Louisville Magazine

AUG 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.18 119 We've Got Spirits By Jenny Kiefer / Photos by Jessica Ebelhar Joyce Nethery says her distill- ery exists because she wanted a good-tasting tomato. "e kind that I just ate straight off the vine in my mother's garden," says Nethery, now the CEO and master distiller of Shelbyville's Jeptha Creed, which opened in 2016. Her search for a non-grocery-store tomato led her down a gardening hole. She attempted to grow her own tomatoes until she discovered the succulent flavor of heirloom varieties, which eventually led her to an heirloom corn called Bloody Butcher — a sweet, nutty variety dating to 1845 whose white kernels slowly speckle into a deep red as it dries. In an early crop, she watched wildlife creep through an adjacent field of yellow corn to feast on the good stuff, the Bloody Butcher. Rounding a corner toward the distill- ery reveals 10 acres of stalks standing like a wall next to the road. Nethery grows another 240 acres on the family's home farm on the Jeptha Knob in Shelbyville. e non-GMO, open-air-pollinated crop, along with water, are the only ingredients in the distillery's flagship vodka, 60 times distilled through a two-story column still. Jeptha Creed also uses the corn to make moonshine, which is distilled in a traditional pot still with a thumper. is is all part of Jeptha Creed's "ground to glass" concept: planting the corn, harvesting the corn, distilling with the corn, feeding spent grains back to livestock, fertilizing the fields — repeat. e result is a "sipping vodka," with slightly nutty flavors from the corn and no back-of-the-throat burn. e shelves of the distillery gift shop are lined with color, like a deep-hued vodka infused with fresh blueberries. Pulp sits in the bottom of the jar of lemonade moon- shine, floating like glitter in a snow globe if disturbed, the remnants of an infusion with two cases of hand-peeled and juiced lemons. e flavored moonshines are smooth and sweet — a dangerous combo. "We wanted to build (the business) for our children," says Nethery, who runs the distillery with her daughter, Autumn, the marketing manager. (Autumn decided she wanted to distill when she was 18 and spent a year in Scotland learning the trade because she was not legally able to do so in the U.S.) Nethery's background is in chemical engineering. "If you're distilling, the principles are the same," she says. "It's just that (spirits) are a lot more fun. A lot tastier." Jeptha Creed currently makes vodka and moonshine and has lines of experimental whiskeys aging in barrels. "As we look back at the last 50 years, whiskey and bourbon was hot, and then it's not, and now it's back. ere's probably going to be some cycling as time goes on," she says. "I wanted my children to have From left: Cosmopolitan made with apple-flavored vodka; Bloody Butcher corn; Autumn Nethery with mom Joyce at Jeptha Creed in Shelbyville. Distilleries go beyond bourbon.

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