Skip to Content

Master Distiller, Eastern Light Distilling

Caleb Kilburn

Caleb in the Peerless still room

Caleb Kilburn, 32, was born and raised in Bath County, Kentucky, just a few miles from Eastern Light Distilling’s future campus in Rowan County. As he was finishing his degree in Chemistry from Morehead State University (graduated 2014), Caleb was already working as a bourbon distiller for the newly relaunched historic brand Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. This unique experience developing process design and operation procedures for the startup in order to heighten his distilling efforts gave Kilburn an education like no other and ignited his entrepreneurial spirit.

Kilburn became the youngest Master Distiller in Kentucky when he was promoted at Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. in December 2018. His bourbon and rye spirits immediately grabbed acclaim as they were released (see awards below), and Kilburn was named Whisky Magazine’s American Master Distiller of 2023.

Possessing an innovator’s mind, Kilburn is quick to improve distilling processes. Under his guidance, Eastern Light Distilling is designed with solutions in mind to offer contract distillers the greatest amount of customization possible. Kilburn’s flexible production facility anticipates the use of sweet mashing, four-plus grain mashbills, and editable distillation parameters. This level of personalization will attract the unique, ultra-premium craft makers Eastern Light seeks to include in its House of Brands.

Kilburn’s innovative mindset does not end with distilling, however, he has also built a proprietary custom barrel pricing tool to anticipate the challenges in offering such unique distilling options to customers. The sophisticated formula standardizes cash flow for the distillery by compensating for anticipated yield, cost, and alcohol concentration so that every contract presents similar performance for Eastern Light.

Beyond the opportunity to use his talent to design forward-thinking business practices and produce the best possible bourbon, Eastern Light Distilling for Kilburn is ultimately about coming home. The project allows him to give back to the communities that raised him and lift up the beauty, talent, and natural resources of his home in Eastern Kentucky.