Barton 1792 Distillery
Sophisticated and complex. A distinctly different bourbon created with precise craftsmanship. Made from our signature “high rye” recipe and the marriage of select barrels carefully chosen by our Master Distiller. 1792 Bourbon has an expressive and elegant flavor profile. Unmistakable spice mingles with sweet caramel and vanilla to create a bourbon that is incomparably brash and bold, yet smooth and balanced. Elevating whiskey to exceptional new heights, 1792 Bourbon is celebrated by connoisseurs worldwide.
Producer, "Neat: The Story Of Bourbon"
AJ is the producer of “NEAT: The Story of Bourbon”, a documentary spotlight on the bourbon industry and culture. AJ worked to sign “NEAT” to an international distribution deal with The Orchard, ensuring every bourbon fans ability to enjoy and appreciate the unique characters and storyline of bourbon across the globe. NEAT has received glowing reviews from The LA Times, Devour, and Garden and Gun and has been on the Top Ten Chart for documentaries on iTunes since its release. AJ is also film composer, writing music for the some of the largest brands in the world (Facebook, GE, Mercedes Benz, Nat Geo). His music has been heard on the stages of The Oscars (Body Team 12: 2016 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short) and The Sundance Film Festival (Blood Brother: 2013 Grand Jury Winner Feature Documentary).
AJ resides in Lexington, KY with his family and along with spending time with them, he enjoys fishing and repurposing old buildings such as the event venue “The Livery” in downtown Lexington and the Old Merit Furniture building which is now the popular restaurant and brewery “Oscar Diggs”. AJ has the ability to turn a unique idea into a real thing: whether that be musically, on the big screen, or through new and improved piece of real estate.
Master of Maturation, V.P. & G.M., Michter’s Distillery
Andrea is Michter’s Master of Maturation as well as its Vice President – General Manager. As Michter’s Master of Maturation supporting Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann, Andrea manages barrel specifications, barrel procurement, heat cycling and temperature monitoring during aging, tracking maturation of barrels, whiskey filtration in preparation for bottling, and innovation to continue to improve the aging process. Andrea is admired for her accomplishments in the whiskey industry and has been involved in all aspects of making Michter’s whiskeys. Prior to joining Michter’s, Andrea spent over ten years with Diageo in various whiskey related positions including Director of Distillation and Maturation, North America – overseeing both the U.S. and Canadian distillation and maturation programs. Prior to her departure from Diageo she was the company’s Director of Whiskey Strategy for North American operations. Becoming the first woman to ever serve as Chair of the Kentucky Distillers Association is among the many honors achieved by Andrea during her illustrious career. She holds a Master of Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Louisville, and she has been highlighted in the KET television documentary, Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Distilling the Family Business.
Angel's Envy Distillery
Angel’s Envy is a bourbon finished in port barrels and inspired by Lincoln Henderson’s lifetime spent crafting the world’s finest spirits. Given the Highest Recommendation by F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal, celebrated by Whisky Advocate, The Bourbon Review and awarded Wine Enthusiast’s highest bourbon rating, Angel’s Envy is two fingers of the finest whiskey you’ve ever tasted.
Co-Owner & Marketing Manager, Jeptha Creed Distillery
Autumn comes by her love of distilling honestly—her mother is Jeptha Creed master distiller and co-owner Joyce Nethery. But it took a year at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, studying the craft with some of the best distillers in the world to truly ignite her passion. Now Autumn is among the youngest distillery owners in the country and an integral part of making Jeptha Creed one of Kentucky’s most groundbreaking distilleries.
Using what she learned traveling abroad with Semester at Sea, as well as through her studies at the University of Kentucky, where she earned her Bachelor’s in marketing, Autumn’s dream is to expand Jeptha Creed’s reach into every state, while still keeping the family feel the distillery is known for. She’s wholly committed to keeping Jeptha Creed spirits as natural and authentic as possible, so customers can always trust what’s in the bottle.
Bardstown Bourbon Company
The Bardstown Bourbon Company is a celebration of the art of making whiskey and the community responsible for helping bring it to the world. No secrets. No hidden recipes. Located on 100 acres of active farmland in the “Bourbon Capital of the World,” the Bardstown Bourbon Company:
· Produces high-quality, authentic Kentucky bourbon, whiskey, and rye brands;
· Offers complete custom whiskey production for customers in its Collaborative Distilling Program;
· Provides a unique, entertaining, educational, and interactive destination experience for visitors on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with a full-service restaurant, bar and vintage whiskey library that is scheduled to open in May 2018.
Barrell Craft Spirits, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is an independent bottler of unique, aged, cask-strength sourced whiskey and rum spirits. We conceive of, design, launch, and talk about Spirits with a focus on what people want now and not what has been successful in the past. This affords us access to some of the most interesting and delicious spirits in the world.
Barrell Craft Spirits blends products that explore the unique effects of different distillation methods, barrels and aging environments, and bottles them at cask strength. Every batch is produced as a limited release and has an intentionally distinct flavor profile. Barrell Craft Spirits has received numerous awards including Best Bourbon, Best Small Batch Bourbon, Double Gold and Best Over Proof Rum at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Jim Beam Distillery
Late in the 18th century, Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. left his Maryland home for the greener pastures of Kentucky, bringing his family and reputation with him. Not yet privy to the old guard’s ‘rules’ of bourbon, legend has it that Basil set out to make a batch simply using the ingredients he had on hand, unaware of what the traditionalists might think of his mash. What resulted was a bourbon with a uniquely high-rye mashbill, combining the sweetness of corn with the spicy undertones of rye. The purists may have been displeased, but not the neighbors who tried it. Over 200 years later, the Noe family pays tribute to Basil’s masterful discovery with a high-rye, small batch bourbon that embodies the spirit of that very first recipe.
Bernie Lubbers is the Whiskey Brand Ambassador for Heaven Hill Distillery. A veteran comedian of 25 years and an accomplished author, he is not only entertaining, but also extremely knowledgeable about Bourbon. Dubbed The Whiskey Professor, he can tell you more about Bourbon than you ever thought possible. He has been named Global Whiskey Ambassador of the Year by Whisky Magazine at Whisky Live in 2009, 2012 and 2016.
His draw toward Bourbon is natural. His grandfather was one of 13 saloon keepers who started the Falls City Brewing Company in Louisville, KY back in 1905. His father also worked there for 45 years. “Before you make whiskey, you’ve got to make beer,” Bernie says.
Each year, he travels over 100,000 miles educating people about Heaven Hill’s whiskeys including but not limited to Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Larceny, Bernheim and Henry McKenna. In addition to traditional account trainings and consumer events, Bernie also performs his one-of-a-kind show “The Evolution of Bourbon”, which walks people through the history of Bourbon through music. He also educates consumers on how to read a whiskey label and what to look for before making a purchase. When he’s home, he spends time at the Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, Kentucky where he learns first hand from Craig Beam and Denny Potter, Co-Master Distillers for Heaven Hill Distillery.
