New Riff Logo

New Riff Unveils Dual Release of Rare Heirloom Bourbon Whiskeys 

April 27, 2023

Award-winning distillery continues historic, regional heirloom exploration

Newport, KY (April 27, 2023) – – – New Riff Distilling has announced the dual release of two new heirloom grain bourbon whiskeys, Yellow Leaming and Blue Clarage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys. The Ohio Valley heirloom varietal whiskeys will be available later this spring in limited quantities at the distillery’s Aquifer Tasting Bar, through Kentucky retailers and New Riff’s Whiskey Club. For more information, visit 

Both bottled in bond without chill filtration at 100 proof, the Yellow Leaming and Blue Clarage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys were distilled from rare, regional heirloom corn crops and finely crafted into equally rare bourbons, introducing unprecedented flavors and connecting the distillery to its agricultural origins of whiskey making from centuries passed.  

“The wider whiskey industry is waking up to the possibilities and flavors inherent of old grains, old ingredients from a century ago,” said co-founder Jay Erisman. “Heirloom grains are a direct ticket to different flavors, yet of great authenticity and reality. We are proud to do our part to preserve the past while continuing to highlight our brand’s commitment to industry-leading innovation.” 

Originally a derivative of a Native American corn dating back to 1824, the Yellow Leaming heirloom varietal used in this latest exploration was entirely sourced and grown for New Riff by a local farming partner, Charles Fogg, of Greensburg, Indiana.  

“Yellow Leaming, one of the greatest corns in American agricultural history would eventually go on to form the basis for the standard of modern American yellow dent corn, and it came from right here in Hamilton County, Greater Cincinnati, Ohio,” Erisman said. 

The Ohio Valley Blue Clarage varietal, developed in the 1920s by farmer Edmund Clarridge in Clinton County, Ohio, birthed the second heirloom grain release from a more circuitous route to the distillery, lending a marked difference to the whiskey compared to New Riff’s standard recipe, replete with fruited, spicy tones.  

“We were given 150 pounds of the blue corn as seed stock from farmer Tony West at Appalachian Heirloom Plant Farm,” Erisman said. “Charles Fogg took this seed stock and grew it into a crop that sustained our singular production of this whiskey for years. Often associated with the Southwest United States region and Mexico, blue corn comes from right here in our homeland in the Ohio Valley, too.” 

The heirloom Yellow Leaming corn, at five years of age, has led to a classic New Riff high-rye bourbon of exceptional depth and balance. For the heirloom Blue Clarage corn, Erisman describes the nose as “providing an extra layer of fruitiness, juxtaposed against the clove-led spices of the 30% rye grain.”

The Yellow Leaming Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made with 65% heirloom Yellow Leaming corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. The Blue Clarage Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made with 65% heirloom Blue Clarage corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley. Both whiskeys are aged five years with a suggested retail price of $55.99. All sales will be limited to two bottles per purchase, a maximum of one product each per purchase, and must be picked up in person at the distillery within 60 days of purchase. 

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 hosts a variety of events and offers an on-site bar, The Aquifer. 


Media Contact:

Tracy Green 

[email protected] 

(502) 614-5994 

Or Aubrey Stemle 

[email protected] 

(502) 614-5997 

Estes Public Relations 

More on Facebook | Twitter 

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly