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James E. Pepper

The Pepper family brand of whiskey is one of the oldest & most legendary whiskey brands in both Kentucky and American history.

Revived by entrepreneur Amir Peay in 2008, we have worked closely with Amir from the very start to rebrand James E. Pepper and retell the lost story of this iconic American whiskey brand.

A former bartender, proprietor Amir Peay spent over a decade working to relaunch the iconic Pepper whiskey brand and rebuild the historic distillery.

Established in 1780, during the American Revolution, the Pepper family brand of whiskey is the oldest brand of whiskey made in Kentucky.  Distilled over three family generations, the family built and operated two distilleries in Kentucky – the first was the distillery that is known today as Woodford Reserve (originally known as the Pepper Distillery), and the second was the James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky.

When Amir asked us to work on the packaging design to kick off the revival of this iconic brand we were excited to be part of this historical endeavor. We designed the branding and packaging around the historical research gathered over many years, all of this contributed to the creation of the new branding

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Over the past 10 years, the success of the James E. Pepper 1776 line of products – especially the Rye – has helped renovate & rebuild the iconic distillery in Lexington.

In December of 2017, distilling had recommenced on site at the historic James E. Pepper Distillery. As with many successful brands it was time to experiment with differentiating the beverage packaging design for the Bourbon, Rye, and Barrel Proof whiskies. Although the parchment look had become the trade dress for the 1776 line, Amir felt that he needed to explore some changes to make each whiskey type stand out. The flagship product, Rye whiskey, remains in the original parchment package while the Bourbon package changed to a rich, brown label and the Barrel Proof is identified by the classy print on egg shell finish.

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We thoroughly enjoy our part in helping rebuild this historic brand from the ground up, beginning with the brand strategy and most recently collaborating on the exterior and interior design of the rebuilt distillery.

Be sure to visit the historic James E. Pepper Distillery next time you’re in Kentucky. The Lexington Distillery District is a 25-acre entertainment district in downtown Lexington, KY, on the grounds of the historic James E. Pepper Distillery – a National History Landmark. Originally built in 1879, the distillery ceased production in 1961 and was abandoned for over 50 years. Since then the blighted property and surrounding area has undergone a revitalization as part of a community redevelopment and collaboration amongst independent local entrepreneurs and preservationists.