Written for The Bourbon Review magazine
Joyce Nethery’s role as a woman master whiskey distiller is unusual enough. But she further breaks the mold since she is often spotted behind the wheel of a large farm tractor pulling a planter. On the farmland behind Jeptha Creed Distillery in Shelbyville, Ky., she’s the person depositing Bloody Butcher corn kernels into the fertile Shelby County clay.
“That we grow all our own heirloom corn, distill it and age the whiskey here makes us a true ground-to-glass distillery,” says Nethery, who co-owns the distillery with husband Bruce and daughter Autumn.
But the potentially self-flattering fact that all Jeptha Creed spirits are ground to glass by way of a lass isn’t a thought she allows to germinate much in her head.
“If I’m really the only woman distiller who does all that, then so much the better,” she says. “Farming keeps me grounded. It’s just what we do.”
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