Jeptha Creed Distillery first swung open its doors in November of 2016 and ever since has welcomed visitors from all over the globe with a shared passion for Kentucky bourbon, grain-to-glass ingredients and exclusive experiences. And it’s not just tourists who find a welcoming place to eat, drink and be merry at this Shelbyville craft distillery — friends and neighbors are often saddled up to the bar or enjoying a concert on any given summer night.
That was the Nethery family’s vision from Day 1 — to create a gathering place for all and not just a quick pitstop along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail — and they’ve succeeded with flying colors and flavorful spirits.
If you’re visiting Jeptha Creed for the first time, here are a few things you can expect, as well as some suggestions on what to do in the area. After all, Shelbyville is basically located smack dab in the middle of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, so you can go east toward Lexington to find a handful of distilleries, west toward Louisville to find another bunch, or south toward Bardstown to find even more.
The Jeptha Creed Experience
If you’re visiting the distillery for the first time and want to take a tour, it’s best to book ahead online. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a full tour of the distillery operations is no longer available, but you can choose to do a free tasting experience at the bar or an exclusive Barrel Tasting adventure that takes place inside one of the several rick houses on the property.
The free tasting session allows you to sample several of the products Jeptha Creed currently makes, including flavored moonshines, vodkas, brandy and, of course, the distillery’s first four-grain bourbon release.
The Barrel Tasting adventure is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, as you get whisked away into a private and very cozy rick house to sample a rye whiskey or bourbon straight out of the barrel — from the whiskey thief to your glass — with no filter and no water added. You’ll be entertained by a tour guide who will share stories of the Nethery family and the meaning behind their family motto, “Ne Oublie.”
There’s also a full bar and restaurant on site at the distillery, so guests are encouraged to enjoy a meal and cocktails before or after tours. During the warmer months, there will also be live music held each weekend on the back lawn (pending COVID restrictions).
To book a Barrel Tasting experience at Jeptha Creed, go to www.jepthacreed.com/distillery/
Stay Put: Shelbyville
While Shelbyville is the epitome of small-town Kentucky, there are several things to do here that’ll keep you busy. The Bulleit Distilling Co. is also located here and offers tours and tasting experiences, and there’s even a Kentucky winery located next door to Jeptha Creed called Talon Winery that offers free tastings.
There are also numerous locally-owned restaurants in town, including Claudia Sanders Dinner House, La Cocina de Mama, Cattleman’s Roadhouse and many more.
Go East: Lexington
You’ll find a plethora of bourbon distilleries as you head east toward Lexington, and some of these include names you’ll surely recognize: Wild Turkey, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Woodford Reserve, and Castle & Keyto name a few. You’ll encounter cities like Frankfort, Lawrenceburg and Versailles, and all offer decent dining options along the way.
Once in Lexington, you’ll find many things to explore, including horse farms, a thriving brewery scene, top-notch restaurants, boutique hotels, and even more bourbon distilleries, including Town Branch and James E. Pepper
Check out visitlex.com for more information.
Go West: Louisville
If you decide to head toward Louisville, you’ll find even more bourbon distilleries to visit, including Old Forester, Angel’s Envy, Michter’s, Evan Williams, Rabbit Hole, Peerless, Stitzel-Weller, and Kentucky Artisan. And there’s even a brandy distillery near downtown called Copper & Kings.
Louisville is home to several one-of-a-kind attractions as well, including the Frazier History Museum, which is the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Louisville Slugger Factory, the Muhammad Ali Center, and the Speed Art Museum, among many others. If you’re staying in town, you can also partake in the Urban Bourbon Trail, where you collect stamps in a passport each time you enjoy a bourbon-themed cocktail at one of Louisville’s many participating restaurants and bars.
Check out gotolouisville.com for more information.
Go South: Bardstown
Located about 30 miles south of Louisville, Bardstown is known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World” due to the sheer number of distilleries in the area and its significance in the history of the bourbon industry in Kentucky. The Bardstown area is home to bourbon distilleries like Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, Willett, Bardstown Bourbon Co., Barton 1792, and Lux Row.
Bardstown also offers small-town charm in its many restaurants, bars, shops and historic sites. Some places to check out include the Old Talbott Tavern, My Old Kentucky Home State Park, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, to name a few. Each September, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival is held in Bardstown as well.
Check out visitbardstown.com for more information.