New Riff Distillery Joins the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

NEWPORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that New Riff Distillery has joined the 134-year-old trade group and will be the newest member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® when the distillery officially opens next week.

Located near downtown Cincinnati across the Ohio River, New Riff is the creation of Ken Lewis, former president of the Wine and Spirits Guild of America and former owner of The Party Source, one of the country’s largest and most prominent retail package stores.

New Riff Distilling

“Ken has built a first-class operation and assembled a great team of distilling and whiskey experts,” said Joe Fraser, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors. “They are a welcome addition to our organization, our growing craft industry and flourishing tourism adventure.”

New Riff is the KDA’s 19th member, 11th craft member and ninth member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® that features the state’s growing micro-distilling industry, said Fraser, who is Vice President of Operations at Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.

New Riff, located at 24 Distillery Way, will offer free on-site tours and educational programs, as well as an event center and rooftop garden for meetings and private gatherings. A main architectural attraction is the gleaming all-copper, 60-foot column still encased in glass.

Lewis, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the spirits industry, said brands will include a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey sourced from local grains, rye whiskey and gin. Brian Sprance, former Sam Adams brewer, will be the head distiller.

“We have a great respect for the Bourbon and the distillers who have come before us,” Lewis said. “So for us, this venture is not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about creating our own sound.

“New Riff Distillery is where the shared passions for spirits, collaboration and creating the unexpected will intertwine, and where new time-honored traditions are born. We are urban with old roots, bringing our own ‘new riff’ to Kentucky’s legendary Bourbon tradition.

“We are both honored and excited about joining the KDA and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. Many of its members have been our advisors, confidants and role models for years. We’re ready to get distilling.”

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Adam Johnson, Director of the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences, said the craft program has boosted tourism numbers significantly as people discover the new boutique distilleries stretching from Marshall County to Maysville.

Nearly 62,000 people visited a Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® distillery in 2013.

“It’s exciting to see the growth and popularity of our craft distillers and their innovative brands,” he said. “New Riff will be a perfect partner in this endeavor. We respect their passion and commitment to be one of the world’s greatest craft distilleries.”

The KDA created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® in 2012. Participating distilleries include Barrel House, Corsair Artisan, Limestone Branch, MB Roland, Old Pogue, Silver Trail, Wilderness Trail and Willett. Go to for more information.

KDA President Eric Gregory said, “We are extremely proud of our craft members and their growth in our industry and our local communities. They are the next generation of our timeless craft and are committed to upholding the high standards and traditions of Kentucky Bourbon.

“We congratulate New Riff on its opening, and we look forward to working with them and our craft partners to secure the integrity of our iconic industry and keep Kentucky the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon.”