Father and son revive historic Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.

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Corky Taylor and his son, Carson, made a dream come true Thursday as they announced the reopening of the Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. in Louisville’s downtown at the corner of 10th and Main streets.

Peerless Distilling, which began doing business in Henderson, Ky., in the late 1800s under the ownership of Corky Taylor’s great-grandfather, Henry Kraver, and closed mid-20th century, is scheduled to reopen by March 2014. Initially, the company will bottle and sell its moonshine product as it works toward developing a 4-year old Peerless bourbon, and ultimately, a premium, small-batch bourbon to be branded “Henry Kraver.”

Peerless Distilling began doing business in Henderson, Ky., in the late 1800s under the ownership of Corky Taylor’s great-grandfather, Henry Kraver, and closed mid-20th century. It is scheduled to reopen by March 2014.

The elder Kraver, a 20th century banker and businessman, owned businesses such as Peerless Distilling (formerly Worsham Distilling), movie theatres and hotels in Henderson and the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. He was able to keep his distillery going during Prohibition by obtaining a federal license to provide whiskey for “medicinal purposes.” Kraver died in 1938 and the business closed shortly afterward.

Peerless’ new headquarters will feature a continuous copper still, handmade by Kentucky firm Vendome Copper and Brass, and its own bottling line. Plans call for the operation to be open to the public and include a gift shop for bourbon and moonshine-related products.

“We’ve reached back through our generations to help us establish and grow a quality business for the future generations of our family,” Corky Taylor said. “We are committed as a family to making a product that we will always be proud of and that Louisville will be proud of, too. We are building a business for the long-term.”

The company, which is being privately financed by the Taylor family, is expected to create five to 10 new jobs in its first year.

“It is exciting to see our bourbon distilling base grow,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Peerless says it all when it comes to our position in the bourbon market, and the history and commitment of the Taylor family adds that extra element of interest that makes this operation and our city such unique and vital destinations.”

Both Corky and Carson Taylor will be involved in the day-to-day operations of the revived distillery. Corky just recently retired from a career in the financial services industry and Carson is a professional in the homebuilding industry.

“We’re excited about bringing this dream to fruition,” Carson said. “Kentucky has a strong pull for us and we are dedicated to buying locally in terms of all of the elements we will need to develop and operate this facility.”

“This is the perfect success story,” said Craig Richard, Greater Louisville Inc. president and CEO. “This dedicated family is achieving personal goals by investing in the community and creating a better environment for all. We are pleased to welcome this addition to our thriving Food and Beverage sector, and we are proud that the Taylors call Louisville home.”