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East Peoria Distillery Introduces Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Cass Herrington
Peoria Public Radio

A local craft distiller is rolling out barrels of a new whiskey variety.

JK Williams Distilling in East Peoria announced Thursday their first batch of straight bourbon whiskey will hit shelves in mid-April. 

Bourbon can only be called “straight bourbon whiskey” if the liquor is aged in a new, charred white-oak barrel for at least two years.

The company JK Williams is just a few months older than that; it opened in October 2013.  

Distiller and owner Jesse Williams says the bourbon is just one of many new varieties to come.

“Ultimately from a business standpoint, we always want to grow but I think we always want to stay at a point that we’re not exceeding the craft market,” Williams.

The company has been making and selling younger, small batch bourbons in the few years since it opened. Distiller Jesse Williams says the bourbons, though not “straight,” already passed the test – with perhaps the toughest critics.

“I’ve had really good reception. I had a lot of people that have been through here from Kentucky, or live in Kentucky, or frequent the Bourbon Trail quite often,” Williams said. “Very, very few dissatisfied people that have an opinion that’s not positive.”

The company says it expects to fill 270 bottles with the new bourbon in hopes of selling April 16th.