A River-Aged Whiskey Maker Adds to its Fleet
April 28, 2023 –––––– Danny Brandon
O.H. Ingram River Aged whiskey was launched in October 2020, and as the term “River Aged” implies, the liquid is matured on a floating rickhouse, which sits on a barge by the banks of the Mississippi River. The brand’s owner, Brown Water Spirits of Nashville, Tennessee, says the whiskey’s exposure to a range of environmental changes—day-night temperature shifts, greater exposure to inclement weather, and the movement of the river flow—all combine to create a distinctive taste profile.
Owner Hank Ingram’s family has a long history on the river, as his great-grandfather founded Ingram Barge Co. in 1946. “Bourbon originally took the route of the river to get to market and eventual popularity,” says Ingram. “As I got acquainted with that history, I was curious to see if something was lost when the river was removed from the aging process. I already knew where we could find a barge, and so thought it was worth a shot.”
The company started out with one rickhouse on a barge in the Kentucky riverbank town of Wickliffe. Now it has moved downriver to Columbus, where a second barge and some retrofitting will raise capacity from 1,800 to 6,000 barrels by year-end. There’s also space to dock an additional 15 barges at the new site—and with plans to fit out on additional floating rickhouse every year, O.H. Ingram will see a significant increase in scale.
While early releases of O.H. Ingram, all sourced from MGP, weren’t particularly special, its River Aged bourbon (Barge IN068518) scored 92 points with the Whisky Advocate tasting panel. Brown Water Spirits’ newest expression, a 52.5% ABV straight bourbon, was released a few months ago.