Ludlow distillery creates bourbon in Kenton County for the first time in nearly 100 years

LUDLOW, Ky. -- When Rick Couch started his Ludlow distillery, he had no idea they’d be the first to create bourbon in Kenton County in nearly 100 years.

Enter Second Sight Spirits’ Oak Eye bourbon.

It wasn’t something Couch took lightly. Second Sight Spirits produces rum and moonshine. Oak Eye is their first shot at bourbon.

“We started with rum, because we knew bourbon was highly critiqued in this area,” he said.

The craft distillery celebrated the release at 5 p.m. Friday at Hotel Covington. Bartenders will be serving up cocktails, and 18 bottles will be on sale until 8 p.m.

The bottles will be sold on a first come, first served basis, but bottles will be available at the distillery starting Saturday. They’ll hit the stores in the coming weeks.

GALLERY: A look inside Second Sight Spirits 

The creation of their first bourbon came with a little trial and error, Couch said.

“Since this is our first venture into whiskeys, we didn’t randomly pick a mash bill. We experimented,” Couch said. “Our first release has two different mash bills. One is a wheated bourbon. The other is a rye.”

Couch said it takes about two weeks to make a 15-gallon barrel, which includes cooking, mashing the grains and the fermenting process. Everything is distilled twice. Then they wait.

“It sits in our barrel room in the back, in this case for a year and a month. And then it comes out, we bottle it all here and send it out for sale,” Couch said.

Couch said the distillery, located in Ludlow’s Renaissance District, draws a decent amount of traffic. Second Sight Spirits has even served as a tourist destination.

“We’re trying to spread the word of Ludlow,” Couch said.

The success of Second Sight has given life to other businesses in the area.

Catfish Williams, owner of Folk School Coffee Parlor, says there’s something in the air in Ludlow.

“Second Sight and every business that comes in down here, helps the other businesses out,” Williams said. “We’re a small town, so even a business of three employees can have a big impact on the rest of us.”

Williams said it’s the people that make the river city stand out.

“It’s surreal. It’s amazing to be a part of something that’s just kind of happening,” he said.

Oak Eye is on sale now for $45 a bottle.