Bourbon Whiskey – Our Native Spirit is Bernie’s recently published book on Bourbon. The book includes a comprehensive overview on Bourbon including how it’s distilled and aged, why it was distilled, and how it became aged in the first place. It is published by Blue River Press and now available nationwide at www.whiskeyprof.com and select book stores nationwide.
Beth Burrows is the Kentucky Bourbon Ambassador for Beam Suntory. A New York Native, she grew up in the restaurant and education world. At a young age, Beth worked in her family’s restaurant as a busser and recycling specialist. With a teacher for a Mother, a Chef for a step-father, and a childhood rooted in hospitality, she naturally developed a sophisticated palate and a passion for educating and leading others.
Her passion for bourbon came many years later, while she was working behind the stick in Louisville, KY. It was there that she quickly found a love for bourbon education and cocktail mixology, developing bar programs and competing in numerous cocktail competitions. Over the span of three years, Beth moved up the ranks of Down One Bourbon Bar – from server to General Manager, where she garnered respect and praise from both colleagues and customers. Her time in the restaurant world and constant involvement in the cocktail community prepared her for her current role where she utilizes her cultivated palate, broad bourbon education, and cocktail background to bring a new dimension to the Beam Ambassador position. Beth has spent the last five years of her career learning under masters of the bourbon and cocktail crafting world.
When she is not spreading the good word of Jim Beam Bourbon, you can find her jamming to nineties music, writing cocktail recipes and attempting to cultivate the next perfect bourbon & food pairing. A photographer by trade, Beth spends most of her free time behind the lens.
Blade and Bow
Blade & Bow: From the Cathedral of Bourbon, where industry legends worked, comes Blade and Bow. Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is born from some of the oldest remaining whiskey stocks to be distilled at Stitzel Weller, using the solera aging system to preserve the original stocks. This solera liquid is then mingled with other fine whiskeys, aged and bottled at Stitzel Weller, just outside of Louisville, Kentucky.
Blake Riber started Bourbonr in 2013 to share his bourbon reviews and musings. Bourbonr is known for coining the term “Poor Man’s Pappy” as well as the annual BTAC and Pappy Van Winkle release maps. Along with the limited-edition bourbon fandom, Bourbonr hosts a monthly blind tasting. These blind tastings highlight how reviews change when the labels and marketing is stripped away. Over the years the Bourbonr readership grew to 32,000+ email subscribers. It also includes one of the largest, and most active, bourbon Facebook groups.
The finest bourbon in the world comes from a single barrel. It is never blended with whiskey from any other barrel. It’s a costly, painstaking way to produce bourbon. For a bourbon’s peak maturity varies from barrel to barrel and only a master distiller can determine the exact moment whiskey has extracted enough flavor from the wood. He vigilantly monitors each barrel until aged to perfection.
Bloody Butcher’s Creed
The first batch of our experimental line, this limited edition bourbon will give you a taste of what’s coming in 2019. Made with our bloody butcher corn back in 2014 as a trial run for our corn, it’s ready to come out of the barrel and into your home. Enjoy its fruity aromas and soft oaky taste neat or on the rocks.
About Jeptha Creed:
Located in Shelbyville, KY, Jeptha Creed Distillery uses old fashioned methods to meet today’s demanding modern tastes. They use only the finest ingredients, locally grown and sourced to ensure their products meet the highest expectations for quality and flavor. Owned and operated by dynamic mother and daughter duo Joyce and Autumn Nethery, Jeptha Creed sits on 64 acres of farmland, where they grow the Bloody Butcher Corn used for all of their products, including vodka, moonshine, and bourbon.
Booker’s® Bourbon is a rare barrel-strength bourbon, bottled uncut and unfiltered*. But you obviously know a good bit about bourbon, because you don’t end up here by mistake. We don’t advertise. We don’t do social media. We just do bourbon.
We focus on the sweet spot. The center of the rackhouse where the temperature and humidity stars align to create the deepest and most intense flavors. Once it’s aged to perfection, which always varies, the liquid is bottled uncut and unfiltered*. We don’t add, we don’t water down, and we don’t apologize for it. For some people, it may be too much. But for true bourbon fans, it’s probably the best ever.
Reminiscent of the days when bourbon was celebrated as the life-blood of the region, our new distillery is 5,000 square feet set on 2.5 acres. It includes a 500-gallon pot still, four fermenters and a small bottling line with a capacity of hundreds of barrels of small batch bourbon a year. Barrels will be stored on site, in a 3,000-square-foot warehouse behind the distillery. In every detail of our operation, we’ve respected our history while investing in our future. Our tag line, “Made by Ghosts®,” harkens to the early pioneers who crafted spirits in Boone County more than 100 years ago.
Boone County Distilling Co. is a proud member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. We are open to the public for guided tours and tastings Wednesday-Sunday. We offer a behind the scenes grain to glass experience and a tasting of our available products.
BOONE COUNTY DISTILLING BACK PORCH
At this back porch, let Boone County Distilling retell history with every sip of bourbon. You’ll find this open-air bar is the perfect spot to enjoy a selection of Boone County bourbons and craft cocktails.
Official Podcast Of Bourbon
Bourbon Pursuit is the official podcast of bourbon featuring interviews with people making the bourbon industry happen. Hosted by Kenny Coleman and Ryan Cecil, they showcase master distillers, brand ambassadors, industry pundits, published authors, bloggers, enthusiasts and more to share their story. Capturing the essence of what makes whiskey so enjoyable and the personalities of people behind it all. The weekly audio and video podcast keeps listeners up to date on current news, speculations, and opinions on a potpourri of bourbon questions. You can listen to every episode on iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, or your favorite podcast app.
Bourbon & Beyond is proud to offer festivalgoers access to bourbon’s best and brightest in a series of free and intimate workshops throughout the weekend.
Entry to The Bourbon Workshops is first-come, first-serve.
Follow us on social media to be the first to find out about our distilling, bartending, pairing, and cooking workshops.
Check out all of this year’s workshops:
Jack & Jim: What’s the difference?
“Bourbon & Beyond makes history with our Jack & Jim seminar, which will showcase the world’s two best-selling American whiskeys and dissect an often polarizing subject. We want to entertain and educate, but this seminar is taking whiskey discussions to another level and is akin to the Beatles and Rolling Stones sharing the stage,” says Fred Minnick. “This is a rare opportunity to witness a live bourbon event that will never be duplicated.” For the first time in America, Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett joins Jim Beam’s master distiller Fred Noe on the stage to discuss the differences between the world’s top 2-selling American whiskeys. Witness history and learn why these two juggernauts have opened many doors for all of bourbon.
