Photo from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control

Ohio finds a New Riff for its single-barrel bourbon program

The Ohio Division of Liquor Control has discovered a new riff for its single-barrel bourbon release program, and it didn’t have to trek into the heart of Kentucky’s traditional bourbon country to find it.

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The agency that oversees spirits sales in the state secured six barrels of bourbon from the New Riff distillery — located in Bellevue, Ky., just across the river from Cincinnati — and has bottled the spirit to sell exclusively to Ohio consumers at a handful of state-agency liquor stores this Friday, Nov. 16, the division’s superintendent, Jim Canepa, said in the agency’s latest “OHLQ Insider’s Bulletin.” 

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“We worked with the team at New Riff to choose six barrels during a visit to the distillery in August,” Canepa wrote. 

 This time around, Dayton-area bourbon enthusiasts will have to do some traveling to score a bottle of the special release. The nearest stores where the bottles will be available are Jungle Jim’s’ Eastgate store and in the  Columbus area. 

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The sale begins at 9 a.m. Nov. 16. “As I've said before, I suggest you head out to the (agency stores) early; we have bourbon enthusiasts lined up hours ahead of time to snag their bottle,”  Canepa wrote.

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Here’s what Canepa had to say about the New Riff offerings: 

While each single barrel owns its specific flavor profile, New Riff Bourbon generally shows big and spicy flavors. This is not a light, delicate, simple whiskey — it's crafted for robust and fulsome flavor start to finish. The unfiltered bottling regimen allows all the character of the barrel to shine through in the glass. 

Each participating Agency will receive its own barrel, with Columbus and Cincinnati receiving two barrels, making your purchase even more unique. ... Barrels produced an average of 180 bottles. 

 Bottles go on sale for $49.99 plus tax when the participating (agency stores) open next Friday.

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“We are a new riff on an old tradition, that tradition or theme being Kentucky Bourbon,” New Riff’s owners say on the distillery’s web site. “Founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis, a visionary Kentucky liquor retailer and entrepreneur, New Riff is led by a team of corporate refugees ranging from craft beer to politics and more. New Riff crafts a range of whiskeys — Bourbon, Rye, and eventually Malted Rye and a host of specialty recipes — as well as Kentucky Wild Gin. Our mission is simple: to someday be counted among the world’s great small distilleries.” 

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According to the division of liquor control’s notice, here’s where to buy the New Riff single-barrel bourbon this Friday: 

Cincinnati & Dayton 

Jungle Jim's 

4450 Eastgate Blvd., Cincinnati 

Columbus - Meet & Greet with New Riff Founder Ken Lewis 

Chateau Wine & Spirits 

6665 Sawmill Road, Dublin 

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Cleveland & Akron 

Lake's Beverage 

3963 South Main St., Akron 


Pauken Wine & Liquor 

221 Golden Gate Shopping Center, Maumee