Founded in 2014 by liquor store owner–turned bourbon brand founder–Ken Lewis, New Riff is a Northern Kentucky distillery that resides next door to the aforementioned liquor store. In fact, they share a parking lot. After selling the liquor store to his employees, Lewis created a brand that was dedicated to simply making high quality whiskey. Bottled in bond without chill filtration, and focusing on quality ingredients are all staples of New Riff’s ethos. From New Riff’s website:
We are a new riff on an old tradition, that tradition or theme being Kentucky Bourbon. Founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis, a visionary Kentucky liquor retailer and entrepreneur, New Riff is led by a team of corporate refugees ranging from craft beer to politics and more. New Riff crafts a range of whiskeys—Bourbon, Rye, and eventually Malted Rye and a host of specialty recipes—as well as Kentucky Wild Gin. Our mission is simple: to someday be counted among the world’s great small distilleries. Becoming one of the great small distilleries of the world is a long term play, with no exact ring to win, or title to be declared.
I have to take a moment to mention their packaging. The New Riff bottle stands out on the store shelf as much as it does on the bar. The mantra of being a “New Riff on an old tradition” certainly rings true when you glance at this bottle. Very cool.