Artisan Matt Jamie of Bourbon Barrel Foods - Biography

Louisville, KY

January 2014

After leaving Knox College in Illinois before his junior year, Matt Jamie entered the restaurant business—waiting tables and cooking on the line at a mom-and-pop establishment in Louisville, Kentucky, his hometown. At the time, just working to make a living, he never thought that he would eventually find his calling in the culinary arts, a passion which would lead him to become a successful business owner—of the nation's only soy sauce micro-brewery.

Jamie began cooking at more fine dining spots, which is where he met his wife, Whitney. He went on to open Home Bistro, a personal chef business. Moving back to Louisville, Jamie took time out to research an idea he'd had while throwing back beers and oysters with a friend: brew a really great soy sauce. Experimentation and dedication led to Bluegrass Soy Sauce, the only soy sauce fermented in a bourbon barrel, resulting in a smoky sauce with hints of oak and a mild sweetness reminiscent of fine Kentucky bourbon.

In 2006, he went on to found Bourbon Barrel Foods. Everything he makes--bourbon smoked sea salt, paprika, and peppercorns, a wide variety of sauces--are either aged or smoked in bourbon barrels. His philosophy is three-fold: slow, small, simple. And it seems to be paying off. Jamie's products are now carried by Whole Foods Markets and Fresh Markets in various states across the nation.