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Professor Jan Fernheimer's New Project!

Professor Jan Fernheimer discusses her new project with J.T. Waldman on Kentucky Jewish life and the history of bourbon. Read in its entirety at HBI Research.

In the summer of 2013, JT Waldman and I made some curious observations taking in the sites on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. JT noticed a lot of Jewish-sounding names, like Shapira and Boehm, while touring the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. When I went back to follow up, I discovered two Magen Davids in the gleaming silver planks of the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center’s tasting room as I sipped Kentucky’s favorite spirit (featured in the image to the right). We began to wonder, just how deep are the Jewish roots of Kentucky’s bourbon industry? Could America’s “native” spirit, really be its chosen one?  And, were there any mysterious mavens in the mix? The hunt was on to find out…