We are a new riff on an old tradition, that tradition or theme being Kentucky Bourbon. Founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis, a visionary Kentucky liquor retailer and entrepreneur, New Riff is led by a team of corporate refugees ranging from craft beer to politics and more. New Riff crafts a range of whiskeys—Bourbon, Rye, and eventually Malted Rye and a host of specialty recipes—as well as Kentucky Wild Gin. Our mission is simple: to someday be counted among the world’s great small distilleries. Becoming one of the great small distilleries of the world is a long term play, with no exact ring to win, or title to be declared.
We are independently owned by one family, and that independence, the freedom from outside pressures and interests has allowed us to make an unforeseen declaration for quality: for perhaps the first time since the inception of the Bottled in Bond Act in 1897, a Kentucky sour mash whiskey distillery has committed itself exclusively to that quality standard, the world’s highest. And we proudly lift that bar even higher by bottling without chill filtration. We stand behind this combination of classic American entrepreneurship and ingenuity; passion and knowledge born from one of the world’s great spirit regions; and a talented team individually committed to doing things the right way.
We are inspired by the great Bourbon makers of the past and the wider tradition in Kentucky—but we will play our own riff, on the Sour Mash Kentucky Regimen, both with our standard of Bottled in Bond Without Chill Filtration, and through applying that production regimen to wholly new styles of Kentucky whiskey. Yet we also observe the tremendous whiskey history of Greater Cincinnati, and we inhale that rye-rich backstory as well. At the end of the day, despite playing a free hand to improvise and create Kentucky whiskey anew, we uphold above all else the time-honored Sour Mash Kentucky Regimen: we believe it’s a fantastic way to make whiskey, fully the equal of the traditions of the world’s great whiskeys.