Bourbon: It’s Not Just from Kentucky Anymore!

Traditionally speaking we would expect bourbon to be native to the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, but not today. Teaming up with local farmers in the Southern region of Charleston, South Carolina, David Szlam and Ryan Meany went to work to change that conventional mindset. What they discovered was something greater. The gentlemen have made their mark of the South on the map with rich innovative ideas about spirit flavors and a love of Southern heritage. Virgil Kaine’s Ginger Infused Bourbon was the first of three unique products the company makes. Produced in small batches, Meany says the Ginger Bourbon holds “a strong female following, but that’s not to say that men don’t drink it too.” Another bold move the Southern entrepreneurs have made is introducing a heavy amount of rye into their bourbon. Their High-Rye Bourbon that was just recently released in Georgia is infused with natural oils and juices to soothe the strong peaty flavors of the rye grains.

 

From the Stovetop to the Barrel

Meany and his partner, Szlam, spent a lot of their yesteryears in the roaring city of Charleston working as chefs. As it turns out, this background in the food industry is what propelled Szlam toward crafting a new kind of spirit — one that is known for its “knowledge of flavor, a spirit that is meant to be enjoyed instead of coveted.” This idea is what drove Szlam to explore the option of introducing another flavor besides harvest crops into the bourbon, a feat that had never been accomplished before. The result was indescribable; he successfully created a unique, Lowcountry ginger-infused bourbon that places an emphasis on flavor above age, in a stark contrast to traditional bourbons on the market.‘’It’s what we do with it; how it’s spun that is where we excel,’’ explains Meany.

 

                  Manufacturing a nuanced version of a historically flavored spirit in the South couldn’t have come more naturally to the businessmen. While their background in the food industry is what helped Szlam and Meany push forward with new ideas, it is also what supported them in the process. Brewing and bottling their newfound libations proved to be no small task. A lot of time and effort went into perfecting the product. As the two set out to create a new art form with their love of flavor and knowledge of local ingredients, Meany admits it is the “sense of community that is so strong in the South that made us stay here to accomplish the goal.”

Visit Virgil Kaine website here.

Subscribe to receive our bi-monthly magazine or find where to buy us to read more!