Moderated by Fred Minnick
Panelists: Jeff Arnett, master distiller for Jack Daniel’s; and Fred Noe, master distiller for Jim Beam.
Family Affair: The Russells
Every industry has its biggest rockstar. In bourbon, Wild Turkey’s master distiller Jimmy Russell has the nickname “Buddha of Bourbon” for a reason. He shares the bourbon bond with his son, master distiller Eddie Russell, and grandson, Bruce.
Moderated by Fred Minnick
Featuring: Jimmy, Eddie and Bruce Russell
Family Affair: The Van Winkles & The Kulsveens
When people hear the names Pappy Van Winkle and Willett, hysteria ensues as they are willing to camp out to buy a bottle. These are the families behind the most collectible bourbons. They tell the stories of growing up in the business, when bourbon wasn’t cool and how they helped bring bourbon back. Here’s a hint: They share the bourbon passion.
Moderated by Fred Minnick
Featuring: Julian, Preston and Carrie Van Winkle; Britt Kulsveen, president, and Drew Kulsveen, master distiller of Willett.
My Daddy was a Moonshiner
When moonshiners ran from the law, they drove in the cover of the darkness. But Thomas Wade Daniels decided to break his family nighttime distilling practices and make legitimate whiskey. Fortunately, the statute of limitations have passed for him to tell his family story.
Moderated by Fred Minnick
Featuring: Thomas Wade Daniels, distiller for Wadelyn Ranch Distillery
Oil and Water: The Chemistry of Good Food & Drink
When bourbon hits the barrel, a chemical transformation begins that creates most of those yummy flavors. Food faces similar chemical changes, as chefs use certain oils and temperatures, among other things, to create their magical flavors. This is chemistry in the barrel and the pan.
Moderated by Fred Minnick
Featuring: Andrea Wilson, master of maturation for Michter’s and Tom Colicchio
The Audacity of Sourced Whiskey
A common practice in whiskey is for bottlers to purchase barrels from distillers and create their own brands. Sometimes this is frowned upon. In an open and honest conversation, panelists discuss one of the most controversial whiskey topics of the past decade.
Moderated by Kenny Coleman, Bourbon Pursuit
Featuring: Smooth Ambler’s John Foster, Boone County’s Josh Quinn, and Castle & Key’s Marianne Eaves
We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Master Distiller
In an industry that covets its master distillers, the truth is, it’s a team effort and most bourbons have many team members involved. Let’s discover what it means to be a master distiller and how it’s really a master distiller team.
Moderated by Blake Riber, bourbonr.com founder
Featuring: Kaveh Zamanian, founder of Rabbit Hole, and Jim Rutledge, distillery consultant
BS: The Legends & Lore of American whiskey
If you’ve read a whiskey label, you may have seen a tall tale. These bourbon historians and storytellers share their favorite legends.
Moderated by Mark Gillespie, WhiskyCast
Featuring: Fred Minnick, Heaven Hill’s Bernie Lubbers, Buffalo Trace’s Freddie Johnson and Chuck Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight
Bourbon remains the best value in whiskey, and the inexpensive brands get the same care and attention as the limited edition products. Discover why $9 to $30 bourbon exists and why it still tastes awesome.
Moderated by Samara Rivers, Black Bourbon Society
Featuring: Beth Burrows, mixologist for Jim Beam; and Josh Hollifield, Barton 1792 Distillery
Beer and Bourbon
Did you know bourbon is distilled beer? And that many beers age in former bourbon barrels? These two dynamic drinks share a lot of production techniques. In this seminar, you’ll learn why both categories depend upon fermentation technique and the bourbon barrel is quickly becoming beer’s best friend.
Moderated by AJ Hochhalter, creator of the film NEAT: The Story of Bourbon
Featuring: Cicerone Gary Valentine; Jane Bowie, master of maturation for Maker’s Mark; Castle & Key’s Marianne Eaves, Jack Colt; Lagunitas, and Pat Heist, Wilderness Trail Distillery
Hidden in local bars and liquor stores are the rarest bourbons in the world. We’re talking private barrel picks that can only be available in these bars and vintage whiskey, some dating back to the 1800s. And the fact is once those bottles are gone, there will never be another bourbon like them.
Moderated by Kenny Coleman, Bourbon Pursuit
Featuring: Larry Rice, owner of Silver Dollar; Drew Kulsveen, master distiller of Willett; and Jane Bowie, master of maturation for Maker’s Mark
Executive Round Table
The bourbon industry enjoys unprecedented recent success, but challenges remain. Join these industry executives as they talk the ups and downs of the business, and what lies ahead.
Moderated by Fred Minnick & Brian Lowe, Chief Commercial Officer Verdant Commercial Capital/Dallas Bourbon Club
Featuring: Joseph Magliocco, president of Michter’s; Kaveh Zamanian, founder of Rabbit Hole; Campbell Brown, president of Old Forester; John Little, founder of Smooth Ambler; Jay Erisman, co-founder of New Riff; and Corky Taylor, founder of Peerless
Change: The Cultural Evolution in Food & Drink
Today’s world looks much different than the 1950s. And both food and drink have been dynamic in the cultural shift in America. This seminar examines the new whiskey Uncle Nearest, named after the enslaved person who taught Jack Daniel to distill, and diversity in the kitchen. Over the past decade, these panelists have dedicated their careers to presenting social equality in food and drink.
Moderator: Fred Minnick
Panelists: Fawn Weaver, founder of Uncle Nearest. Tom Colicchio, Top Chef
Let Us Entertain You
Let’s face it: Bourbon is cool at parties. But you want to do more than just have a bottle sitting on the table. After attending this game-changing entertainment seminar, you may want to find new excuses to throw bourbon-theme parties.
Moderated by Peggy Noe Stevens, founder of Bourbon Women
Featuring: Sara Barnes, Boone County
Food Pairings: Beef & Bourbon
We like to pair rich red wines with beef. But why not bourbon? Some say a good bourbon is better with steak than a complex Cabernet.
Moderated by Peggy Noe Stevens, founder of Bourbon Women
Featuring: Jose Salazar, Chef; Kevin Ashworth, Chef; Stacie Stewart, Milkwood & Whiskey Dry; Michter’s Andrea Wilson
Food Pairings: Bird & Bourbon
Kentucky is the land of fried chicken and bourbon. And it’s almost a right of passage to enjoy grandma’s fried chicken with bourbon. But America’s spirit pairs with more bird than the chicken. It’s a food pairing delight!
