What was once a non-descript corn field six years ago is now a piece of land that is home to Jeptha Creed Distillery in Shelbyville, Kentucky. It’s a 64 acre property that sits on Interstate 64 about halfway between Louisville and Frankfort. Anyone traveling to or from some of the states heritage distilleries can’t help to notice the glass covered A-frame building billowing steam in the air along the way. The distillery is owned by the mother-daughter duo Master Distiller Joyce Nethery and her daughter Marketing Manager Autumn Nethery. And to be sure, the entire family is all-in.
Building a Family Legacy – Six Years are in the History Books
“From the beginning, this really has been a family endeavor,” said Autumn Nethery. “It’s been myself, Joyce, my Dad Bruce and my brother Hunter even though he’s under 21 he’s still very much involved with the distillery. He takes care of the bees that produce the honey for our honey Vodka. The whole family has been involved and it’s been a really great experience having my family right next to me when we started this business.”
“We are so excited to be able to launch our bourbon today,” said Joyce Nethery. “This bourbon has been six years in the making. It’s taken us six years to get our two year bourbon. The six year mark really starts with the time frame we got the whole family on the same page with doing this business, building this business, starting our own bourbon legacy. From that point on we have literally built this business, built this building from the ground floor up. This place started as a corn field. So we built this distillery from a corn field and corn fields is where we grow the corn from ground to glass. It’s all about our Kentucky soil, our Kentucky history, heritage and culture. We are so excited to be a part of the bourbon industry and having our own bourbon launch today. It’s kind of overwhelming.”
If you want to see what pure distillers Joy(ce) looks like, take a look at the video below at about the 30 second mark.
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Six Years to Make a Two Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
We’ve been following the tales of Jeptha Creed Distillery for several years now. They first broke ground in November 2015 on their 18,000 square foot distillery designed by Joseph and Joseph Architects. The facility includes the distillery, a full-service bar, indoor and outdoor event space, a gift shop and tasting room. We were also there the day their custom made Vendome Copper & Brass Works distillation equipment was delivered and the day they filled and bunged their first barrel of bourbon in August 2016. And if you do the math, their two year old bourbon includes some bourbon that’s nearer two and a half years old.
4-Grain Kentucky Straight Bourbon Made with an Heirloom Corn
When your family has a history of farming, you are not afraid to try something a little out of the ordinary. In the case of the Nethery’s they wanted to make a unique bourbon. Rather than use a standard yellow corn Joyce chose to use an heirloom Bloody Butcher corn that dates back to 1845. I’ve started to see this picked up by a few other craft spirits makers but Jeptha Creed not only uses it for distilling but they grown it on their own property. As an heirloom non-GMO corn a certain percent of the corn is kept and saved to reseed the fields for next year’s crop. When you see it in the cooker it does have its own unique pink hue to it. And one other thing, the deer love it. They’ll walk straight through fields of yellow corn to eat this heirloom corn. I think we can likely all learn something from these deer!
Joyce explained “The bourbon is our Kentucky Straight Four Grain Bourbon. The soil and the land that we’ve been talking about is the land that we grow our heirloom variety of Bloody Butcher corn in. Our bourbon is 70% Bloody Butcher corn, 15% malted rye, 10% malted wheat and 5% malted barley. All of the grains in our bourbon are all malted which give it a beautiful smoothness, mellow nuttiness. It’s fabulous. Its two years old so it’s straight. Its 98° proof. It’s beautiful.”
Serendipity | ser·en·dip·i·ty | \ ˌser-ən-ˈdi-pə-tē:
In 2014, Master Distillery Joyce Nethery distilled test batches of bourbon, hoping to test different grain levels for the mash. Due to a delivery accident, the rye, wheat, and barley all arrived malted. It was a lucky mistake: the Netherys tasted the bourbon made from the mash of malted grains and knew they’d landed on something special.
The bourbon whiskey in this first batch was fermented, distilled and barreled in 10 gallon and 53 gallon toasted and charred barrels from Kelvin Cooperage. It was then aged on-site in their single story barrel warehouse. Once it was ready for bottling it was dumped, filtered, bottled, capped and labeled on-site.
Tasting Notes from Jeptha Creed Distillery
Mash Bill: 70% Bloody Butcher corn, 15% malted rye, 10% malted wheat and 5% malted barley.
Nose: Sweet cream candies, hydrangeas, morning glories, geranium, dried apricots and red berries, peach cobbler, brown sugar and blackberry jam.
Palate: Complex and rich with vanilla, nutmeg, clove and toasted pecans.
Finish: A long finish of vanilla mint with a lingering hint of baking spices.
Jeptha Creed Distillery’s 4-Grain Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is bottled at 98° proof (49% ABV) and retails for around $50 per 750ml bottle. Its available now at the distillery and in select Kentucky retail outlets. It will be released in Tennessee and Indiana markets in the summer of 2019.
And if you think they are kidding about building a family legacy, they’re not. They just purchased another 200 acre tract of land as a part of their 30 year plan!
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