanks to our partnership with a lot of our distributors.”
The history of Cox’s Spirit Shoppe and Evergreen Liquors goes back a bit to the original store in Middletown where Shelbyville Road and Evergreen Avenue meet in a neighborhood known as Anchorage.
“That store has quite a bit of history. It’s got quite a bit of a following when it comes to, not just even the tasting bar, but like craft beers,” said Grants. “Everybody in the wines, everybody in that community knows Evergreen liquors. We’ve had so many customers come in and tell us how their dad or their grandpa would bring them in here before and all this back 20, 30, 40 years ago.”
The connection between their customers and their stores is more than just that of a retail outlet. There are many relationships forged through the sense of place that Cox’s/Evergreen has provided for their customers over the last couple of decades. Cox’s brand began 25 years ago this year primarily as a smoke shop with tobacco products. The addition of alcohol and the tasting bars grew out of the relationship with Evergreen liquors and adds a new ambiance to the communities they serve. You can also purchase all your Cox’s & Evergreen Liquors favorites online to have them hand-delivered through our ongoing partnership with Drizly.com
What to Expect at Our Tasting Bars:
The experience at the tasting bar is a bit different because most of the time there isn’t a dedicated bartender and one would need to locate a staff member to serve them a sample. However, each member of the team is knowledgeable about the offered tastings and well prepared to help any customer discover something new for their palate or to find something that fits their budget and taste level.
As well, you don’t need to reserve a spot for a tasting and samples are available at all times during store hours. Throughout the year, Cox’s/Evergreens offers a rotating menu of new items to try.
This also allows the team at the store to develop new relationships with brands that do not have the long history of a Jim Beam or Maker’s Mark. An example of this is the relationship that Cox’s has developed with Rabbit Hole Distillery.
The Rabbit Hole Distillery is located behind the NULU tasting bar and has allowed Cox’s to introduce the brand to their customers creating new fans of their bourbon offerings.
Despite being primarily bourbon tasting bars, Cox’s/Evergreen also serve a selection of other spirits. They will offer whiskeys, rums — including a local rum called Saltwater Woody’s — tequilas, sometimes wine and the occasional mixed drink including an Old Fashioned and Margaritas.
“It really depends on the bar and the area. The downtown one has a rotating wine but we’ll have any kind of spirits that you can think of on the bar. The options are driven by our customers.”
Anyone who has been to a tasting or done a drink flight at a restaurant is aware that this can sometimes get expensive quickly. Grantz wants customers to know that the offerings at Cox’s/Evergreen have something for every budget.
“It really depends on how much you want to drink and what you want to drink. I think one of our lowest tastings is about $3 while we have other ones that are almost to 100 dollar mark. It really depends on how rare of a product you’re wanting. If you want a simple Woodford reserve, that’s going to cost you a lot less than a Pappy Van Winkle but, yeah, there’s a price point for everybody out there.”
There are a total of four tasting bar locations:
And soon… Our Prospect location will have one as well!
At Cox’s and Evergreen Liquors in Louisville, providing customers with good quality products at an even better value is part of our commitment to each neighborhood we serve. Visit your Louisville neighborhood tasting bars to learn more and find new favorites for your bar at home.