NEWPORT — A bourbon micro-distillery in the works in Newport hopes to become a stop along the state's Kentucky Bourbon Trail — and the only one in Northern Kentucky.
CEO Mollie Lewis said she hopes that The Nth Degree Distilling will attract about 700 visitors a week for tours when it opens next year. A groundbreaking was held last month.
Lewis told The Kentucky Enquirer that the "N" has more than one meaning — it stands for Northern Kentucky, Newport and "the Nth degree, which means all-out."
She said the craft distillery will be different from most other bourbon makers in Kentucky in that it will reflect a forward-looking enterprise in an urban market.
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Larry Ebersold, a former distiller at Pernod Ricard USA in Lawrenceburg, will be the master distiller.
Other distilleries on the trail are Four Roses in Lawrenceburg, Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Jim Beam in Clermont, Maker's Mark in Loretto, Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg and Woodford Reserve in Versailles.
Lewis said that those places in Kentucky are known for bourbon and that now she hopes to make Northern Kentucky known for it as well.
"Our aim is really to put Northern Kentucky on the map a little bit more," she said. "We're really excited about emphasizing the fact that we are the northernmost point in Kentucky — we're close to Cincinnati, we're urban, we're Kentucky still, but we've got an edge there."
Mayor Jerry Peluso said he is excited about the prospect of the distillery drawing more tourists.
"There will be another reason people come to Newport," he said. "That's because it'll be their first shot in Kentucky for good bourbon hospitality."
Kentucky Distillers' Association President Eric Gregory said 12,000 people visited all the distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail last year, while 500,000 visited at least one of the sites. He said the number of Kentuckians and Ohioans who completed the trail were about the same.
"So this makes a lot of sense for us, for them to be a significant gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail," he said.