tourism groups unite
to form coalition on bourbon
states bourbon distilleries
Helen E. McKinney
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (December 2009) When one thinks
of Christmas in Kentucky, one might think of bourbon balls. The main
ingredient is the focus of a new campaign to let the world know the
potential for Kentuckys bourbon industry.
Photo by Helen McKinney
bottle bourbon at Makers
Mark Distillery in Lebanon, Ky. The
distillery offers tours and a gift shop.
Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon, said
Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association.
Its part of our culture, heritage and economy, he
For that reason, a coalition of 11 tourism groups recently launched
a new campaign to showcase the bourbon industry and the communities
that often celebrate its spirit. Collectively, they took the name Team
We thought it was a great idea to get everyone together under
an umbrella group and work together, Gregory said.
All 11 of these communities celebrate bourbon in their own way. Team
Bourbon members include the Anderson County Tourism Commission, the
Lebanon Tourist and Convention Commission, Kentucky Department of Travel,
the Woodford County Tourist Commission and the Louisville Convention
and Visitors Bureau.
Chris Kellogg, Director of Communications for the Kentucky Department
of Travel, said, Bourbon is an iconic and unique draw for Kentucky
visitors. Distillery tours and attractions have seen a steady increase
in visitors from all age groups who are interested in the story of bourbon.
Kellogg said the Kentucky Department of Travel became involved in this
campaign because bourbon and distilleries are so key to the communities
where the distilleries are located. Team Bourbon expands the experience
beyond the distilleries to the communities that grew them.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, created in 1999, can lead
visitors from distillery to distillery to further enjoy the bourbon
experience. The eight Kentucky distilleries include Buffalo Trace, Four
Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Tom Moore Distilleries,
Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.
The trail stretches for 200 miles. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail website
states that bourbon tourism is growing, with millions of visitors
from all 50 states and more than 25 countries making the pilgrimage
Along the route there are many other things to see and do. The
chain of distilleries is a fascinating part of Kentuckys scenic
beauty and history, said Kellogg. Bourbon is a calling card
to the world for a variety of reasons.
Kellogg said there is an interest in these destinations whether or not
someone is a bourbon consumer because distilleries are a fascinating
place to visit, shop, experience, learn about and see.
Bourbon is a key export for the United States, said Gregory.
It is a great example of Kentucky craftsmanship.
There are many events that incorporate bourbon into their makeup. Team
Bourbon representatives were the first ceremonial runners to begin the
Bourbon Chase held at Jim Beam Distillery on Friday, Oct. 9. More than
2,000 runners covered ground over the trail. We were blown away
with this years success, Gregory said.
And the success has become international as well. Gregory recently met
with a delegation from Taiwan that was familiar with Kentucky Fried
Chicken and wanted to know more about Kentucky bourbon as a result.
Ninety-five percent of the worlds bourbon is made in Kentucky,
which totals 60 different brands. Kentucky has the natural resources,
limestone and water, to continue creating a marketable product that
has been made in Kentucky for centuries.
Many distilleries are offering gourmet food, special tours, homemade
egg nog, and gift shops stocked with ideas for holiday gift shopping
throughout the Christmas season.
are some special events:
n Makers Mark in Loretto, Ky., near Bardstown, will be offering
two annual candlelight tours from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 and
Dec. 12. For more information, call (270) 865-2099 or for a shuttle
tour from Louisville, visit: www.MintJulipTours.com.
n Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort lights up the distillery and
kicks off the holiday season at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3. For more information,
n Woodford Reserve Distillery Visitor Center will host
an annual Holiday Open House near Versailles from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
on Dec. 12. Homemade baked goods and candy cane infused Bourbon will
be available for sampling. For more information, call (859) 879-1872
or visit: www.WoodfordReserve.com.
n Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Center has the largest indoor
Christmas tree and indoor decorations in Nelson County. An Open House
will be held on Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15. For more information, visit:
More information can be found at www.KyBourbonSpirit.com
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