• Corky and Carson Taylor
  • Original Peerless Distillery
  • Peerless Distilling Timeline
  • Peerless Distilling Timeline


Our story begins in Henderson Co. Kentucky.

For Henry Kraver, the man that shaped the Peerless legacy, roots run into the 1800s through the river city of Henderson, Kentucky.



The First Distilleries Emerge in Henderson

The first distilleries emerge in Henderson during the 1860-70s with the likes of D.R. Burbank Distillery and Oakland Distillery. Both eventually succumb to the elements-fire destroying the former, river erosion sweeping away the latter. In 1879, the L&N train line is completed, connecting the town of Henderson with larger cities such as Louisville & St. Louis. Industries of Henderson begin to flourish, including tobacco, buggy manufacturing and good ol’ whiskey.


The First Peerless Whiskey is Crafted

In the Summer of 1881, business associates Elijah W. Worsham and Capt. J.B. Johnston combine to build the Henderson distillery E.W. Worsham & Co. Operations begin that same Winter, producing the first Peerless whiskey.

Worsham is producing between 300-400 barrels of Peerless per year at its peak in the 1880s.


Henry H. Kraver becomes Distillery Owner

In 1885, a 26-year old Henry H. Kraver finds his way to Henderson, Kentucky and begins work at the Mann Brothers department store. Recognizing a determination and dedication in Henry, the owners of the shop invest in his future. With their assistance, Henry Kraver owns a saloon and is building the Kraver tobacco house by 1888. During this same time, E.W. Worsham Distilling isn't able to keep steady, and eventually, death catches Elijah Worsham. E.W. Worsham Distilling is then sold to Henry Kraver in the year 1889.


U.S. Federally Bonded Warehouses

Kraver wastes no time making upgrades to the machinery and invests in additional warehouses. These warehouses prove to be even more valuable when they become U.S. Federally Bonded following the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. Production of Peerless whiskey rises from 8 to 200 barrels per week.


The Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company

As the wholesale market expands to Chicago and St. Louis, the production of Peerless liquor becomes substantial and reliable through the early 1900s. Kraver is still operating under the auspices of Worsham Distilling Co. until 1907 when he incorporates as The Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company. The initial capital stock is $100,000.
The Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company


Success and Growth

By 1913, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. employs nearly 50 workers and is producing 10,000 barrels per year. Kraver continues to make a number of investments in Henderson, including purchasing the Henderson Brewing Company, positioned on the bank of the Ohio River. Kraver makes quick work of increasing production & service.


Prohibition Strikes

By 1917, the Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. is running at peak production making 200 barrels per week, more than 23,000 barrels a year, with 63,000 barrels in storage. Along with other distilleries, Henry Kraver ceases production to aid in the conservation of corn for the war effort. During this same time, the 18th Amendment is passed and Prohibition begins. The famous Peerless whiskey is officially out of production for the first time since 1881.

1917-1927 Vendome Copper and Brass

The Lever Food and Fuel Act

August 1917 The Lever Food and Fuel Act is passed by the dry forces in Congress which prohibits the wartime use of grain for the production of beverage alcohol. Kraver stops producing alcohol. 1925 Mr. Sherman is hired to dismantle a shuttered Henderson, Kentucky distillery (Kentucky Peerless) and re-erect it in Vancouver, British Columbia where he moved with his family for six months. Note: Vendome existed before Prohibition, however, lost their business due to Prohibition. Mr. Sherman later reopened sometime after 1927.
Whisky prescription only for medicinal


Peerless Available by Prescription

During the early 1920s, the Peerless federally-bonded warehouses are used for whiskey storage under the armed protection of the U.S. Government. In 1923, the contents of the warehouses (some 6,000 barrels of whiskey) are transported by troops to another facility in Owensboro, KY. For a period of time, Peerless product is of the few available by prescription for medicinal use.