Moderated by Steve Coomes, Bourbon Women
Featuring: Larry Rice, owner of Silver Dollar; Tim Laird, Coopers’ Craft and Old Forester; and chef David Danielson, executive chef of Churchill Downs; Alex Thomopolous, Chef; Anthony Lamas, Chef own of Seviche
Local Grains, Big Fame
Did you know most grain used in Kentucky bourbon comes from local farms? It’s true and many distilleries have farmer relationships spanning several generations. In fact, some grow their own grains. This is bourbon’s best-kept secret.
Moderated by Maggie Kimberl, bourbon writer
Featuring: Autumn Nethery, distiller for Jeptha Creed; Greg Davis, master distiller for Maker’s Mark; Ray Garcia, Chef
Up The Barrel
The bourbon barrel creation is a thing of beauty. In this detailed seminar, you’ll learn how the barrel is constructed, why it’s charred and how it imparts flavor.
Moderated by Colleen Thomas, Kentucky Distillers’ Association
Featuring: Chris Morris, master distiller for Woodford Reserve
This new category of barrel finishes is changing what we know about American whiskey flavor. From port to sherries, once alien barrels now enter the picture. Even though not all purists are on board, barrel finished bourbon offers American whiskey a bright future.
Moderated by Brian Haara, author of Bourbon Justice
Featuring: Angel’s Envy’s Wes Henderson; Elizabeth McCall, assistant master distiller for Woodford Reserve; Trey Zoeller, master blender for Jefferson’s; John Hargrove, director of operations for Bardstown Bourbon Co.; and Ryan Burk, Angry Orchard
The Art of Mingling and Blending
Making bourbon is part art and science, but the mingling (or blending) aspect is pure art. In this seminar, you’ll learn how master blenders develop their palates and create the flavors to be bottled later.
Moderated by Susan Reigler, Bourbon Women
Featuring: Joe Beatrice, founder of Barrell Bourbon; John Little, founder and head distiller of Smooth Ambler
In the past 20 years, distillers have pushed the envelope on malted barley, a grain once thought add little to no flavor in bourbon. Now, some say it’s the grain of the future, while distillers are malting corn, rye and other grains. Welcome to the new era of malts in bourbon.
Moderated by Matt Preston, co-founder and president of the Lexington Bourbon Society
Featuring: Kaveh Zamanian, founder of Rabbit Hole Distillery; Tripp Stimson, master distiller for Barrell Bourbon; and Paul Tomaszewski, co-founder and master distiller of MB Roland Distillery
Bourbon Mixology: How to Get Sour
Many judge a bar by its ability to make a whiskey sour, a simple cocktail steeped in history. But sours are so important to the modern bar that to know the special professional tricks can make all the difference in a good and great drink.
Moderated by Old Forester and Coopers’ Craft’s Tim Laird
Featuring: Death & Co.; Jeremy Johnson, Mixologist, Meta Louisville
Bourbon Mixology: Slushie Time
Who knew that bourbon slushies would become all the rage? Even slushie haters will change their mind after tasting what’s in store on this panel.
Moderated by Kerri Richardson, president of Bourbon Women
Featuring: Doug Kragel, national educator for Diageo North American whiskey; and Silver Dollar’s Susie Hoyt
Bourbon Mixology: Higher Proof
When high proofed bourbons are used in cocktails, the bourbon flavor dominates. But there are tricks to get as much flavor as possible from the overall drink.
Moderated by Peggy Noe Stevens, founder of Bourbon Women
Featuring: Jim Beam’s Beth Burrows and Molly Wellmann, owner and mixologist of Japp’s Since 1879
Bottled & Bond: The Past & Future
Once a forgotten category, the historic bottled-in-bond bourbons resurge in today’s culture thanks to the new blood entering the game. In this important seminar, New Riff Distillery showcases its bottled-in-bond bourbon, while the category’s champion, Bernie Lubbers, discusses why this more than 100 year old act still matters today.
Moderated by Fred Minnick
Featuring: Jay Erisman, co-founder of New Riff; and Bernie Lubbers, brand ambassador for Heaven Hill.
Want to get the basics of bourbon? These rotating speakers will set you straight.
Featuring: Fred Minnick, Maggie Kimbrel, Susan Reigler and Bernie Lubbers.
Once distilled once a year, rye’s rising up the ranks in the hearts of American whiskey drinkers. Is it replacing bourbon? Does it complement bourbon? And why is rye finally taking off?
Moderated by Carla Carlton, Bourbon Women
Featuring: Harlen Wheatley, master distiller for Buffalo Trace; Kyle Henderson, distiller for Angel’s Envy, Caleb Kilburn, head distiller of Peerless; and Denny Potter, master distiller of Heaven Hill
A Look Back to the 1990s
It’s hard to imagine, but bourbon wasn’t always this cool. The 1990s were the decade bourbon started to catch a little domestic spark, and these folks were in the trenches bringing bourbon back.
Moderated by Mark Gillespie, WhiskyCast
Featuring: Chuck Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight; Trey Zoeller, master blender for Jefferson’s; and Susan Reigler, author of Kentucky Bourbon Country
John, Abraham, Joseph and Isaac Bowman were Virginia militia officers in the American Revolutionary War. In 1779, they led thirty pioneer families to Madison County, Kentucky and established Bowman’s Station. Later, the brothers helped establish and settle Fayette County. They were legends, admired and respected by fellow settlers for their courage and bravery. This hand-crafted bourbon whiskey is a tribute to these four heroic Bowman Brothers.
Author, "Bourbon Justice"
Brian Haara has practiced law in Louisville, Kentucky for over 20 years, currently as co-managing member of Tachau Meek PLC, a business litigation boutique firm, where he likes to think that it’s the type of firm that Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. would have hired for his overabundance of litigation. Recognized by Martindale-Hubble, Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers, Brian’s practice includes litigation of business (including bourbon trademark litigation), insurance, and real estate disputes, and he is a frequent speaker on those issues.
While already a bourbon enthusiast for decades, Brian happened upon an 1881 lawsuit where James E. Pepper had sued Labrot & Graham over Labrot & Graham’s continued use of the name “Old Oscar Pepper Distillery,” which had been owned by James’s father and grandfather, but which James lost in bankruptcy after his father died. The story played out better than fiction, and he was hooked.
After finding other cases of significant bourbon historical value, Brian discovered that bourbon law tracks the growth of the United States, from conquering the wild frontier, to rugged individualism, to the entrepreneurial spirit, to establishing a nation of laws. American law developed along with the bourbon industry, both of which in turn track the evolution and growth of the United States.
The interplay between bourbon, law, and history led Brian to blogging as Sipp’n Corn®, which quickly developed into media credentials, collaboration with retailers to select private barrels, and ultimately his forthcoming book, “Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America” (Potomac Books, 2018).
