Go West, Old Brand: Peerless craft distillery extends Whiskey Ro - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Go West, Old Brand: Peerless craft distillery extends Whiskey Row into Portland

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Mayor Greg Fischer, would draw the honor of driving the bung into the ceremonial barrel for the Peerless Distillery at the Portland Gateway on Wednesday.
 
"It takes Whiskey Row past Ninth Street," he said.
 
For a bourbon and rye brand promising “craft” quality.
 
"(120 N. 10th Street) was absolutely perfect for what we needed—the look, the feel," Peerless President Carson Taylor said. "It had the size."

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 To deliver what the fourth and fifth generations of a distiller's family are hopeful will be batches beyond small.
 
"Craft distillers are normally a lot smaller," said Corky Taylor, Carson's father and Peerless' chairman. "They make one, two, three, five barrels a day.  We plan on making at least 10-12 barrels a day."
 
The Taylors are counting on more than business contacts -- the elder Taylor toiled previously in financial services -- to put Peerless on the top shelf.
 
"We have a history in the Bourbon industry that goes back 100 years -- or longer -- with my great-grandfather," Corky Taylor said.
 
That would be the late Henry Kraver. His original Peerless Distillery, in Henderson, was billed as the largest bourbon production operation west of the Green River prior to Prohibition. The corn shortage in World War I prompted Kraver to seek a "medicinal license" in 1917. 
 
Peerless closed shortly after Kraver died in 1938. The revival restores his original production license DSP (Distilled Spirits Plant) No. 50. 

"Those permit numbers are in the five-figures now," the elder Taylor told the ceremonial crowd Wednesday. "We know what our niche is."
 
Peerless will be marketed as a ‘traditional' bourbon, best-served neat, iced, or with water, not as a mixer.
 
"The grains are locally-sourced," Carson Taylor said.

Louisville-based Vendome created the copper still and fermentation vats. Kelvin Cooperage has created the barrels.

The most distinctive difference is that the final product won't be the Kraver (formerly Worsham) original formula, the Taylors said.
 
"We've created a bourbon that will be distinctive," Carson Taylor said.
 
"We feel like we've got a good mash-build," Corky Taylor said. "We're proofing it down so it pulls more flavors out of the barrel."

The first bourbon will be ready in four years. The first rye, in two years. Meanwhile, Peerless has a flavored moonshine called "Lucky." Much of it is stacked in vintage trucks, or "shine-runners."

"It's more appealing to the 21-to-30-year old," Corky Taylor said. "We had to have a product because we are gonna take people on tours. We had to have something for them to taste at the end of the tour.”
 
And to tide them over, Peerless takes Whiskey Row west of the on-and-off ramps at Interstate 64.
 
"We might be off the beaten path here now," Corky Taylor said. "But I'm thinking three or four years, when the bourbon's ready."
 
Added Carson Taylor: "And they put on the extension of Waterfront Park, on the other side of the floodwall."

"You're seeing it with homes, art galleries, coffee shops," Mayor Fischer said. "To  have a bourbon micro-distillery at the gateway of Portland, it sends an investment message, obviously, not just to people in  Louisville but around the world as well."

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