Jefferson’s Bourbon Has Found Its Home At KAD

Jefferson’s Bourbon is a brand started by Louisville, Kentucky native Trey Zoeller in 1997.  While the brand hasn’t had a home until very recently, they have managed to buy some pretty impressive barrels of bourbon over the years, making it a favorite among brand loyalists.  Now, they have found a home out at the Kentucky Artisan Distillery out in Crestwood, Kentucky.

Kentucky Artisan Distillery opened in 2012 after Brown-Forman alum Steve Thompson had the idea to help people “bottle their dreams.”  In today’s whiskey market, everyone wants to get in on the action and build their own brand, but building a distillery takes time.  If you can get someone to contract distill for you, then you can focus on building your brand.  You can decide later whether to build your own distillery.

jeffersons Collage Now that Jefferson’s has partnered with KAD, many of the Jefferson’s products are being bottled and batched there.  The recent Manhattan bottling and the new Groth were aged there and sent elsewhere to be bottled.  While a significant portion of the distillation at KAD – 500 of the yearly 1,000 barrels – will go toward Jefferson’s, Jefferson’s will still source whiskey from other distilleries.  The rye and corn for the operation are grown at nearby Waldeck Farm.

Master Distiller Tripp Stimson has recently expanded distillation from five to seven days, and added a fourth still in order to meet demand.  They are currently using commercial yeast, but plan to transition to a proprietary strain as the operation continues to grow.  Construction is well underway for a maturation warehouse right down the road, as the operation has outstretched its original space.

Perhaps the biggest change at KAD since Jefferson’s came on board is that they are now offering tours of the facility.  There are lots of interesting things to see that will delight your inner bourbon geek, such as the original Old Forester still from after Prohibition, the original Early Times still from after Prohibition, and a plethora of old bottles and decanters you just don’t see that often anymore.  Tours are given Wednesday through Saturday from 10-2 for $5, and that includes a souvenir rocks glass.

The Whiskey Wash will continue to keep tabs on the progress of both KAD and the Jefferson’s brand as the partnership grows.


Maggie Kimberl

One night during Derby week, I was working in the liquor store while Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge was doing a tasting. I kept trying to make my way over to talk to him, but we were super busy (did I mention it was Derby week?) and I didn't...