NKU Students To Research Licking River's Bourbon History

Feb 19, 2020

Five counties in northern Kentucky will join students from Northern Kentucky University in researching the Licking River's connection to bourbon's original journey.


Jacob Spears, who operated a distillery near Paris, Kentucky, in Bourbon County, is credited as the "most probably creator" of the spirit, as noted in the book Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of American Whiskey by Fred Minnick.

The Licking River played a significant role in transporting bourbon in its early days.

NKU's Department of History is embarking on this exploration with assistance from officials in Bourbon, Harrison, Pendleton, Campbell, and Kenton counties, as well as the city of Paris, to research the history of the Spears Distillery and how bourbon traveled.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to talk about the project are NKU History Professor Dr. Brian Hackett, and NKU graduate students Charles Williams and Christian Sthodahl.

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