Kraver Sustains the Great Depression

In the early throes of the Great Depression, Henry Kraver invests in and serves as president of the First National Bank of Henderson. Opening its doors in 1932, the bank operates under this same name until 1993. The newly minted Montgomery Ward department store does not survive and in 1934 Kraver retrofits the space to be an 800-seat movie house and vaudeville stage. The Kraver Theater remains open from 1935 until 1976.
A letter threatening Henry Kravers Grandson


A Threat to Kraver's Grandson

An event happens in 1933 that would alter the course of the Peerless legacy. Local union workers break into a Henderson insurance agency and leave a threatening letter for Kraver stating, “You better look out for your grandson.” With this, the Kraver family sends him to military school. After many amazing life experiences of his own, this grandson grows up to be the father of Corky Taylor and grandfather of Carson Taylor. Corky and Carson, respectively the 4th and 5th generations, are now reviving the legendary Peerless namesake in Louisville, Kentucky.


The End of an Era

After a dedicated marriage, many business ventures, and a daughter together, Henry's wife Ida passes away in 1936. In October 1937, Kraver falls from the top of the grandiose stairs of the famous Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. This fall leaves him in need of surgery, and eventually, a leg amputation. Henry Kraver passes away from related complications in January 1938 at age 78.

March 2014

A Legacy Revived

A building permit is issued to fourth and fifth-generation Corky and Carson Taylor. They begin construction on the new Peerless distillery. The over 115-year-old building in downtown Louisville is restored to become the remarkable distillery as it exists today. Construction is completed by March of 2015.



Peerless is able to obtain the original Kentucky Distilled Spirits Plant Number from the first Peerless Distillery in Henderson, Kentucky in the 1800s. DSP-KY-50 represents the history behind the Peerless family and the legacy behind Peerless bourbon. Today, Distilled Spirits Numbers are established in the 20,000s.

March 4, 2015

Barrel No. 1 is Filled

For the first time since 1917, Peerless Whiskey is back in the barrel.

Corky Taylor, Henry Kraver’s Great Grandson, has come out of retirement to revive the family brand by opening Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company in downtown Louisville with his son Carson Taylor, 5th Generation.

The Taylor family is making Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey and Bourbon. The legendary Peerless spirit continues and a new legacy is born.

June 3, 2015

Peerless Grand Opening

Peerless family and friends, including Mayor Greg Fisher, gather to celebrate the Peerless grand opening. Doors are officially open to the Peerless distillery and the public has the opportunity to participate, first-hand in the Peerless legacy. The significant distillery development is later recognized with a Cornerstone Award.
Carson Taylor the story behind the bottle

December 2016

Perfecting the Peerless Bottle

After a design that embodies Peerless spirits is complete, Carson Taylor travels to the bottle factory he has been working with for the past two years to give input on the execution. It took about a year working with the glass manufacturers to perfect the vision for the bottle. Being a part of the process was crucial to Carson because this bottle will hold the first Peerless whiskey in 100 years.

March 2017

Peerless Prohibition Bottle

Carson Taylor discovers a bottle of Prohibition whiskey under the Henry Kraver name and surprises Corky with it for his birthday. The bottle will remain in the distillery, unopened.

April 27, 2017

First Barrel Dump Since the Peerless Revival

The first batch of Peerless Rye Whiskey is dumped and ready to be bottled as the first brown spirit in 100 years under the Peerless name.

View the Video   View the Photos

May 2017

Rye Release to the Public

The public joins in celebration for the whiskey that is finally able to be sipped and savored by all. Peerless Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is now available in Kentucky and Washington, D.C.

November 18, 2017

Exclusive Distillery Single Barrel Selections

Peerless selects three single barrels that highlight distinctive natural profiles to be introduced on November 18, 2017. This births our popular distillery single barrel selection program.

Due to the careful distilling process, Peerless Rye is multi-dimensional in terms of flavor. Single Barrel selections allow for concentration on a particular barrel’s unique characteristics. Peerless offers select barrels to be offered exclusively at the distillery. Guests will enjoy a tasting including these barrels, as well as the opportunity to purchase a bottle for their home collection.

