New Riff Distillery in Newport, Kentucky has always strived to put a new riff on an old profession, distilling. When the company first opened its distillery doors in early 2014, it offered its own bourbon brand that was sourced from Lawrenceburg, Indiana’s MGP Distillery often referred to as the old Seagram’s Distillery or Rossville Distillery if you want to go way back in time to 1847. And, before anyone starts jumping up and down, that’s OK, in fact, it’s O.K.I.
New Riff’s O.K.I. Straight Bourbon Whiskey celebrates the history of Greater Cincinnati and times gone by when thousands of barrels of whiskey from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana rolled through the city’s gates and out to the rest of the world. As the label unashamedly states, the bourbon is distilled in Indiana, bottled in Kentucky (by New Riff) and loved in Ohio. Like the tall panes of glass that surround their 60 foot tall by 24-inch diameter Vendome Copper & Brass Works copper column still, they’ve always been clear about where their initial distillate came from. No folklore, no smoke and mirrors, just a story that celebrated bourbon whiskey from a historic tri-state area. In fact, the only complaint I’ve ever really heard about O.K.I. is that you can no longer get it.
Free Bourbon Draws “Guinness Book of World Records” Historic Crowd
There’s no question, even on a day that was threatening rain, bourbon knows how to draw a crowd. Offer a free pour of your first ever four year old bottled in bond bourbon and you are sure to draw a crowd, a big one at the Big Bourbon Toast.
The event was celebrated on the Purple People Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that brings together Ohio and Kentucky over the Ohio River. Like many Eastern cities in the United States, this area was once home to hundreds of distilleries until Prohibition shut them down.
The final numbers are not in yet but New Riff’s Director of Communications Amy Tobin said, “We estimate 2,200 people based on bottles and shot glasses used.” We’ll update the story when the data is available.
The Founders Toast – To Bourbon
“This is a very proud moment for Northern Kentucky but I also want to acknowledge the fact, very much so, that we are part of Greater Cincinnati…that’s the point of being here on the bridge, we are one community, working together to increase tourism, to increase the well being of our respective communities,” said Ken Lewis, New Riff Distillery Founder. “The bridge is a great symbol of that cooperation…My toast is about that cooperation and the fact that we are one great community, interested in bourbon tourism and interested in promoting the entire region.”
“This toast is to honor the 150 year old Cincinnati bourbon tradition that New Riff now builds upon. We further raise our glasses standing on this bridge, spanning Kentucky and Ohio to our common effort to embrace bourbon tourism for our entire region. To Northern Kentucky, to Cincinnati to Bourbon. That is might fine bourbon!”
Watch the video below to hear the Big Bourbon Toast in Ken Lewis’s own words.
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Want it on the go? Listen or download highlights from the Big Bourbon Toast Podcast here.
“This is an exciting time for Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. On the Northern Kentucky side, we are 10% of the state’s population; we represent 20% of the state’s tourism. Because of things like this,” said Brent Cooper, President and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Other parts of the state they have bourbon, for sure, but what they don’t have is this. They don’t have lines of folks slapping high fives, celebrating New Riff Bourbon as they are coming in. This is an exciting time for the region. Hotel demand for Northern Kentucky is four times the national average… and Ken Lewis and New Riff Distilling has been a big part of that.”
According to Steve Pendery Judge Executive of Campbell County, Kentucky, “New Riff Bourbon as a product is now the place where economic development and sublime good mental health come together. And I’m looking forward very much to getting better adjusted, not only tonight but in the future with the addition to my diet of New Riff Bourbon.”
New Riff Bourbon Tasting Notes: Butterscotch, Rye Spice, Vanilla and Fruits
This premier New Riff bourbon release is a full-bodied whiskey with a mash bill of 65% corn, 30% rye and 5% malted barley, all non-GMO. It’s high-rye mashbill creates a savory and spicy character. The company says it, “entices with an aroma of butterscotch that rounds into fresh oak, with hints of vanilla and rye spice. On the palate, its broad, fulsome mouthfeel leads to a sweeter vanilla accent, before a melding of clove, cinnamon, mint and dark berries. Its long, rye-led finish is replete with brambly red-black fruits amid white pepper and clove.”
And Oh, That Bottle Design
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the bottle design. Take a close look at the bottle image above or the super close up view below. After patiently waiting four years to age their bourbon New Riff didn’t go with an off the shelf bottle. They are all in with a custom bottle that has a sleek glass forward design just like their distillery. It has their swish logo and the words “BOTTLED IN BOND WITHOUT CHILL FILTRATION” embossed front and center on the glass. It’s sure to stand out on a retail shelf or back bar.
New Riff’s Flagship Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Now Available
The New Riff Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is available throughout August exclusively at the distillery with a limit of one bottle per person. Starting in September it will be widely distributed in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota in spirits retail stores, bars and restaurants. This bottled in bond 100° proof (50% ABV) whiskey has a suggested retail price of $39.99 for a 750 ml bottle.