Neltner Small Batch launch fueled by art, passion, family

Good things come in small batches, whether its bourbon, beer or branding, says Keith Neltner, the native Kentuckian who has made a name for himself as a designer and filmmaker and darling of the latest Cincinnati ADDY Awards. (Soapbox profiled him last year.)

On the heels of winning an unprecedented three out of four Judge’s Choice awards at this year’s ADDY Awards, he's launching Neltner Small Batch, a venture that allows him to base all of his operations out of his renovated farmhouse studio next door to his home and two doors down from his family’s farm in Camp Springs, Ky.

It also allows Neltner to become a work-at-home dad for his 7-year-old and 3-year-old.

"I've noticed 'family' being a theme in a lot of my work recently," Neltner says. "They're little for such a short time."

Neltner Farms has been his home for his entire life and plays a large role in his identity. The land has been in his family since before the Civil War. That history inspires Neltner Small Batch’s manifesto: “Farming is hard. Sweat is religion. Art is blood.”

Known for his rustic aesthetic and acclaimed work with a wide range of artists (Hank Williams III, Shooter Jennings) and brands (Procter & Gamble, Wrigley’s), Neltner remains true to his well-established roots. “My dad taught me to work hard and be honest,” he says.

One of Neltner Small Batch’s first projects illustrates the connections Neltner continues to make between art, life, hard work and passion. “Black Mule is a brand we're developing in Camp Springs that will release limited edition products,” Neltner says. “Farm tables, pottery, apparel...all made in Kentucky, sourced by local artisans.”

By Sean Peters