How do you go from one of the largest liquor stores ever to owning a distillery? Well, lots and lots of money of course. This week Jim and I had a chance to sit down with Jay Erisman and discuss New Riff’s rise to success in the whiskey world. I watched that rise over the last several years and got to see if rise from the ground up when I was stationed in Cincinnati with the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Just down the street from New Riff is a gym that I belonged to. As I would drive past The Party Source liquor store every day I noticed that there was construction going on in their massive parking lot. Yes this store is the size of a small Walmart or Kmart. At first I thought it was an addition to the levee that runs along side the parking lot to keep the roaring Ohio River out but as the construction went on I could see that I was wrong.

It turned out that Jay and his business partner were laying the foundation for a new distillery that one day would produce some very fine whiskies. Once the distillery was built they still needed some whiskey to sell while their own aged, so they came out with the famous OKI brand. Why not, just down the river was MGP and they had snagged one of the Master Distillers from the former Seagram’s Distillery to help them launch. Why not the whiskey that he had so skillfully crafted.

OKI was a hit, but the stocks they bought are all gone and the brand itself was sold off earlier this year. I wish I had bought a lot more of it when it first came out. I just didn’t know enough about whiskey or bourbon back in 2014. What has replaced the OKI brand is still something truly amazing. A high rye bourbon and a 100% rye whiskey that will add some spice to your life while still giving you that sweetness you craved from the candy store as a kid. Right now they are the popular kid on the block and it will be fun to see where they go from here as those barrels they put away are pulled out and are put into bottles for us whiskey nerds to enjoy.

Jim and I are fortunate enough to get to experience that first hand and we can’t wait. Until then grab that glass, a bottle of New Riff and pour that spicy amber goodness, listen as The Bourbon Road takes a trip to Northern Kentucky on the banks of the mighty Ohio River to visit a very new take on an old profession at New Riff Distillery. Cheers

Mike (Big Chief)