I love it when a plan comes together, whether it be intentional or serendipitous. Every year on June 14 the United States celebrates two uniquely American things, Flag Day and National Bourbon Day. While the first official U.S. flag design dates back to June 14, 1777, it never became an official day until 100 years on June 14, 1877. Now in the case of National Bourbon Day there is no official national holiday, though there should be, there is however a day that marks bourbons official debut in the annals of American history. National Bourbon Day shares the same June 14 day for celebration as flag day.
It was May 4, 1964 that the U.S. Congress declared, “Bourbon Whiskey is a Distinctive Product of the United States and is unlike other types of alcoholic beverages, whether foreign or domestic.” And, despite many people believing that is also the time that bourbon was declared America’s Native Spirit, that didn’t happen for another 43 years. In 2007 the U.S. Senate declared September as National Bourbon Heritage Month. It was that 2007 declaration that said, “Whereas Congress declared bourbon as “America’s Native Spirit” in 1964, making it the only spirit distinctive to the United States;”. You can read the full declaration here.
Now, on to our National Bourbon Day and Flag Day 2023 tale.
Jeptha Creed Distillery in Shelbyville, Kentucky celebrated its grand opening on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2016. Beginning on that day Jeptha Creed honored visiting Veterans and active military by offering them the opportunity to sign their name on an aging barrel of red, white, and blue corn bourbon whiskey. Those three special non-GMO corn varieties are made up of Bloody Butcher Corn, Heirloom White Corn and Bruce’s Blue Corn. After these barrels age for at least 4 years they are dumped, bottled, and placed in the visitor center for purchase. A portion of every bottle sold is donated to a local Veteran organization that directly assists Veterans.
The distillery released their first batch of “Jeptha Creed Red White & Blue Kentucky Straight Bourbon” last year and recognized that the used barrels provided yet another opportunity to honor Veterans. Jeptha Creed has partnered with local Veteran-owned-and-operated business, Cruise Customs Flags, to repurpose the barrels into the largest bourbon barrel American flag ever made.
“We take the star from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty.” — George Washington
Chris Cruise, owner of Cruise Customs, was one of the first individuals to sign a red, white, and blue bourbon barrel in 2017 when he was just starting the company. His company specializes in custom flags produced from repurposed bourbon barrels. Six years after signing an early Jeptha Creed barrel, his company is crafting this large flag including the actual barrel he signed. And if you look close at the new 12-foot by 7-foot flag you’ll find Chris’ signature tucked under the stars.
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This flag will be the biggest American flag ever constructed from bourbon barrels. Cruise takes pride in this opportunity, saying, “It really feels like it’s coming full circle; that we are producing the largest flag ever made from bourbon barrels and it will include a barrel I signed.”
The flag is comprised of five signed barrels and will have shelves to display challenge coins gifted to the Nethery family by various government officials and Veterans that have visited. In addition to the large showpiece, Cruise plans to make several smaller ‘Lieutenant flags’ from the signed barrels, which will be available for purchase in the distillery gift shop and online.
The new Veteran signed and built red, white and blue corn bourbon barrel flag is now on display at Jeptha Creed Distillery.
Incidentally, Cruise says the flag weighs just over 500 lbs., about the same weight as a fully loaded 53-gallon barrel of bourbon whiskey.
Watch as Jeptha Creed and Cruise Flags Debut a 12’x7′ Bourbon Barrel Stave U.S. Flag [VIDEO]
Jeptha Creed Distillery Releasing 5-Grain Red, White, & Blue Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey on Veterans Day
Jeptha Creed Distillery Releases its 1st Bottled-In-Bond Bloody Butcher Corn & Malted Rye Bourbon Whiskey
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