Green River Distilling Company has a long, fascinating–and, at times, tumultuous–history. Before we dive into all the details of the last century, we’ll start at the beginning of the story.
The original distillery was founded in 1885 by John W. McCulloch, 137 years ago. Along the Ohio River, it was located at the very same places Green River Distilling Co. resides today.
McCulloch’s whiskey was far from average. In fact, it earned a reputation for its premium quality all across the world.
McCulloch made sure that reputation stuck by becoming a visionary in sales and marketing. He traveled the world to promote Green River Whiskey, and it quickly became known as some of the finest in Kentucky.
He entered his whiskey in as many competitions as possible, winning his first medal for Excellence at the World’s Fair in 1893.
The list of international awards Green River took home is astounding. In 1900, the brand won “best of show” at the Paris Exposition. To top that off, Green River won the gold medal for quality at the Paris Exposition.
In 1905, Green River was awarded the Grand Prizes at Exposition Universelle de Liege and the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Oregon. In 1906, Green River took home yet another Grand Prize at Esposizioine Internazionale in Milan, Italy, followed by a Grand Prize at the 1907 Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition in Jamestown.
At each of these events, McCulloch displayed the brand for everyone to see, and Green River soon became a household name across the globe.
McCulloch went even further with his marketing strategy, dubbing Green River the “Whiskey Without Regrets,” which catapulted his brand to new heights.