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Stubbornly Independent
In Pursuit of Great Whiskey

A Note from Our Founder and President

Here at New Riff, we are nothing if not independent spirits. In fact, we might just admit we are downright “cranky” and stubborn on the subject of our independence.  We are 100% Kentucky family owned, by a single family; we have no partners, no investors, no other shareholders.

Sure, it’s been tough at times going alone. But this way we have the freedom to pursue quality with no short term thinking or compromises. Freedom to innovate and collaborate, riff on the old and redefine the new. Pride and passion fuel this place; we pursue our mission to become one of the great small distilleries of the world and freedom from the “strings” and pressures of outsiders who are interested primarily in cash or cashing out is our rocket fuel to make whiskey like it’s the last thing we’ll ever do.

Yes, we’re stubbornly independent. Determined to take the high road, which is usually the hard road, of quality above all else. After all, every bottle we make is a distillation of who we are, a representation of our pride and the incredibly high standards that are part of our DNA. We don’t even have to think about the possibility of letting you down because we would never, never let ourselves fall short of our own incredibly high standards.

As the founder of New Riff, my greatest pleasure has been putting together an amazing team of dedicated, career employees who share my vision that to make great whiskey you have to have a great workplace culture.  Having from inception a brilliant master distiller consultant/teacher on the team, Larry Ebersold, afforded me the luxury to hire people with the “right stuff” from diverse backgrounds and experience outside of the distilling world.  So our head distiller and our logistics manager had extensive brewing/fermentation experience in industrial settings; our general manager ran a west coast non profit (adept at “herding cats”); our sales manager sold high end Italian wine to national accounts, I, myself, was a 40 year retail alcoholic beverage veteran, and so on.

Our minds were open:  eager to learn and yet with the experience and self confidence to carefully innovate all within a work culture that nurtures excellence and the insatiable drive for quality.


Ken Lewis

Founder & President


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