New Riff Red Turkey Wheat

New Riff Launches Limited Red Turkey Wheated Bourbon

October 19, 2021

For Immediate Release – October 19, 2021

Heirloom wheat sourced from esteemed local bakery anchors distillery’s latest unique bourbon

Newport, KY (Oct. 19, 2021) – – – New Riff Distilling announced its latest innovative product, a bourbon made from heirloom Red Turkey Wheat that continues the distillery’s passion for unique mashbills not made anywhere else. The limited release Red Turkey Wheated Kentucky Straight Bourbon will be available in limited quantities throughout New Riff’s home market, Kentucky, this November. For more information, visit

“Just like heirloom tomatoes, heirloom grains offer flavors and aromas that are distinct from — and often simply better than — modern hybridized grain varieties,” said co-founder Jay Erisman. “We enjoy helping to preserve these old grains, but the real reason we do it is for the flavor in the glass. We wondered what wheated bourbon would’ve tasted like 100 years ago, before modern agriculture bred so much flavor out of wheat in exchange for ever-increasing yields and ease of transport and storage.” 

Erisman said Red Turkey has more protein and less starch than modern wheats, decreasing yield but offering a far wider and richer depth of flavors.“To our knowledge, this is the only Kentucky sour mash wheated bourbon produced in modern times from Red Turkey Wheat,” he said. “Wheated bourbon is very popular these days, but with few exceptions it all uses modern hybrid wheat varieties.”

New Riff’s whiskey makers have hunted for heirloom grains since the early years of the distillery, Erisman said, including Balboa Rye and heirloom corn varieties like Yellow Leaming and Blue Clarage. 

In 2016, New Riff reached out to local artisan bread-makers Blue Oven Bakery and asked if they were using any heirloom grains. A partnership formed, with New Riff purchasing Red Turkey Wheat from the bakery. For this first batch of Red Turkey Wheated Bourbon, the wheat was grown in Ohio and sourced from Blue Oven Bakery — and mashed with New Riff’s standard, non-GMO supply of corn and malted barley.

“Every alcoholic beverage ever made begins with a plant,” Erisman said. “We choose to celebrate and save these heirloom grains and the flavors they make — lest they disappear forever.”

The new Red Turkey Wheated Kentucky Straight Bourbon delivers “gristy, grainy, bready” notes on the nose, Erisman said, with a balance of oak and confection, dark fruits and a top citrus note. On the palate, the bourbon is “chewy and remarkably zesty, even citrusy,” with moments of dark stewed fruit. Erisman said it is moderately sweet and well-balanced, with hints of black cherry skin on the finish. He described the finish as “complicated and exceptionally long, zesty and full of grain character” against bright citrus and dark fruit skin.

New Riff Red Turkey Wheat is made with 70% corn, 25% Red Turkey Wheat, 5% malted barley. It is aged at least 5 years and bottled-in-bond at 100 proof at a suggested retail price of $49.99/750mL.

New Riff (Newport, KY):

Kentucky born and urban bred, New Riff is an independently-owned distillery in Northern Kentucky — the gateway to bourbon country. In 2014, founder Ken Lewis, a visionary Kentucky liquor retailer and entrepreneur, saw a need for a new riff on an old tradition when it came to Kentucky bourbon. The Newport, Ky., distillery produces bourbon, rye and Kentucky Wild Gin. Bourbon and rye are made with traditional sour mash methods and bottled-in-bond without chill filtration. Bourbon and rye are also available in single barrel selections, and the distillery boasts a popular private barrel selection program. New Riff sources its water from an aquifer under the distillery, accessed via a 100’ deep private well and providing water with four times as much dissolved minerals than found in other water supplies. New Riff believes in transparency, so all products feature an age statement and the mashbills are public. The modern venue is home to an on-site cocktail and tasting bar, The Aquifer.  


Contact: Tracy Green

[email protected]

(502) 614-5994

Or Jamie Estes

[email protected]

(502) 614-5991

Estes Public Relations

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