Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company is a testament to the good one man can do. The distillery was founded in the early 1880s, but it wasn’t until 1889 that production truly began to flourish, thanks the vision and leadership of Henry Kraver. Kraver took the small distillery from producing only eight barrels of whisky a day to producing over 200 barrels a day.
That increase in production came about because of Kraver’s investment in additional warehouses and machinery. Kraver also set his eyes on getting U.S. federally bonded under the Bottled-in-Bond act of 1897. That bonding allowed Peerless to stay open throughout Prohibition in the 1920s, when the Peerless warehouses were guarded by armed men from the government.
To say that Peerless has been around a while is a bit of an understatement. The distillery was granted the Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) number 50, a number that it still holds today. To put that in perspective, the number of newly assigned DSP numbers is in the 20,000s. That history has been continued from Kraver down through the family over five generations, coming at last to Kraver’s great-grandson, Corky Taylor, and his son, Carson Taylor.
The Taylors undertook the task of restoring and rebuilding the Peerless distillery in downtown Louisville, where they continue to distil whisky. The distillery is completely state of the art, featuring the latest in distilling technology. In this warehouse, Peerless mills, cooks, and ferments select grains before double-distilling them to be barreled and then bottled as either bourbon or rye whisky.
The distillery uses six fermentation tanks, a 3,800-gallon beer well, and a 26-foot continuous copper brass still. The still is unique to Peerless, and was made by a local company, Vendome Copper and Brass Works. The distillery also houses a 2,500 gallon cooker. Peerless offers tours of their fully automated facility. All of this from the hard work of one man who didn’t give up on his dreams.