Kentucky Peerless Distilling Back From Bourbon Graveyard

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Back From Bourbon Graveyard

Kentucky Peerless Distilling was once the second largest distillery in Kentucky, producing up to 200 barrels of bourbon per day before Prohibition closed it down for decades.  Henry Kraver spent the years after Prohibition selling off his whiskey stockpiles and passing stories of the distillery on to his grandchildren.

Corky Taylor, Kraver’s grandson, grew up with relics and stories from the family distillery.  When he retired, he and his son decided to reopen the family distillery, this time in Louisville, Kentucky to take advantage of the bourbon renaissance happening there.

They were able to apply for and obtain the Kentucky Distilled Spirits Plant Number from the original Peerless Distillery in Henderson, Kentucky- DSP-KY-50.  Numbers are issued in order; Maker’s Mark is 44, Beam is either 14 or 230, depending on the facility.  A lower DSP number gives this brand more credibility, signaling this is a family that was an early player in the distilled spirits business and is now leveraging that reputation to make a comeback.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling

image copyright The Whiskey Wash/Maggie Kimberl

Both Taylor and his son Carson Taylor are working hard to make the new Kentucky Peerless a grain to bottle operation they can be proud of.  They are already selling their Lucky Moonshine – the Cinnamon Fire was sold out the first day – and they’ve barreled a fair amount of rye whiskey as well (expect it to hit shelves in a little over two years).  In fact, when I toured on opening day I remarked they might run out of room for barrel storage within the next couple of years if they operate at capacity – about 24 barrels per day.

The distillery officially opened to the public for tours on June 3.  Tours will be held Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 – 4:00 (Tours at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30) and cost $12 for adults over 18 and $6 for seniors and ages 10-17. Children under 10 and Active Military are free. (Reservations are highly recommended and can be made at (502) 566-4999.)

Kentucky Peerless Distilling

image copyright The Whiskey Wash/Maggie Kimberl

About the author

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 make it in time. Dejected, I went back to the break room and started eating my lunch. The next thing I knew, Rutledge came through the door, saying, "You didn't get to do my tasting!" He sat down and explained how to taste bourbon, the ten recipes of Four Roses, and how it was different than other distilleries. I had liked bourbon before that point, but Jim Rutledge made me care about it. That's the beautiful thing about the bourbon industry- the people love what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Now here we are. :)