Chief Commercial Officer, Verdant Commercial Capital/Dallas Bourbon Club
Brian Lowe has over 15 years of diversified commercial experience selling and leading teams across multiple industries and functions with a proven ability to establish and grow relationships with potential and existing Vendors.
He is currently the Chief Commercial Officer at Verdant Commercial Finance. Verdant is an Independent Equipment Finance Company and is headquartered in Cincinnati, OH but Brian runs the Commercial Team out of Dallas, TX.
He previously worked for over 8 years at GE Capital where he joined through their Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP). At GE he was able to move around the Country and work at their various businesses; Enterprise, Corporate Lending, Franchise Finance and Vendor Finance. You name the equipment (forklift, machine tool, bulldozer, truck/trailer, etc.), Brian has likely worked with a Vendor to help them sell that equipment through financing.
Brian is also President of the Dallas Bourbon Club (DBC) which is a +60 person group of folks that focus on (3) things; a passion for whiskey and bourbon, networking around Dallas-Fort Worth, and giving back to the local community through DBC’s philanthropic efforts.
He is a graduate of Virginia Tech where he received his BS in Finance and he received his MBA from Emory University. He is married to his wife, Shannon, and they are currently expecting their first child.
President, Willett Distillery
If Britt were a whiskey she would be Pure Kentucky, the Gemini of Bourbons. Like this aptly named whiskey, Britt is vibrant, bold and spicy. Britt is a native of Bardstown, KY and graduate of Louisiana State University where she studied political science and responsible consumption. Britt also studied distillation at L’allemond Ethanol Tech in Montreal, Quebec. In 2005, following the wake of hurricane Katrina, Britt returned home to join the family distilling business. Britt and her brother Drew represent the family’s fifth generation to work at the Willett Distillery since its construction in 1936. As President, Britt is responsible for everything from compliance to strategy and development. Britt and her cheerful daughter Scout enjoy entertaining and cooking together (most especially purple, chocolate chip pancakes) in their historic home located in the most beautiful small town in America. Britt’s commitment to positive thinking has an infectious and uplifting impact on friends, family and coworkers.
Brand Ambassador, Wild Turkey
At 27, Bruce Russell is astutely aware of the Bourbon legacy he was born into. The son and grandson of legendary Bourbon distillers Eddie and Jimmy Russell, Bruce displays the same trademark Russell good humor and humility when speaking of his famous family. Bourbon is in Bruce’s blood, as he becomes the fourth generation of Russell to forge a career in the American Whiskey arena – at a time in spirits history when American Whiskey is becoming a global phenomenon.
Growing up in the shadow of the distillery and his larger than life lineage, it was practically inevitable that Bruce would join the family business. Following graduation from the University of Kentucky in 2014, Bruce worked as an apprentice, learning from the world’s only active father-son Master Distillers, first as a tour guide, and inevitably, as a Brand Ambassador. The youngest Russell is getting a taste of what Eddie and Jimmy already know… there are worse ways to make a living than being paid to talk Bourbon – and spreading the gospel of Wild Turkey and Russell’s Reserve one glass at a time.
Bruce knew he’d learn a lot about the ‘Jimmy’ way of making Bourbon, what he didn’t expect was how much he’d learn about his father and grandfather themselves. Anybody can google Bourbon and pick up the basics, the right mash bill, oak barrels, alligator char and just the right amount of time in the rick house. The youngest Russell, like his forefathers before him, are learning that while making good whiskey is a science, making great Bourbon is an art.
Bruce is trying to ignite that same excitement in his role as Brand Ambassador – spending 90 percent of his time on the road meeting with retailers, distributors, and customers to discuss the work Jimmy and Eddie are doing, which can be anything from introducing new products to delving into the unique way we do things. He gets the most joy when someone enjoys the whiskey that his father and grandfather have spent their lives trying to perfect. Educating others on what makes not only our Bourbon, but all Bourbon special, has become his life’s passion to this point.
A resident of Austin, TX, Bruce spends his free time enjoying the local bar and nightlife scene.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Ancient buffalo carved paths through the wilderness that led American pioneers and explorers to new frontiers. One such trail led to the banks of the Kentucky River where Buffalo Trace Distillery has been making bourbon whiskey the same way for more than 200 years. In tribute to the mighty buffalo and the rugged, independent spirit of the pioneers who followed them, we created our signature Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Bulleit: With a recipe inspired by his great-great grandfather, Augustus Bulleit, Tom Bulleit started the Bulleit Distilling Company in 1987. The Bulleit signature recipe calls for an exceptionally high proportion of rye grain, resulting in a distinctively spicy, dry and clean taste that sets it apart from traditional bourbons.
Author & Journalist, The Bourbon Babe
Carla Carlton, “The Bourbon Babe,” is an award-winning bourbon journalist, author and speaker. She covers the bourbon industry on her website, TheBourbonBabe.com, which has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and in the Washington Post and The New York Times, and is a regular contributor to The Whiskey Wash. Her first book, Barrel Strength Bourbon: The Explosive Growth of America’s Whiskey, was published by Clerisy Press in June 2017, along with companion ebooks Still Life: The Resurgence of Craft Bourbon and Spirited Perfection: Building Your Bourbon Bar. She is an Executive Bourbon Steward and member of the Stave & Thief Society and a charter member and former board member of Bourbon Women, an international networking organization for women who are passionate about exploring bourbon and its culture. A Louisville, Ky., native, Carla was an editor at The Courier-Journal for nearly two decades and is now Director of Development Communications at Bellarmine University, a private liberal-arts university.
Pappy & Company
As the great-granddaughter of bourbon legend Pappy Van Winkle, Carrie, saw an opportunity to build a lifestyle brand defined by her heritage. Rooted in principles of quality, style and tradition, Pappy & Company started in 2013 with sisters Louise and Chenault. They have grown the business into a lifestyle brand that includes culinary, home, apparel and gift items. What ties the collection together are high quality products and ingredients, working with regional artisans, and an appreciation for the finer things in life. The company is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, where Carrie often visits, meanwhile Sun Valley, Idaho is home for her and her family.
Master Distiller, Woodford Reserve
Bourbon Hall of Famer Chris Morris is Master Distiller for Brown-Forman Corporation, the seventh since the company began in 1870. A Louisville native, he has spent his working life in the Bourbon industry. He is responsible for maintaining the award-winning taste of the whiskies produced at the Woodford.
Reserve and Old Forester Distilleries. Additionally, he serves as a brand ambassador for Brown-Forman at numerous trade and consumer functions.
Morris grew up around Bourbon, as he is one of three generations of his family to work at
Brown-Forman. His career began in 1976 as a trainee in the central lab working for the Master
Distiller. In 1988 he went to work for Glenmore Distilleries Company and joined United
Distillers through its acquisition of Glenmore in 1991.
