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My trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2016

Posted on by Eric Burke

Kentucky Bourbon Festival sign.

Every September, I hop in the car and head to Kentucky. It's my yearly trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. It lasts a week, and I go for a week but, our paths don't usually cross until Wednesday night. Sure, the ticketed events can be fun, but there are plenty of other things to do in Kentucky, BourbonFest is just the excuse. Here was my week. 

KOA cabin in Shepardsville, KY.

I "camped."

It's a small trailer with a fridge, shower and a nice bed. But it had a firepit and you smelled of campfire every night when you went to bed. I say that counts. And the KOA is about halfway between Bardstown and Louisville. Which makes it easy to get to either of them. 

a cart full of bourbon I can't get at home.

I Shopped

This photo is at the Party Source, near Cincinatti, I was meeting an Internet friend In Real Life for the first time. But I did plenty more of this in both Louisville and Bardstown.

 A Bourbon on the bar at the Silver Dollar

I Had a Drink

The Silver Dollar is by far my favorite place to grab a drink in Louisville. Tons of good bourbon—great house picks—and a little brisket and mac 'n cheese to go with it.

Jim Beam Distillery.

I Visited Distilleries. Distilleries Big...

Glenn's Creek Distillery at Old Crow.

...And Distilleries Little.

Barton 1792 Distillery

I visited Distilleries real,...

The Bulleit Experience at Stitzel Weller Distillery

...Distilleries fanciful,...

The ruins of Old Crow Distillery at Glenn's Creek Distillery

...And Distilleries Abandoned

All of these distilleries brought an opportunity to have fun that I wouldn't have given up. Maybe it was wandering through the ruins of an abandoned whiskey factory after getting geeky with the guys that ended up capturing it's yeast, seeing a historic distillery that's been wrapped in Disneyland-style make-believe or just running into Fred Noe at Jim Beam. 

The bar at the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace

I had a drink.

Because, seriously, did you expect me to spend the entire week there and only stop once? This one was at the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace. A store with a bar attached to it. They won the contest for the official Festival Cocktail this year. It was quite tasty.

The Woodford Reserve table at the All-Star Sampler

I did still go to the All-Star Sampler.

Why do I keep going to this. Firstly, I almost always meet friends there. It's gotten a little expensive at $75 per person this year, but there aren't that many events where I know I'll see a good chunk of my Kentucky friends in one place and maybe even meet one or two more while I'm there. I also broadcast live from the event on Periscope.

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style

Plus you might get to try something new...

The new Packaging for Elijah Craig Small Batch

...or just something that looks new.

A breakfast cocktail at Four Roses

I had Breakfast at Four Roses during Let's Talk Bourbon

There was actual food too. Eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits, gravy, cheese grits, pastries, fruit, coffee, water, juice, and more. Plus you got to listen to question and answer sessions with Al Young and Master Distiller, Brent Elliott.

The Master Distiller's Auction to raise money for the Getz Museum

I didn't buy anything at the Master Distiller's Auction.

But I still had a lot of fun watching people pay multiple thousands of dollars for whiskey. We bid a few times, but only helped drive the price higher. I bought very little out on the lawn outside the museum either, but I did broadcast a taste of it on Periscope as well.

Friends and I gathered in Bardstown

I spent time with friends, old and new. 

There were very few days when I didn't spend at least a little time with friends while I was there. Dinner, drinks, cake, talks over lunch or into the night. These were my favorite times during the trip. They are the reason I keep going back.

Well, that and the Bourbon.


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