KO Distilling Launches Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey

MANASSAS, Va. — Just in time for holiday gifting, KO Distilling today unveiled its third brown spirit – Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Hand crafted from local Virginia corn, wheat and malted barley, the bourbon is aged for two years in charred new American Oak barrels sourced from a cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey (45% ABV, SRP $41.19) joins the rest of the KO portfolio of aged spirits, which includes Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey (aged 12 months) and Bare Knuckle American Rye Whiskey (aged 18 months).

“Our small-batch bourbon is definitely a “knockout” spirit,” said Co-Founder Bill Karlson. “The corn, wheat and malted barley give it a smooth, delicious flavor. It is spectacular neat, on the rocks, in any classic bourbon cocktail, such as a Mint Julep or Whiskey Sour, or in a fun holiday drink such as a Maple Bourbon Egg Nog.”

Inspired by courage, strength, fortitude, and using your hands to get things done, the Bare Knuckle branding is a play on KO – “Knock Out.”  The bottle labels feature historic fighting figures, such as African-American world heavyweight champion Jack G. Johnson on Bare Knuckle American Rye Whiskey and Irish-American fighter Jimmy Gardner who is depicted on the label of Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey.  Gracing the label of KO’s newest release is early 20th-century U.S. champion fighter Mary “Texas Mamie” Donovan.

“The imagery and the text on the bottle label celebrate life, not violence,” said Karlson. “The Bare Knuckle brand is about winning, advancing and prevailing in life and in your craft. For ages, women, like men, have battled for family, to make a living, for rights and just causes. For all of those women who work hard every day, we salute you and are proud to feature an American female fighter on our bottle.”

KO sources its wheat, corn, rye and malted barley to make small batch whiskeys from local farms. In so doing, it supports a “grain-to-glass” concept for its spirits, similar to the “farm-to-table” food model for restaurants. This helps small businesses in the area work together to support the local economy. “We’re all about helping local small businesses, and sourcing our grains from Virginia farms allows all of us to work together to support the local economy,” said Co-Founder and Head Distiller John O’Mara.

Today, the KO Distilling portfolio includes three American-style gins and four-small batch American whiskeys:

  • Battle Standard 142 Gin (Navy Strength) (114 proof) (750ml $34.99)
  • Battle Standard 142 Gin (Standard Strength) (90 proof) (750ml $29.99)
  • Battle Standard 142 Gin (Barrel Finished) (90 proof) (750ml $36.09)


  • Virginia Moon White Whiskey — unaged (90 proof) (750ml $34.99)
  • Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey – aged at least 12 mos. (90 proof) (750ml $35.99)
  • Bare Knuckle American Rye Whiskey – aged at least 18 mos. (90 proof) (750ml $45.99)
  • Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey – aged at least 2 years (90 proof) (750ml $41.19)

About KO Distilling

Founded by long-time friends and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy classmates Bill Karlson, “K” and John O’Mara, “O”, KO Distilling is a craft producer of clear unaged spirits, including three gins and a white whiskey, and aged small-batch whiskeys. Produced in Manassas, Virginia, at a state of the art distillery, KO spirits are currently available at retail outlets in Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware, as well as package stores for the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard.  For more information about the craft distillery, go to www.kodistilling.com.