Ludlow distillery Second Sight Spirits plans new liquors, growth

LUDLOW, Ky. – The future of Second Sight Spirits Distilling looks bright, according to its owners.

“I can’t say I expected to be at this point right now, but I’m just really excited to see what the next year holds,” said co-founder Carus Waggoner of the distillery located at 301B Elm St. in Ludlow.

On Saturday, Waggoner and co-founder Rick Couch will celebrate the second anniversary of the distillery, which they opened on April 18, 2015, with a single craft rum.

The daylong anniversary celebration will include live music, free tarot card readings and the release of a new smoked cherry rum. They also will debut a honey-flavored moonshine under the Villa Hillbillies label they launched last year with a third partner, Dan Gibson.

The party also will offer a glimpse of the distillery's future.

Foretelling what's ahead

Second Sight, which distilled its first batch of bourbon last year, plans to start selling it in June or July, Waggoner said. Customers will be able to sign an anniversary barrel of bourbon at the event.  

The distillery also will give away a free sponsorship of a future bourbon barrel at the party as part of a paid barrel sponsorship program the owners launched in February.

”You can sponsor a barrel and be involved in as much or as little of the process as you want to,” said Gibson, who is also Second Sight's sales manager.

Waggoner and Gibson said they launched the barrel sponsorship program earlier this year to help the distillery pay for ongoing bourbon production. Under the program, a group or individual can pay for the opportunity to help make Second Sight bourbon.

“We’re getting a lot of interest from wedding groups, old-time friends and bourbon enthusiasts,” Waggoner said. “For $500 a group of friends can come down and cook the mash with us, set up the fermenters and then put the bourbon into the barrel, which they can sign. After the bourbon ages out they can bottle it and sign every bottle. We then give them 12 bottles from their batch.”

Second Sight then distributes the remaining bourbon to liquor stores for retail sale.

The distillery has filled 12 barrels of bourbon so far under the program, Gibson said.

"We are doing a new barrel each week for somebody," he said.

Waggoner said Second Sight is using smaller barrels to age its bourbon, which means it should take only a year to mature.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Waggoner said of the program. “And that’s what’s nice about being on a smaller scale, too -- we can do things like this.”

A focus on new rums and collaboration

Beyond the bourbon, Second Sight will release a new dark rum this summer.

The distillers are looking to produce small-batch seasonal rums and collaborate with area breweries in the months to come.

In February, Mash Cult Brewing released its Rummin with the Devil, a Belgian quad ale that was aged in Second Sight’s rum barrels. 

Waggoner said Second Sight also plans to expand in the upcoming year. Part of that expansion includes adding physical space at the distillery's current location and looking for new investors to help fund Second Sight’s market and production growth.

“We’ve hit the point that we feel we have enough equity to talk to investors,” Waggoner said.

Waggoner and Couch have held day jobs while establishing Second Sight over the past two years, but both plan to start working full time at the distillery by this summer. 

“It’s just this big balancing act,” Waggoner said. “Honestly, these last two years have felt like a flash. We are always grateful to our friends and family who got us this far.”

Second Sight Spirits' second anniversary party
Noon-10 p.m. Saturday
301b Elm St., Ludlow, Ky
For more information visit the event Facebook page
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