In 1997 he returned to Brown-Forman and was chosen to begin training as Brown-Forman
Master Distiller, a position he has held since 2003. In 2002 he developed the Old Forester
Birthday Bourbon product and more recently the brand’s Whiskey Row Series.
At Woodford Reserve, he developed the Masters Collection, Woodford Reserve Double Oaked,
Rye and Distillery Series products. In 2015, Morris was given the additional responsibility of
Vice President of Whiskey Innovation for Brown-Forman.
As a student of the industry Morris authored the Society of Wine Educators Certified Spirits
Specialist program introduced the use of tasting notes for Bourbon in 1992 and developed the
Bourbon Flavor Wheel in 2004.
Morris has served on the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Kentucky Bourbon Festival’s
Board of Directors, and is Chairman of the Order of the Writ Society. He has served as a
Whisky judge at the IWSC and ISC competitions and Co-chair of the DISCUS Master Distillers
Author, "Bourbon, Strange"
Charles K. ‘Chuck’ Cowdery is “the dean of American whiskey journalism” according to The New York Times.* He is a Kentucky Colonel (Patton, 206), a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame (2009), and the author of:
• Bourbon, Strange: Surprising Stories of American Whiskey (2014)
• The Best Bourbon You’ll Never Taste. The True Story of A. H. Hirsch Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Distilled in the Spring of 1974 (2012)
• Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey
He is the producer/director/writer of the public television documentary “Made and Bottled in Kentucky” (1992).
Other books include Blues Legends (1995), 20 profiles of notable blues musicians. Cowdery was a contributor to the book 1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die (2012).
He is a regular contributor to Whisky Advocate Magazine, and the editor and publisher of The Bourbon Country Reader, the oldest publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey. In 2012, Cowdery was cited by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals as an expert on the history and marketing of American whiskey in Maker’s Mark v Diageo. He wrote the ‘Bourbon’ article in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 7, Foodways (2007). He is available for speaking appearances and guided tastings. He lives in Chicago, Illinois, near Wrigley Field.
Director of Member And Public Affairs, KDA
Colleen Thomas joined the KDA in 2016 as Bourbon Ambassador and was promoted to Director of Member and Public Affairs in 2017. She is responsible for providing support and resources to KDA members and the recruitment and on-boarding of new members. In addition, she manages media relations and executes events and special projects to further enhance the industry’s rich heritage, strengthen its community relations and encourage the responsible consumption of spirits. Colleen is = based out of KDA’s Louisville office.
Thomas previously served as Marketing Director for Louisville-based Flavorman and its sister company, the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, where she promoted and coordinated professional training for the distilling industry and provided support for faculty, participants and graduates.
In 2014, she developed the Stave & Thief Society, the first Bourbon certification program recognized by the KDA and its iconic member companies.
She is a graduate of the University of Louisville and is a certified Executive Bourbon Steward. She lives in Louisville with her husband and children.
Smooth Ambler Distillery
John Foster embarked in small-production spirits in 2009 when he joined ranks with John Little to become one of the founding distillers at Smooth Ambler Spirits. Taking on the role of National Sales Director not long after its launch, John splits his time between his home and Smooth Ambler headquarters in West Virginia, and on the road as former-distiller, spirits educator, sales guru, and aficionado of a good Old Fashioned.
Coopers’ Craft bourbon is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which uses a unique beech and birch charcoal-filter finishing process for a smooth and flavorful bourbon. As the only major distiller to make its own new barrels, Coopers’ Craft leverages our knowledge of barrels and expertise with wood to create a remarkably smooth bourbon that pays tribute to our Coopers’.
Corky Taylor was past President and CEO of BENCOR Inc., a financial services company he founded. After selling his business located in Sarasota, Florida in 2009, Corky tried retirement but obviously it did not work.
He is currently resurrecting Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company after 98 years. His Great Grandfather, Henry Kraver, was owner of the distillery in Henderson Kentucky from 1896 to 1917. Corky is currently bringing back the family history and has re-opened a grain to bottle distillery in downtown Louisville.
DEATH & CO
Death & Co is one of the most significant, influential, and oft-imitated bars to emerge from the contemporary craft cocktail movement. Since its opening in 2006, Death & Co has been a must-visit destination for serious drinks and cocktail enthusiasts, and the winner of several major industry awards, including America’s Best Cocktail Bar and Best Cocktail Menu at the Tales of the Cocktail convention. Boasting a supremely talented and creative bar staff – the best and brightest in the industry – Death & Co is also the birthplace of some of the modern era’s most iconic drinks, such as the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, Naked and Famous, and the Conference. The Death & Co book, which published last year, is the definitive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement, from one of the world’s most influential and lauded bars. Featuring hundreds of recipes for original creations as well as classic drink cocktails, Death & Co is not only a comprehensive collection of the bar’s best—it’s also a complete cocktail education. With chapters on the theory and philosophy of drink-making; a complete guide to the spirits, tools, and other ingredients needed to make a great bar; and recipes for nearly 500 iconic drinks, Death & Co has become a timeless reference on craft cocktails. Filled with beautiful, evocative photography; illustrative charts and infographics; and colorful essays about the characters who fill the bar each night, Death & Co—like its namesake bar—is bold, elegant, and setting the pace for mixologists around the world. Death & Co will open its second property in Denver this spring, inside The Ramble Hotel.
Down The Rabbit Hole Speakeasy
Rabbit Hole invites you to go #DownTheRabbitHole into an exclusive bar hidden off the beaten path featuring cocktails by Proprietors LLC, the team behind Death & Co. That’s all we can say for now – figuring out how to get in will be entirely up to you!
Master Distiller, Willett
If Drew were a whiskey he would be Willett Family Estate Rye. The elegant exterior honors a long storied family history marked by courage and generosity while the liquid inside has a forward fresh flavor that is youthful yet mature. Drew is a native of Bardstown, KY and graduate of Western Kentucky University where he exemplified a commitment to school spirit by wooing the star of the dance team to marry him. After graduating with degrees in marketing and economics, Drew returned home for a complete education in the family business. Initially, Drew spent much of his time studying the careful precision of co-mingling whiskey but soon Drew’s knack for all things engineering would land him in the distillery. Over the years, Drew has developed additional mash bills to expand the company’s bourbon and rye portfolio earning him three nominations for James Beard Awards in the outstanding spirits professional category. When he is not making whiskey, Drew travels the country sharing his passion with bourbon newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts alike. Drew and Janelle live in Bardstown, KY with their endearing children Baron and Bridjette. They are known to
welcome guests with the most generous and authentic variety of southern hospitality.
