From its early history of moonshine to the enduring grains that make whiskey today, Casey Jones Distillery in Kentucky is preparing to expand its portfolio with the release of a pure Kentucky bourbon.
The Casey Jones Wheated follows the heels of the distillery’s straight bourbon with a new bill of bloody butcher’s corn mash and Kentucky soft wheat.
The wheat bourbon, according to those who created it, is aged three years in new charred oak barrels, giving the new expression a deep, golden amber and caramel color.
And to coincide with the launch of the new bourbon, Master Distiller Arlon “AJ” Casey Jones hand-picked a barrel of their new wheaten bourbon for a unique “bottle your own bourbon” event in early May. People got to experience the Kentucky distillery firsthand as they captured the newest bourbon from barrel to bottle.
Newcomers to the distillery learned that it was long ago during Prohibition, when Al Capone was getting moonshine from various places, but the favorite spot was in Golden Pond, Kentucky.
And in Golden Pond, Casey Jones was the local still master. It is said that earnings could tell a still was Casey’s just by looking at it. Fellow moonshiners and the infamous Chicago mobster also knew of Casey’s stills by the superior product they produced as well.
In Golden Pond after World War I, jobs were scarce and moonlight became a necessity. There was plenty of water and plenty of corn, and sugar was easy to find. But for a big still, you had to call Casey Jones.
For over 30 years Casey Jones has been building stills all over Kentucky using only copper. It wouldn’t use steel, even though it was cheaper, because it was said to look like it was coated in potentially deadly zinc.
His talent was to know exactly how much and what caliber of copper a certain size would still require. With just a torch, hammer, snips, crimper, and soldering iron, Casey built three-piece stills that are easy to set up and move around.
He charged about $20 (about $350 in today’s dollars) and a gallon or two of the product. And today, the distillery’s “Casey’s Cut Moonshine” is named after the still maker and his preferred method of payment.
What is described as Casey’s legacy and passion inspired his grandson, Arlon Casey Jones, to follow in his footsteps. Casey built his last still in 1967. AJ used this still, which is on display in the Casey Jones Distillery Lounge, as a guide to building the still they use today.
As Master Distiller, AJ crafts each batch of Casey Jones Moonshine using what is said to be a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation in the Jones family.
And today, this whiskey maker introduces the new Casey Jones Distillery Wheated Kentucky Straight Bourbon, which boasts between 100 and 110 proofs and is now available for purchase at the distillery, online and at local retailers.
For more information or to find a bottle, see www.caseyjonesdistillery.com.