Inside Angel’s Envy History of Billy Goat Strut Alley

Angel’s Envy’s bourbon tanks are housed in a little stretch of Billy Goat Strut Alley. Two alleys running parallel to Main Street: Billy Goat Strut to the north and Nanny Goat Strut to the south were both known for goat racing and came long before the Derby.

Before we had a lock system (thanks to the advances in hydraulic engineering), the Ohio River was only safe to cross for about five months a year during the high-water periods of the Spring and Fall.

During the low months, there were up to 22-foot-high falls that could not be crossed. Travelers, settlers, merchants, gamblers, and anything moving West by the Ohio river way, could get caught needing to spend a lot of time in Louisville waiting for the river to rise so they could continue westward. Any pastime was especially welcome to those who had to wait. Watching goats race, eventually, became one of the many welcome diversions Louisville offered to visitors. Spectators would line the alley to cheer on their wagers, and that’s how Billy Goat Strut earned its name. It is also a piece of history we still honor each year at the Bock fest every spring in NuLu.