In 2010, Kelly R. Ramsey received a bottle of bourbon for Christmas, and instead of making quick work of it, she decided to turn it into chocolate. Two years later, she opened her first brick-and-mortar Art Eatables store using that exact concept, and now she runs two locations and a successful online outlet as well.
Not too shabby for someone who majored in finance in college.
Ramsey tells Insider her products, which all are completely nut-free, are made to complement the bourbon. In other words, bourbon is far from an ingredient thrown in because the spirit is trending. Bourbon is the main star at Art Eatables.
“Eight years ago when I started my business, none of the distilleries were offering pairings of chocolates with bourbons. Yeah, there was the bourbon ball, but that was more just a candy made with bourbon. It wasn’t made to showcase the bourbon,” she explains. “That’s why Art Eatables is different — it’s all about the bourbon for us, and chocolate is the delivery vice.”
Now, chocolate pairings at distilleries are a common experience, as both delectable ingredients play well with each other.
Ramsey opened the second location of Art Eatables — right next door to the Frazier History Museum — in 2017.
Inventory has grown year after year, as the certified bourbon chocolatier has incorporated more and more brands into the popular truffle line and expanded the offerings to include caramels, chocolate-covered Oreos and even modjeskas.
The store also recently launched a sister brand called The Lollipoppery, for kids and those who might not want bourbon in their chocolate.
“A lot of people don’t know that we do offer a variety of other handmade chocolates that aren’t made with spirits,” says Ramsey. “We always referred to this as our ‘No Fun Zone,’ but we wanted to offer a more kid-friendly assortment without the confusion. So, The Lollipoppery is a kid-focused, nut-free brand.”
As for the shop’s best-sellers, she says it’s a three-way tie between the Small Batch Bourbon Truffles, the Orange Chimeres (also found at the Angel’s Envy Distillery) and the Old Forester Chocolate Sea Salted Modjeskas (also found at the Old Forester Distillery).
Asked where she sees herself in five years, Ramsey doesn’t hesitate: “Honestly, doing what I do now. Creating and sharing the love of pairing chocolates with spirits and bourbon — just on a bigger stage.”
Art Eatables is located at 631 S. Fourth St. and 819 W. Main St.
Before Ramsey gets to work on her next batch of truffles, we asked her some very important questions …
What was your first concert?
Smashing Pumpkins with opening act Garbage.
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
What to really expect when you start a business. Things no one tells you.
What job would you be terrible at?
Pest Control. Critters, bugs, snakes — they all freak me out.
What is your favorite restaurant or bar?
Well, may favorite bar is my own. I have about 150 bottles of bourbon on hand, and I’m starting a sherry and port collection. As for my favorite restaurant, I would say it’s Bourbons Bistro.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once?
Take a road trip with no real destination in mind. Just make frequent stops and check out all that’s out there. I’m long overdue for another road trip.
Where would you direct a newcomer of Louisville to get a feel for the city?
Downtown for sure (Fourth Street, NuLu, Main Street) and the Highlands. I love all the local shops, restaurants and galleries.
What keeps you here?
Simple … Louisville. I love it here. It’s been a great place to raise my son, start and grow a business, and now bourbon. The city has so much to offer and it keeps growing. That’s exciting, and I love being a part of the growth.