November 20, 2017

Peerless Named Top 20 Whiskies in the World

Whisky Advocate names Peerless’s two-year Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey as 15th Most Exciting Whiskey of the Year. Peerless was the first craft distillery to ever be included since its start 25 years ago. Peerless’s Rye Whiskey was also the only rye whiskey included on the list. Whisky Advocate ranks its Top 20 list based on a blind tasting and releases the list each November leading up to New York WhiskyFest. “Delivering a buttery mouthfeel with toasted rye and baking spice notes, Peerless is the only craft producer on our list... Peerless is paving the way and we expect more craft distillers to join them.” Fred Minnick

December 6, 2017

Peerless Awarded Package of the Year

The National Association of Container Distributors name the Peerless bottle design, label and cap the Package of the Year in the spirits division. The bottle was designed by Fifth Generation and President Carson Taylor. Sparing no expense, Taylor worked to develop a package that embodied Kentucky Peerless for over two years. The cork and bottle are of the heaviest on the market.

April 24, 2018

Peerless is Ranked Top Rye Whiskey

Whisky Advocate ranks eight popular rye whiskies with a grading scale. Peerless was given the highest score of 91 points. Aaron Goldfarb said: “Rye is a perfect niche for craft whiskey distillers, as it often drinks well at a younger age than many bourbons. A revival product for a once-prominent distillery that closed due to prohibition, this youthful rye makes a splashy entrance. A fruity, tropical nose leads into a bold and peppery palate. The high proof means it’s a tad hot, but a splash of water softens that and unlocks baking spices and anise on the finish. Whisky Advocate’s blind tasting panel ranked this rye number 15 in the 2017 Top 20 Whiskies of the Year.”
Peerless Barrel House

October 3, 2018

Henry County Barrel Warehouse Ribbon Cutting

Peerless rolls the first barrel into the new barrel warehouse in Henry County, Kentucky. The new warehouse is approximately 30 minutes away from the downtown distillery, holding up to 5,300 barrels. Peerless purchased 19 acres of land with the intention of building up to six rickhouses on the land. Each rickhouse is designed to match the on-site rickhouse at one story high (6 ricks). Peerless’s new rickhouse is the first completed distillery-related project being added to Henry County.

November 14, 2018

Peerless Rye Whiskey 3 Year is Released

Peerless releases the second Small Batch product to market at three years old.

Caramels, cinnamon, citrus, and tobacco lead a beautiful nose. Floral and vanilla notes come to life as rye spices and sweet grasses also add complex earth tones to this nose. The first sip is sweet before rolling into a cinnamon-spiced rye truffle. Orange and cherry syrup linger. The second sip starts with a change-up, featuring sweet/spicy oak, dark chocolate, and a burst of complex spices before returning to a brilliant fruity character. Oaks and chocolates lead off a fantastic finish that features every branch of the flavor wheel. Florals come to life late in the finish, refreshing the palate and encouraging another pour.

January 30, 2019

Craft Producer of the Year

Peerless receives Whisky Magazine’s Craft Producer of the Year Award in New York City. Corky and Jamia Taylor receive the award, narrowed down from 900 nominations and then down to 20 craft distilleries in the Americas. When asked what Peerless First Generation Henry Kraver would think, Taylor said, “I know he’s looking down on us, I know my grandfather is and I know my father is. This is great for our family, but it’s great for everybody who works here at the distillery and who cares about the distillery. We did this as a family.” Nominations are made through by peers in the industry through Whisky Magazine. The final decision is made by the Whiskey Magazine Editorial Panel.

March 28, 2019

Global Craft Producer of the Year

Peerless travels to London in March to accept the Global Craft Producer of the Year award from Whisky Magazine. Corky Taylor congratulated the team at Peerless for their hard work and passion for the products.

Nominations are made by industry peers through Whisky Magazine, with the final decision made by the Whisky Magazine Editorial Panel. They then take recipients from around the world and award each distillery within their given category.

