Peerless Overcomes Challenges to Launch First Bourbon in 100 Years

Peerless Overcomes Challenges to Launch First Bourbon in 100 Years

Unveiling the Peerless Distilling Co. Legacy

You might be familiar with the bourbon boom in the bluegrass state of Kentucky, but the story behind one particular distillery’s 100-year hiatus from bourbon production is anything but commonplace. We’re talking about Peerless Distilling Co, a distillery known for taking the road less traveled; or, as they would call it, “the path of most resistance.”

The production of their first bourbon in a century has led to an intriguing journey that has been marred by stubbornness, determination, and unfathomable passion. The story is a beautiful narrative about a family’s dedication to authenticity, history, and the spirit of bourbon itself.

Beginning of the Legacy

The path of most resistance began back in the late 1800s when Henry Kraver, a businessman, breathed life into Peerless distillery. His dedication and entrepreneurial spirit led to the distillery’s growth from producing eight to two hundred barrels a day. In 1917, due to the onset of World War I and the enactment of the 18th Amendment, the distillery ceased production and subsequently shuttered in the 1920s during Prohibition.

The Revival

Almost 100 years later, Kraver’s great-grandson Corky Taylor, along with his son Carson, decided to resurrect the dormant Peerless Distilling brand. Straying away from the trend of sourcing whiskey and claiming it as their own, Taylor family determined to create whiskey the hard way. This meant aging the spirits naturally, skipping the tempting shortcuts, and making no compromises over quality.

The Journey to Peerless Bourbon

The Taylors started by producing rye whiskey, marking their immediate comeback in the local distilling scene. Corky had fond memories of Kraver’s tales about rye from his childhood. Thus, in defiance of market trends, the first product they released after their reopening in 2015 was a rye spirit.

Defying Industry Norms

Peerless Distilling Co. used the sweet mash process instead of the industry-standard sour mash, proving that they weren’t afraid to embrace their idiosyncrasies. They also pronounced to use a strictly no chill filtration method and barrel proof bottling to retain the flavors and nose of their spirits.

Embracing ‘The Path of Most Resistance’

In 2017, two years after distilling their first batch of rye, they surprised the whiskey world by aging their product for just two years. Despite industry critics, they proved that a youthful whiskey could stand tall among many well-aged counterparts. Their rye was distinctive, flavorful, and went on to secure innumerable accolades.

Return to Bourbon

While their rye whiskey was garnering accolades, the Peerless team had quietly started crafting bourbon—their first in over a century. In 2019, they introduced their inaugural straight bourbon, a 3-year-old spirit brimming with rich, smooth flavors. As with their rye, it was a bold testament to their dedication to quality over quantity, tradition over expedience.

Promising Future

Despite their successful return to the distilling scene, the team at Peerless Distilling Co. has no intention of resting on their laurels. They’re committed to maintaining their tradition and look forward to future exploration in distilling. Undoubtedly, their path of most resistance has been a successful narrative of defying norms and embracing heritage.


The story of Peerless Distilling Co. isn’t just about making bourbon—it’s about history, family, and courage. In a landscape steeped in time-honored tradition and convention, Peerless chose to tread a path of resistance and uniqueness, subsequently carving out a niche for themselves in the bourbon industry. As the distillery continues to build on its legacy, one thing is clear: their path of resistance, one that values quality and authenticity over shortcuts or quick wins is a path worth toasting to!

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Written by Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis has been writing about spirits for over 10 years. He is a frequent speaker at whiskey festivals and events around the country and has been a judge at several international spirit competitions. He is passionate about educating people about the history and culture of whiskey and bourbon and loves to share his knowledge with others.

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