Green River Distilling Co has announced the launch of its flagship Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Aged more than five years, this is the first Green River bourbon to hit shelves in more than a century and comes on the heels of the distillery’s historic revival in September 2020.
Green River Distilling Co. was founded in 1885 by John W. McCulloch. Green River Whiskey received a variety of international awards, including a gold medal and “best of show” at the Paris Exposition in 1900, and later a grand prize at the 1905 Liege Exposition in Belgium. It was also known as “The Whiskey Without Regrets.”
Fire and Prohibition relegated Green River to history. Now, more than 100 years later, history has come full circle with the release of the new Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Today’s Green River bourbon was distilled by Master Distiller Jacob Call, an eighth-generation distiller and Kentuckian. Call’s family distilling history stretches back to the earliest days of bourbon when his ancestor Samuel Call distilled whiskey on his Kentucky farm in the late 1700s.
“For the first time in more than 100 years, Green River bourbon is flowing inside the walls of its original home,” said Call. “As someone with a family connection to the first days of Kentucky bourbon, being a part of the revival of such a legendary whiskey has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Pre-Prohibition, Owensboro was an epicenter of bourbon production in Kentucky with more than 20 distilleries in the city. Green River was one of the most important, and its rebirth helps bring the city’s rich bourbon heritage back to life.
“Visiting the Green River distillery in Owensboro is like stepping back in time to earlier days of bourbon production in the United States,” said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. “Many bourbon lovers don’t realize that Owensboro and Western Kentucky were among the most important regions for bourbon production in the 1800s. When you’re standing on the Green River campus, you’re standing on hallowed ground.”
Each bottle of today’s Green River bourbon includes the phrase “The Pride of Owensboro” to pay homage to the city and its bourbon legacy.
“I’m proud of our team’s great work bringing Green River back to life in Owensboro after years of dormancy – not only because of what it means to our company, but what it means for this wonderful city,” said Simon Burch, CEO of Green River Distilling Co. “In its heyday, Green River’s success was intrinsically linked to Owensboro’s proud whiskey making heritage. The revival of the brand will make this true once again, and we plan to sell it far and wide, just like the original Green River.”
Burch worked closely with John’s great-grandson Rob McCulloch to revive the Green River brand. “We’re so grateful to Rob for sharing his family’s history with us, and it’s a privilege to continue to build on the legacy that John McCulloch created,” said Burch.
On the revival, Rob McCulloch said, “I’ve always wanted to see Green River whiskey made at its original location in Owensboro. It completes the story my great-grandfather started in 1885.”
Bottled at 45% ABV, Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has been aged more than five years. It is rich in color with an amber hue and made with all Kentucky-grown corn, most from Daviess County. The mash bill is 70% corn, 21% winter rye, and 9% malted 2 and 6-row barley. The higher rye content results in a bourbon with warming spice notes on the nose and palate. Additional aromatic notes include cinnamon, dried cherry, and light leather. On the palate, it offers cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and chocolate mint. The finish is rich, thick, and lingering.
The new Green River bottle design took cues from the brand’s past, including key icons like horseshoes, rivets, and the original Green River colors. “We worked with local historians and spent time in museums and Owensboro libraries to immerse ourselves in the Green River pre-Prohibition world,” said Cathy Steen, Chief Commercial Officer. “We had a wonderful archive that inspired us to think about how the brand design would have organically evolved for today’s bourbon fans.”
A limited release of Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey will be available for purchase at select retail locations in Kentucky for $34.99.
For more information, head over to the distillery’s official website.