As many of you probably know, a new distillery is budding on the banks of the Ohio River. Situated at 24 Distillery Way in Newport Kentucky (that’s right, it has its very own street!), New Riff Distillery is the long-awaited addition to the bourbon scene of Greater Cincinnati. With many wonderful establishments such as The Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar, Arnold’s, Wise Guy’s Lounge, Japps Since 1879, and so very many more, the greatest gap in the area’s bourbon offerings was a functioning local distillery. Well, the folks at The Party Source have seen fit to fill that gap with the off-shoot that is New Riff. Brian Sprance, long-time brewer at barrelhouse. Brewing and Sam Adams Brewery, has been tapped as the New Riff Head Distiller. We know what you’re saying, “A Brew Master distilling whiskey!? Unconscionable!” Let us assure you, it makes perfect sense. Decision makers at New Riff wanted to make whiskey in a certain way, and they didn’t want their new Head Distiller to have to unlearn old habits. At the same time, they had a consultant waiting in the wings to provide decades of distilling knowledge gleaned from one of the largest distilleries in the industry. Larry Ebersold was engaged to guide Brian in the finer points of distillation used in the juices that so many other outfits have been purchasing from Seagram’s/LDI/MGP in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. You couldn’t ask for a better pedigree!
Having met Brian some time ago, we immediately had a great deal in common… bourbon, and as our luck would have it,he offered to give us the completetour!Don’t worry, you’ll see it soon enough, as the public grand opening is scheduled for May 7, 2014, and, “OH!” what a grand opening it will be. Brian opted to begin at, well, the beginning, showing us the massive grain bins. These are situated on the west side of the facility, nestled up against Distillery Way. Grain trucks will back in, stopping along-side the bins for unloading. The grain will be moved by conveyor to the milling machine that sports four, dual-roller milling stations to provide a course, medium, and fine mill. Brian was clear, “I believe in treating my ingredients gently. This process does that, but allows us to extract all of the starches from the grain.” Next we were introduced to the 6000 gallon cooker. This will boil the mash and keep it at the optimum temperature. When ready, the mash will be cooled with the distillery’s generous water supply. Don’t jump to conclusions. No pipes were stretched across KY Rte 8 and dropped in the Ohio River. Instead, a 100 foot well was drilled very early in the construction process to access an aquifer directly below the distillery. The well delivers water at a constant, chilly 58° and a perfect ph of 7. Next, the fermenting tanks will be filled with the cooked mash from one of two mash bills, either a 95%/5% Rye/Barley or 70%+/20%+/~10% Corn/Rye/Barley (exact recipes to be determined). When ready, the beer will be piped to a large column still that has been custom built to include many design considerations requested by Larry Ebersold, the merits of which were borne from decades of distilling spirits. In the still room, several holding tanks and recirculation mechanisms makes managing the flow of product far easier than in many traditional distilleries of a similar size and offers great versatility in changing up production runs. Also on site is a 500 gallon pot still that will provide for a variety of experimentation. When asked if New Riff would be likely to market New-Make (or white dog) whiskey, Brian said, “We’ll have New Make available here for tastings, but We won’t be bottling and selling it.” As owner Ken Lewis stated, “The last thing the world needs is another $30 bottle of vodka.” Ken, we couldn’t agree more! Additional inquiry about the final product led us to a question of proof targets, and Brian responded by saying, “We will NEVER chill filter our whiskey. Why spend all the time and money to create wonderful flavors in your whiskey to then spend more time and money to filter them out?” This is a clear statement of affinity for the bolder bourbons and ryes. Wow, we like how this guy thinks!
Included in the property will be two event centers. The second floor indoor center will be well appointed, a perfect space for wine, beer, or whiskey tastings and modest gatherings. The third floor event center boasts a magnificent central bar, outdoor patio areas, column still views, and a fire pit. Yes, you read that right, a fire pit. Additionally, the facility boasts a fully equipped commercial chef’s kitchen for on-site food preparation. Rest assured, all precautions have been taken to provide the latest in safety throughout the facility. These venues will be available for hire, and The Bourbon Guys are more than happy to attend any event at this location that you would like to hold! Seriously, we’ll come! (firstname.lastname@example.org) .
The goal of New Riff Distillery is to be one of the worlds greatest small distilleries. In our opinion New Riff Distillery is on it’s way to achieving this goal in the not to distant future.
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