Published by Louisville Business First
April 7, 2023
By Stephen P. Schmidt

Jeff Hopmayer’s journey to bourbon might reflect the same of many: “I didn’t find bourbon. Bourbon found me.”

Before he launched the Brindiamo Group — one of the most widely known brokerages and consulting firms in the distilled spirits industry — he had a friend in 2012 who had a whiskey business in his home city of Nashville, Tennessee, and asked him to find some bulk whiskey. After a few calls he found the barrels — and a new profession.

Like many, Hopmayer went bankrupt during the 2008 financial crisis after he invested a large amount of money at a large winery in California. He used that experience for motivation of this next chapter in his career.

“It’s really a wonderful blessing to be able to say, ‘I signed on that personal guarantee line and lost — and had the banks come after me and went bankrupt,’” he said. “And so you’re able to talk to these people who are looking at things like that and go ‘Oh, let me tell you how this works. I can tell you firsthand.’”

Currently, Hopmayer’s company has around 260,000 barrels of combined bourbon, Irish whiskey and Scotch under its management across the world. He brokers barrels both to producers and investors alike, with about 60% of new distillate going to producers and 40% going to investors. With aged liquid, it’s 90% to producers and 10% to investors.

In 2022, Hopmayer and his team opened a rickhouse in a joint partnership at Log Still Distillery in Gethsemane, Kentucky. A second is currently being built next to it, with plans for six more rickhouses “in different places around Kentucky” in the works…

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