As founding father of the bourbon industry, Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. left an indelible legacy. His dedication to distilling began at the close of the Civil War when he purchased O.F C. Distillery. There, he developed innovative techniques that are still in use today. Made by hand, this Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey has been aged inside century old warehouses constructed by E.H. Taylor, Jr. Barrels are evaluated and selected to create a perfect blend of distinctive character that is like no other. This bourbon is a true sipping bourbon that honors the uncompromising legacy of E.H. Taylor, Jr.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey is masterfully crafted and carefully aged for no less than ten years. Every barrel is discriminately selected to offer consistent flavor but with a seemingly individual personality. Eagle Rare is a bourbon that lives up to its name with its lofty, distinctive taste experience.
Wild Turkey Distillery
On June 5, 1981, Edward Freeman Russell, the youngest of the three Russell children of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, joined the family business as he took his spot on the lowest rung of the ladder at the Wild Turkey Distillery. Learning the Bourbon-making trade the way his father had before him, he was put through the paces taking on menial jobs that may have seemed irrelevant to the process then, but were everything to understanding the Wild Turkey way. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, with 34 years of experience under his belt, “Eddie” knows a thing or two about Bourbon. As the son of legendary Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, and the third generation Russell to work at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, Eddie Russell is of an unmatched pedigree in the Bourbon industry. Like his father, Eddie is involved through the entire distillation and aging process of Wild Turkey Bourbon, ensuring every bottle meets the exacting whiskey standards set forth by their predecessors.
Russell began his career at the distillery as a relief operator, eventually becoming a supervisor of new production and then a warehouse supervisor. After two decades in the business, he assumed the position of manager of barrel maturation and warehousing. In this role, he collaborated with his father to create Russell’s Reserve 10 Year Old, an award-winning small-batch Bourbon that serves as testimony to the family’s heritage of distilling craftsmanship and tradition. Eddie’s Bourbon legacy also includes the introduction of Wild Turkey 81, premium bourbon that can stand up to any mixer or in any cocktail with the bold, spicy taste that is distinctively Wild Turkey.
Most recently, Eddie has led the charge on groundbreaking innovations for Wild Turkey, American Honey Sting and Wild Turkey Forgiven – which was awarded the Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Competition. With the worldwide boom in Bourbon consumption, Eddie has his eye squarely on creating new whiskey expressions that appeal to a globally expanding consumer base, while cultivating Wild Turkey’s core expressions.
In 2010, Eddie joined his father and other greats in the Bourbon industry when he was inducted into the illustrious Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame™. A few years later, it was time for Eddie to do the honoring. In celebration of his father’s 60th anniversary at Wild Turkey in 2014, he created Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, an outstanding limited-edition expression of 13- and 16-year-old whiskies.
Eddie and his wife Judy have two sons, and live in Lawrenceburg, where Eddie was born and raised. In his spare time, Eddie enjoys playing golf and training and hunting with bird dogs. Also, like his father, Eddie relishes in traveling the country and the world spreading the gospel of Wild Turkey to whiskey aficionados.
Long before the term Small Batch even existed, our Master Distillers were hand-selecting just the right number of barrels to make Elijah Craig. This expertise and attention to detail give Elijah Craig Small Batch the right balance of rich flavor and full body. Each small batch carries a signature warm spice and subtle smoke flavor. A combination that belongs in any Bourbon fan’s regular rotation.
Assistant Master Distiller, Woodford Reserve
Elizabeth McCall, a Certified Specialist of Spirits, Woodford Reserve Assistant Master Distiller, is the second generation of her family to work in the Bourbon industry. Her mother was a production manager for the Seagrams Distillery Co. McCall has a masters degree from the University of Louisville and has been a member of Brown-Forman’s Global Production Team for 9 years. As the Assistant Master Distiller, she works closely with Master Distiller, Chris Morris, and the Woodford Reserve Distillery team, to ensure that Woodford Reserve maintains its high quality and continues to push the envelope with innovation.
She also sits on the board for Green Hill Therapy; a nonprofit organization that provides physical and occupation therapy to children through the use of horses and other traditional forms of therapy. Her horse Cody Ko is one of the 8 hippotherapy horses at Green Hill.
Elmer T. Lee
Named after Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee, this whiskey is hand selected and bottled to the taste and standards of Elmer T. Lee himself. Perfectly balanced and rich, as declared by the man who knows how great bourbon should taste.
Evan Williams is a smooth, easy to drink Bourbon named after Evan Williams who, in 1783, opened Kentucky’s first commercial distillery along the banks of the Ohio River. Many years and barrels later, we’re still producing Bourbon with the same time-honored methods that Evan Williams did years ago.
Today, Evan Williams is the second largest selling Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in the US and the world, distilled just a few blocks from the site where Evan himself built his distillery.
Fawn Weaver is a serial entrepreneur who has silently invested in real estate, tech and lifestyle brands. Weaver is often active in her investments, serving in leadership capacities behind the scenes. She is also a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and a freelance writer for Huffington Post and dozens of other publications. Weaver has appeared on popular radio, morning and talk television shows across the US and has been interviewed by top morning, talk and radio shows in Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Italy, Belgium, Australia, Ireland, Australia, Poland, Spain and New Zealand.
Weaver launched her first company, a public relations and special events firm, in 1996. She went on to invest in a number of businesses after that time. Years later, following investment in, and management of one of the Top 10 New Restaurants in Los Angeles (as determined by Los Angeles Magazine), Weaver took a short break from entrepreneurialism, to learn what it was like to be an employee rather than the employer. Weaver held a variety of positions in the hospitality industry, beginning as the head of special events for the world-famous Viceroy Hotel and ending as a General Manager for Dimension Development Co., the operator of more than 50 Marriott and Hilton brand hotels throughout the US. The experience profoundly changed how Weaver invests and manages, focusing on a team-first organization in which she often serves as Chief Encouragement Officer, above all else.
Weaver has served on the executive boards of Slavery No More, MEND Poverty, and is the current executive director of the Nearest Green Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to shining a spotlight on the first African-American master distiller on record in the United States, the first master distiller for Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, and the person who taught a young Jack Daniel how to make Tennessee Whiskey. What began as an idea for a book, quickly morphed into a dozen projects focused on sharing and honoring this long-forgotten story of Nathan “Nearest” Green. Among those projects are a book, movie, memorial park, whiskey and a scholarship program for Green’s descendants which allows anyone in his bloodline to go to college with their tuition and books fully paid.
Four Roses Distillery
All you have to do is take one sip and you’ll discover something that may both surprise and delight you – Four Roses is unlike any other Bourbon. Perhaps it’s because only Four Roses handcrafts 10 distinct and extraordinary Bourbon recipes. One has been selected by hand to become Four Roses Single Barrel. Four are expertly mingled by hand to create Four Roses Small Batch. And as many as all 10 are used to create Four Roses Bourbon. Handcrafted artistry such as this may take a little more time, but after your first taste, we’re sure you’ll agree, it’s worth the effort.
