Spiritual Mothers: Fresh Bourbon Co-creator Tia Edwards Takes Bourbon Beyond a ‘Neat’ Experience

Tia Edwards has taken her love for a good cocktail and turned it into a tasteful enterprise. Her company Fresh Bourbon, co-founded with her husband Sean, was created for how we drink bourbon: on the rocks, neat or in a refreshing cocktail. 

“I would say that I enjoyed bourbon, but a cocktail would be my preference,” she shared with EBONY at the Derby Sneaker Ball, an event hosted by founder Tawana Bain during Derby Diversity Week in Louisville, Kentucky.

Realizing the number of Bourbon aficionados who were telling us “how to drink their spirits,” forcing people to a “neat only” experience, the couple set out to create a spirit that is great on its own but has a sweeter, more palatable taste alone.

Fresh Bourbon’s flavor profile, which includes vanilla, brown sugar, oak smoke and nuttiness, is enough to win over Bourbon lovers, but the Edwards have taken their bourbon dreams one step further. They are the proprietors of Fresh Bourbon Distillery, in Lexington, Kentucky. In February 2020, the Kentucky Senate recognized Fresh Bourbon as the first African Americans to make bourbon in the state. In addition, the location produces bourbon with an African American Master Distiller, the first in Kentucky since enslavement.

Edwards shares more about the Fresh Bourbon brand, raising children while entrepreneuring and the new product the couple is working that will revolutionize the cocktail-in-a-can game.

EBONY: What was the event that inspired you to start your brand?  

Tia Edwards: My husband Sean and I have traveled extensively and have realized that when we say where we are from, Kentucky, it’s well known in the world for three things: Kentucky Fried Chicken, horses and bourbon. The country you’re in determines the order. We talked about tours and experiences and how many bourbon aficionados would enjoy a neat experience. We felt the industry needed a starting point for bourbon experiences

How should we enjoy Fresh Bourbon?

The best bourbons don’t need instructions. We approach things a little differently. Fresh Bourbon is meant to be enjoyed. Drink it neat or let it shine in a cocktail. Whether you’re a first-taster or a tastemaker, we believe bourbon is for everyone.

Why is it so important for Black women to be in the spirits business? 

African American women are not just consumers of bourbon, we can bring ideas and information to the business with a unique perspective.

How do you balance motherhood with entrepreneurship and what’s your top tip for busy moms to relax?

Being a wife and mother entrepreneur has its challenges, but I am intentional about reserving time for my husband and children. My suggestion is to make growing your business a priority and set time aside for your family because those are moments that you will cherish for a lifetime. I find it most relaxing to be on a beach in the Caribbean! 

Can you tell us about your signature cocktail and your upcoming product?

My favorite cocktail is the Fresh Five, which includes 2 oz of Fresh Bourbon, 1 oz of lemon juice and 1/2 oz of agave syrup. Shake and serve over ice. Look for our new Fresh Five products coming soon!

Updated: May 24, 2024 — 3:02 pm