June 22, 2019

The First Peerless Bourbon in over 100 Years is Released ... and Sold Out Twice

Peerless releases their first bourbon in 102 years. After barreling in March of 2015, the four-year-old product was the first Peerless bourbon available on the market without a prescription since Prohibition. The release was on June 22, 2019, to honor Roy “Ace” Taylor Jr. on his birthday. The doors opened at 10 a.m. and all bottles of bourbon sold out before closing time at 5 p.m. Upon the second release on August 3, 2019, the bottles once again sold out within the business hours of that day. Peerless Bourbon is rooted in fruits, florals and oaks.

September 18, 2019

National Bourbon Release

Peerless officially launches their first bourbon nationally. Upon release, New York, Florida, Texas, California, Illinois, Georgia and Kentucky are able to receive Peerless Bourbon in limited quantities. When commenting on Peerless Bourbon, Cordell Lawrence, Director of Global Marketing and Strategy said, “Peerless is a legacy reborn and our mission is to produce bourbon worthy of the historic name. We are American-made down to our very bottle, never source, and embrace the artisanal history of bourbon using cutting edge technology.” By the year 2020, Peerless Bourbon will be available in 45+ states.

December 12, 2019

Series I Bottle 6

Peerless dumps the sixth bottle of the seven bottle Series I collection. This marks four years of aging for the first Peerless bourbon in 100 years. We thank those of the Series I holders that were able to join us on this special day!

December 17, 2019

Best Bourbon of 2019

InsideHook names Peerless Bourbon ‘The Best Bourbon of 2019




February 2020

Best Kentucky Bourbon 2020

Peerless Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon has been named ‘Best Kentucky Bourbon’ in the 2020 World Whiskies Awards. Kentucky Peerless Small Batch Straight Rye Whiskey was also a Gold winner for Rye 12 Years & Under.

February 2020

Barrel-finished collaborations

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. and Copper & Kings Distillery announce the release of two barrel-finished collaborations. Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. releases a Rye Whiskey aged in American Alembic absinthe barrels, while Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. releases copper pot-distilled American Brandy aged in Kentucky Peerless Rye Whiskey barrels.

March 23, 2020

Masters Series

Our first-ever combination Masters Series / Barrel Selection event with The Frazier Museum. The Frazier’s Masters Series is a popular series of programs celebrating Kentucky’s booming beverage industry.

August 2020

Travelers' Choice Winner

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company has been named in the top 10% of attractions worldwide! We sincerely thank our patrons for joining in the revival of our family legacy. The support we’ve received is outstanding and greatly appreciated. We are honored to have been named a Travelers' Choice Winner each year since opening our doors.
Kentucky Peerless Rye Whiskey

November 2020

Top 100 most Compelling Spirits

Peerless Rye Whiskey recognized in the Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 most compelling spirits list.


 The intense caramel aroma signals what is to come. With enough water, this big, flavorful, downright chewy whiskey offers dense and delicious maple sugar, creamy caramel, red fruit and candied ginger heat.
— Kara Newman 


December 17, 2020

Series Bottle No. 7 Barrel Dump

We dump the final barrel of the Series 1 Collection this morning! It’s hard to believe we began this journey 5 years ago now.

December 2021

The Heritage Tour

Peerless offers a new tour experience. The Heritage Tour is a specially curated VIP experience where guests enjoy an all-access opportunity at the Peerless distillery and conclude with a private tasting.

September 18, 2021

Double Oak Bourbon Release

Exposing Peerless Bourbon to two separate casks allows for two full barrel extractions. The result? Supercharged notes give this whiskey supreme complexity and mouthfeel. Our dedicated tasting team strategically selects barrels with prominent grain, fruit, and herbaceous notes as they are complemented well by the extra barrel character. This ultimately makes for a population of barrels that are packed with flavor, yet balanced enough to uphold the Peerless name.
Double Oak Bourbon Tasting Notes

NOSE: The nose opens with sweet oak accented with orange zest and cedar. Aromas of tobacco and herbs soon join.

PALATE: The first sip leads with a honey sweetness before swiftly shifting to cinnamon and spicy oak. Another sip adds leather for an earthy balance while displaying an amazing body.

