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Spiritual Journey

Mother-daughter team find niche
with family owned distillery

They opened Jeptha Creed Distillery in November 2016

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (July 2018) – Kentucky’s bourbon culture continues to expand. Jeptha Creed Distillery, located at 500 Gordon Lane in Shelbyville, Ky., is owned by mother and daughter team Joyce, 54, and Autumn Nethery, 24. The distillery is built on the Nethery family’s 64-acre farm and located in an area called Jeptha Knobs, which was named by Daniel and Squire Boone in the 1700s as they trail blazed through Kentucky.
“My husband (Bruce) started out as a dairy farmer, and we still live on that same land,” Joyce Nethery said.
Nethery earned her master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering. She began work as a processing engineer in Rohm and Haas’s distillation unit before branching out independently.
“We wanted to start something for our family that utilized both our skills and that had emphasis on land and soil,” she said. “We wanted to build something for our children where they could have careers and incomes for their future.”

Photo courtesy of
Sarah Jane Sanders

From left, Autumn and mother Joyce Nethery pose at Jeptha Creed Distillery in
Shelbyville, Ky.

That is where the idea of the distillery began, with the family-owned business opening in November 2016. Jeptha Creed Distillery continues to expand. The business owners are working to increase distribution in more locations around the country. They are also anticipating a summer season full of visitors and special events as they continue to build their family business.
Jeptha is unique in its status as a female-owned company. “One of the best parts is how inspiring other people find it. I find it honoring and humbling,” Nethery said.
While Joyce handles management of the distillation process, her daughter, Autumn, is the marketing manager. Autumn oversees the distillery’s website, social media, photography and all retail and distribution aspects.
“She is very, very critical to the distillery,” Joyce said.
At first, this pathway was unexpected for Autumn. “When my family first started the distillery, I was still underage. The plan was for me to go to Scotland to take classes and learn the process of distillation, then come home and help my mom with the production.”
However, when she arrived home, the distillery was in need of someone to oversee marketing and promotion. “I got home, and everyone said, ‘Nope, we need you in marketing,’ ” she said. Autumn added that since her bachelor’s degree was in marketing, the changed role fit her skill set well.
When asked how her transition into marketing manager had been, Autumn said, “We’re expanding into even more and have seen so much growth for such a young company, which is fantastic.”
When glancing into the future, Autumn’s dreams for the distillery continue to grow.

Photo courtesy of
Sarah Jane Sanders

Jeptha Creed Distillery products are made from sources grown on the 64-acre family farm near Shelbyville, Ky.

“Autumn has a marketing plan set for us where we expand to 25 states in five years. She has the plan all laid out, and we have three states already,” Joyce said.
Jeptha Creed’s spirits are currently sold throughout Kentucky, Indianapolis and southern Indiana and Rhode Island. The spirits themselves are as handcrafted and high-quality as possible.
“We use an heirloom variety of corn called Bloody Butcher corn to produce our spirits,” Joyce said. Bloody Butcher corn is non-GMO and openly pollinated, which makes their distillation process sustainable. “This type of corn is known for its old-fashioned and unique flavor profile. It really gives our bourbon especially a beautiful, unique profile.”
The ingredients they use to create Jeptha’s cocktails are often found growing somewhere on their family farm. “We grow our own mint, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and raspberries. We try to grow as much of our raw materials as we can,” Joyce said. “We want things to be as all-natural and local as we can get them.”
She cited their honey vodka in particular, which is flavored by honey made by bees that they keep on their farm. “We’re all about the land,” Joyce said.
Jeptha Creed Distillery currently handcrafts five varieties of spirits: 100 percent vodka, which Joyce said is the only vodka in the world made out of Bloody Butcher corn; naturally-flavored vodka; moonshine; naturally-flavored moonshine; and bourbon. She mentioned that their bourbon is currently in the aging process and will be available for sale in April 2019.
Visitors to Jeptha Creed Distillery will have the opportunity to experience the products at the cocktail bar, where drinks made from these spirits are sold. The distillery also hosts Tours & Tastings, where visitors can sip a cocktail and see exactly how and where Jeptha Creed’s spirits are created.
“One of my favorite parts of working at the distillery is hosting the tastings and seeing people’s faces light up when they try our product,” Autumn said. “There’s such a stigma surrounding flavored vodka, so people are always surprised to taste the difference when they find out ours is flavored naturally.”
The distillery also has an event space for weddings or parties and has a gift shop where guests can purchase Jeptha’s spirits. Jeptha Creed is also open to children, who are permitted to go on tours and try non-alcoholic beverages or handcrafted “mocktails” designed for the underage crowd.
Jeptha is also preparing for a season full of visitors to the distillery. Every Friday throughout the summer, the distillery will play host to “Jammin at Jeptha,” which is a free event with music, food trucks, a cocktail bar and games in the backyard. On the last Friday of the month, Jeptha Creed will play host to larger concerts where visitors must purchase tickets online to attend. Their first of those concerts was on May 25, when Jeptha hosted country music band Parmalee. “It’s just such a nice place to be on a Friday evening,” Joyce said. The distillery usually sees 250-300 attendees on a regular Friday, with bigger events hosting around 500-700 guests.
The distillery also held the Jeptha Games on June 7 as part of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair.
“We wanted to host an event where we could tie bourbon to our Scottish heritage, so we came up with a take on the Scottish Highland Games,” Joyce said. At this event, visitors were able to participate in archery and axe-throwing, enjoy a meal and receive a complimentary bottle of bourbon for participating.

• For more information on the Jeptha Creed Distillery, visit www.jepthacreed.com or their Facebook page. You may also call (502) 487-5007.

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