A Bourbon Legacy Revived As Green River Debuts Its Namesake Whiskey

| February 15, 2022

Green River Distilling is the 10th oldest distillery in the bourbon making state of Kentucky. It was founded back in 1885 by one John W. McCulloch, who, it is said, traveled the world to promote Green River Whiskey. Fire and Prohibition eventually relegated this brand to history but now, after 100 years, it has been revived as the new Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

The new Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, according to those behind it, is being produced at the Green River Distilling facility in Owensboro, Kentucky, and comes on the heels of the distillery’s historic revival in September 2020. The bourbon itself is aged over five years, having been distilled from a corn (70%)/rye (21%)/barley (9%) mash bill and bottled at 45% ABV.

“For the first time in more than 100 years, Green River bourbon is flowing inside the walls of its original home,” said Master Distiller Jacob Call, an eighth-generation distiller and Kentuckian, in a prepared statement. “As someone with a family connection to the first days of Kentucky bourbon, being a part of the revival of such a legendary whiskey has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (image via Green River Distilling)

Pre-Prohibition, it is said, Owensboro was an epicenter of bourbon production in Kentucky with more than 20 distilleries in the city. Green River was seen as one of the most important, and its rebirth helps bring the city’s rich bourbon heritage back to life. Each bottle of today’s Green River bourbon includes the phrase “The Pride of Owensboro” to pay homage to the city and its bourbon legacy.

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“I’m proud of our team’s great work bringing Green River back to life in Owensboro after years of dormancy – not only because of what it means to our company, but what it means for this wonderful city,” said Simon Burch, CEO of Green River Distilling Co. “In its heyday, Green River’s success was intrinsically linked to Owensboro’s proud whiskey making heritage. The revival of the brand will make this true once again, and we plan to sell it far and wide, just like the original Green River.”

Burch worked closely with John’s great-grandson Rob McCulloch to revive the Green River brand. “We’re so grateful to Rob for sharing his family’s history with us, and it’s a privilege to continue to build on the legacy that John McCulloch created,” said Burch.

On the revival, Rob McCulloch said, “I’ve always wanted to see Green River whiskey made at its original location in Owensboro. It completes the story my great-grandfather started in 1885.”

A limited release of Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey will be available for purchase at select retail locations in Kentucky in February for around $35. In the coming months it will also be rolling out to select retailers in Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, and Northwest Florida.

Official tasting notes are below.

  • Aroma: Cinnamon, dried cherry, light leather.
  • Flavor: Warming spice, vanilla, caramel, chocolate mint
  • Finish: Lingering, rich mouthfeel


Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...