FINISH: The finish continues to celebrate the viscous mouthfeel with notes of sweet, toasted oak and dry cocoa.

Peerless Double Oak Bourbon

November 2021

The 50 Best Bourbon Whiskeys of 2021

UPROXX names Peerless Bourbon in ‘The 50 Best Bourbon Whiskeys of 2021’
"this new release just hit too many high marks to be overshadowed this year. It’s highly sippable and really blooms when you add a little water, so take your time enjoying this one."


November 2021

Second Annual Barrel-Finished Collaboration

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. releases the second annual Peerless Rye Aged in Absinthe Barrels

Peerless Absinthe Finished Rye

December 2021

Top 20 Whiskies of 2021

Peerless Double Oak Bourbon is named number 8 in Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of 2021.'

“Double Oak was born of a happy accident when a leaky barrel forced the distilling team to transfer its liquid to a new charred oak barrel. Exposure to that second barrel gave the whiskey amped-up flavors and lots more complexity. This is a bourbon that has gone into overdrive, and it handles the road just fine. Its syrupy sweet texture is checked by the oak influence, and the palate opens to flavors aplenty—dried peaches, warm apple pie, Christmas spice, gingerbread, raisin cake, chocolate, and pumpkin purée. Perfect as a holiday warmer or a backyard barbecue sipper, this is a whiskey for all seasons,” says David Fleming, Whisky Advocate.



December 2021

The 50 Best Rye Whiskeys Of 2021

UPROXX names Peerless Rye Whiskey in ‘The 50 Best Rye Whiskeys Of 2021’.  You'll find Peerless Rye Whiskey on this list not once, but twice!


April 27, 2022

Anniversary of First Barrel Dump

We celebrate the five years anniversary of the first Peerless barrel dump in 100 years; our first barrel dump since our family’s whiskey craft revival. We are honored to have shared our journey thus far with such a remarkable support system and we look forward to sharing for years to come.

View the Video   View the Photos

May 2022

Anniversary of Peerless Rye Release

We celebrate the five-year anniversary of our first whiskey release in 100 years with Peerless Rye Whiskey! It was an honor to share this special day with our patrons. We are continuously grateful for the incredible support and lasting relationships we’ve gained over the last five years.

July 2022

Travelers' Choice Winner

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company has been named in the 2022 top 10% of attractions worldwide! We are honored to have been named a Travelers' Choice Winner each year since opening our doors.

August 22, 2022

Peerless Rum Barrel Finished Bourbon Limited Release

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. releases Peerless Rum Barrel Finished Bourbon.

September 17, 2022

Second Double Oak Bourbon Release

Peerless Celebrates the second Double Oak Bourbon Release.

October 29, 2022

Third Annual Release of Peerless Rye Aged in Absinthe Barrels

Peerless Rye Aged in Absinthe Barrels Third Annual Limited Release
Peerless Absinthe Finished Rye
Kentucky Peerless Double Oak Rye

November 25, 2022

Limited Double Oak Rye Release

Peerless Celebrates the Limited Double Oak Rye Release

November 19, 2022

Imogean is awarded the Louisville Tourism Rose Award!

The Recognition of Service Excellence (“ROSE”) Award honors employees in the tourism and hospitality industry who positively inspire others and go above and beyond to contribute exceptionally. We are beyond blessed to have her and so honored that our local community values her just the same. Thank you all for the continued love and support.

April 15, 2023

High Rye Bourbon Release

Peerless High Rye Bourbon is the first Peerless expression made with a completely unique mash bill since their initial bourbon and rye releases.

July 2023

Travelers' Choice Winner

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company has been named in the 2022 top 10% of attractions worldwide! We are honored to have been named a Travelers' Choice Winner each year since opening our doors.

Top Ranked

Peerless High Rye Whiskey

Whisky Advocate has released their favorite High Rye Bourbons and Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon Ranks the highest amongst 10 exquisite selections.


Present Day

Peerless Bourbon and Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey can currently be found across the United States. The distillery is open to the public Monday-Saturday where the Kraver family history is shared on tours every hour on the half-hour.