When you’re a startup, there are a lot of firsts. The first day you signed a contract to buy the land, the first day you placed an order for your stills, the first day you submitted your TTB paperwork and the first day you re-submitted your TTB paperwork! But, there’s probably no better day then the first day you fill your first barrel of Bourbon. And then there will be that historic first day two years from now when you actually dump, filter, bottle, label and sell your first bottle of bourbon, that will be a big day too. I intentionally left out the word taste because you know you will be sampling the spirits in that barrel constantly throughout those two to four years.
The cover image features from left to right, Jeptha Creed Distillery Founder Joyce Nethery, Marketing Manager Autumn Nethery and Head Distiller Kevin Coffey.
Startup Jeptha Creed Distillery in Shelbyville, Kentucky is doing things the old fashioned way from seed to glass. They are building their own distillery and barrel barns, growing their own corn not just any corn but a vintage 1845 bloody butcher heirloom corn and distilling their own spirits from scratch from the start.
1st (Legal) Barrel of Bourbon Filled and Bunged Since Prohibition
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Using a four grain mash bill including their homegrown Bloody Butcher Corn, they cooked, fermented, and distilled in their 500 gallon Vendome Copper & Brass Works pot still. They are now the first distillery to legally fill a barrel of bourbon in Shelby County, Kentucky since Prohibition. That’s a pretty big deal for a location that sits almost smack dab in the middle of the route between Frankfort and Louisville. They will soon have some company as other distillers start operations but, they can now claim to be the first in more than 100 years.
City Officials Fill and Bung the 1st Barrel
The first barrel was filled by Shelby County Judge Executive Rob Rothenburger and the bung was hammered by Shelbyville Mayor Thomas Hardesty. You can watch the marque event in the video below.
A Model for Distillery Startups
Jeptha Creed is not open to the public yet but will be soon and it’s a distillery you should put on your bucket list to visit. Once the distillery is fully operational they will make three bourbons, three moonshines and three vodkas, all made from grain to glass.
According to Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association the family has already been very active with the association. They could not officially be a member of the association until they made their first spirits and that step has now been accomplished. We’ll be watching for an official announcement on that soon.
In a recent conversation with Gregory he said, “Jeptha Creed is doing things right. They will be a model for distillery startups.“
That’s pretty high praise from an industry veteran.