On May 10, 2019, Jeptha Creed will be releasing the first batch of their Straight 4-Grain Bourbon, a long-awaited release six years in the making. While the Netherys could have simply contracted, purchased, or sourced a bourbon, they chose instead to create something distinctly their own.
The idea of Jeptha Creed Distillery originated in Bruce Nethery, whose family has been farming in Shelby County Kentucky for five generations. He and his wife Joyce, now Jeptha Creed’s Master Distiller, wanted to start a family owned business that celebrated their farming heritage, highlighted their love of Kentucky, and could pass down to their children Autumn and Hunter. With Joyce’s background in chemistry and distilling, Jeptha Creed was a perfect fit.
In 2013, the Nethery family began growing the grains needed to begin distilling their spirits. Many distilleries put the focus on the wheat or rye components of their mash bill, but since bourbon is always at least 51% corn, the Netherys wanted to be thoughtful about selecting their corn. The idea of using an heirloom varietal came from Joyce, who had been experimenting with heirloom vegetables in her own garden. As a test, they grew one field of Bloody Butcher corn, and one field of non-GMO yellow corn. When fall came and the corn ripened, they noticed an intriguing behavior from the local wildlife: animals would walk through the yellow corn fields to reach the Bloody Butcher corn, eating the crimson kernels and sleeping among the yellow. The Netherys knew they had made a key discovery for the future of Jeptha Creed.
The Netherys traveled to Wisconsin in 2014 to distill some test batches of bourbon. In addition to the Bloody Butcher corn, they wanted to test different levels of rye, wheat, and barley for their mash. Due to a delivery accident, all three of these grains arrived at the Wisconsin distillery malted. It was a lucky mistake: the Netherys tasted the bourbon made from the mash of malted grains and knew they’d landed on something special.
It was also in 2014 that Jeptha Creed began to take shape: land was found, zoning permits were secured, and the Netherys began constructing a bridge to cross the creek from the interstate to the future home of Jeptha Creed. A year later the Netherys broke ground on the future home of Jeptha Creed Distillery. Construction began on the barns and buildings soon after. In August of 2016, Jeptha Creed distilled and barreled the first legal barrel of bourbon in Shelby County since before Prohibition. By October of that year they had begun distilling in earnest, with two barrels of bourbon heading into the warehouse to age each day.
Jeptha Creed finally opened to the public on November 11, 2016, offering original and honey vodka, and original and lemonade moonshine. In 2017 apple and blueberry vodka, as well as apple pie moonshine and blackberry moonshine were added to the offerings. All the while, their unique bourbon was being barreled and stored, aging to perfection. In February of 2019, they barreled their one thousandth barrel of bourbon, and Jeptha Creed is now producing nine barrels of bourbon per day.