JK Williams Distilling Launches Its First Wheat Whiskey

By Gary Carter / September 17, 2021

Illinois-based JK Williams Distilling recently announced it is releasing two new spirits, including its first American Wheat Whiskey, which will kick off the distillery’s Bridge Series.

In addition to honoring the Murray Baker Bridge in its hometown of Peoria, the distillery said the series is also a way to celebrate recipes that bootlegger JK Williams created more than a century ago, this while moving toward the future of JK Williams Distilling.

“Each expression in The Bridge Series will consist of a blend between products we’ve kept in barrels over the years with a newer American wheat whiskey,” said Jeff Murphy, JK Williams’ head distiller in a prepared statement. “We’re bridging the gap between old and new with this series, all while we wait for our other products to continue to age.”

JK Williams The Bridge Series: American Wheat Whiskey

JK Williams The Bridge Series: American Wheat Whiskey (image via JK Williams)

The distillery will also release its first clear spirit in Blueprint Vodka, an 80 proof spirit that showcases the Peoria skyline and a blueprint of a local bridge.

“We’re continuing to honor the heritage and rich history of Peoria, Illinois,” said JK Williams President Andy Faris. “Everything we do ties back to a deeper story and furthers our goal of bringing the art of distilling back to the area.”

JK Williams Distilling is the oldest craft distillery in the Greater Peoria area. The brand can trace its roots back to famed Prohibition-era distiller J.K Williams, who made whiskey in Peoria, an area known for its high-quality grains and plentiful water source.

Through Prohibition and subsequent years, Williams’ century-old recipe was passed on to generations of descendants. Current owners Andy Faris and Stacy Shunk Faris look to honor the Williams family tradition with the release of Gold Zephyr Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Stormy River High Rye Whiskey, crafted under Murphy.

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JK Williams’ Distiller’s notes:

The Bridge Series: American Wheat Whiskey is a 95% wheat whiskey with a nose that offers vanilla, cinnamon, and toffee, bringing forward the caramel, vanilla, and honey notes in the flavor. This whiskey has a medium finish with warm chocolate and spiced fruit. It clocks in at 94 proof. The Bridge Series retails for $49.99 and will be available for purchase at select Illinois retailers. The first iteration of the series is an American wheat whiskey and is the third product JK Williams Distilling has released since initially launching in the fall of 2020.

Blueprint Vodka: Distilled six times and then carbon filtered, Blueprint is a crisp vodka that has a clean nose with hints of lemon peel. The flavor is crisp and clean with a creamy mouthfeel. The finish is smooth and citrusy.