Author, "Bourbon Curious"
Wall Street Journal-bestselling author Fred Minnick loves whiskey so much he figured out a way to write and talk about for a living.
Minnick’s given private bourbon tastings to world leaders and celebrities, as well as appearing on CBS This Morning, NPR, New York Times, Esquire, Fox News, and many others just to talk about bourbon. The ascot-wearing Kentuckian covers whiskey in every possible way, too. Whiskey Women (Potomac Books, 2013) won multiple awards and inspired the creation of dozens of whiskey women clubs. Minnick’s Bourbon:The Rise, Fall & Rebirth of An American Whiskey (Quarto, 2016) broke new historical ground on a widely covered topic, solving mysteries such as the “Father of Bourbon,” medicinal whiskey and how bourbon became America’s Spirit, while Bourbon Curious(Quarto, 2015) established sommelier-level flavor profiles for bourbon.
His whiskey columns range from the basic-and-informative style in Covey Rise Magazine to the edgy insider writings in Whisky Magazine, where Minnick is the American contributing editor. He provides quick-hitting, easy-to-read, click-friendly stories to Parade.com, scientific whiskey takes to Scientific American, bourbon advice to Men’s Health, and in-depth geeky features to Whisky Advocate, where Minnick scores American whiskey and pens the “American Spirit” column. In June, Minnick releases his first rum book—RumCurious.
Minnick serves as a regular keynote speaker for conventions across the country and seminar moderator for Tales of the Cocktail, Arizona Cocktail Week, Kentucky Bourbon Festival and the Bourbon Classic. He is the Bourbon Authority for the Kentucky Derby Museum and is a judge on the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. View his work on FredMinnick.com.
Master Distiller, Jim Beam
Frederick “Fred” Booker Noe III, son of the late Frederick “Booker” Noe Jr. and great grandson of Jim Beam, is a seventh generation distiller and keeper of a family flame that has burned for more than 200 years. Fred is Beam’s Master Distiller, sharing the craft of whiskey making and the rich history of his family’s legacy with bourbon enthusiasts worldwide.
Fred also serves as Ambassador of The Small Batch Bourbon Collection® — Basil Hayden’s®, Knob Creek®, Baker’s® and Booker’s® — his father Booker’s whiskies. He played an important role in the development and promotion of these ultra-premium bourbons, which are aged longer, feature higher proofs — representative of pre-prohibition whiskey. When these bourbons were first introduced, he would taste samples at the family’s kitchen table and help select the batches that were ready for bottling.
Fred was steeped in whiskey culture early on. He was born in Bardstown, KY the Bourbon Capital of the World, and grew up in the same house his great grandfather, the legendary Jim Beam, once lived in. He learned to appreciate and understand the craft of whiskey making while listening to his father’s stories about their family. After graduating from Bellarmine University, Fred worked under his father’s tutelage, learning every aspect of the bourbon-making process, including grain selection, fermentation and distillation.
In 2007, Beam Inc. honored Fred on by placing his portrait on the Jim Beam Bourbon brand label alongside the six family distillers who preceded him in the family business — Jacob, David, David M., Jim, Jeremiah and Booker.
Today, Fred still resides in Bardstown in a house built adjacent to the Beam family home. He remains instrumental in the Beam business, dedicating himself to perfecting the family’s closely guarded bourbon-making process and continuing his family’s legacy by training his son, Freddie Noe, to become the 8th generation family distiller.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Freddie Johnson is a third generation employee at Buffalo Trace Distillery and serves as its Distillery VIP Visitor Lead. Born in Paris, KY (Bourbon County), he spent some of his early childhood summers in the mountains of Breathitt County with his maternal grandfather who was a coal miner and friend to the moonshiners. The family moved to Frankfort, KY when he was five. Freddie enjoyed hunting, fishing and hanging out with his paternal grandfather, Jimmy Johnson Sr., and father, Jimmy Johnson Jr., at what is now known as Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Freddie was in the middle of a successful career as a network/operations engineer in Atlanta, GA when he put all of it aside to fulfill a promise made to his father, Jimmy, more than 20 years earlier. He had promised his father that he would work at the Distillery during his lifetime so they could say they had three generations of the Johnson family that worked at Buffalo Trace. Freddie took early retirement and moved back to care for his father and brother. Jimmy got him a job as a tour guide at the Distillery in 2002 but Freddie has been in and around the Distillery since he was five years old.
Freddie weaves together his childhood memories with the Distillery’s rich history as his entertains thousands each year in various tours around Buffalo Trace. One of the Distillery’s most popular and highly sought after tour guides, Freddie is the recipient of the 2015 ROSE (Recognition of Service Excellence) Award and the 2017 Lexington (Ky) Hospitality Award.
Gary is a beer consultant in Chicago, IL. He received his Cicerone Certification from World Brewing Academy at the Siebel Institute of Technology (in partnership with Munich’s Domens Academy, the oldest technical brewing school in the US). Gary consults on all things beer. Gary builds. Gary was one of the first people on the scene When the craft beer exploded into the Chicago market. He chose to jump on the wagon and make beer personal, historical, and more than just a social application; Surrounding himself by those in Chicago who live and breathe craft beer, Gary learned from everyone he could the art of tasting beers, judging beers, and brewing beers. His passion is fueled by his desire to learn, to teach, and to enjoy all that is related to craft beer.
Maker’s Mark Director of Distillery Operations and Master Distiller Greg Davis has many responsibilities, but his most important mandate is: “Don’t screw it up.” To that end, from the selection of grains and overseeing milling, cooking, fermentation and distillation to taste testing the bourbon through its journey to maturity, Davis and his team are dedicated to ensuring that every bottle of Maker’s Mark and Maker’s 46 meets the high standards for quality and tradition set forth by three generations of Samuels’: Maker’s Mark Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels, his father, Chairman Emeritus Bill, Jr., and his grandfather, Maker’s Mark Founder Bill Samuels, Sr.
Davis’ extensive experience in the Bourbon industry has prepared him well for this role. Prior to joining Maker’s Mark in 2010, he was master distiller at the Tom Moore Distillery (formerly Barton’s) for 10 years. While there he was instrumental in driving innovations and efficiency improvements in their operations.
Davis’ passion for wine and spirits blossomed in college when he began making his own wine and beer at home. Davis studied Brewing Science at the Siebel Institute of Technology & World Brewing Academy in Chicago and started his career at Brown-Forman in 1990, where he worked in research and development in the fermentation science lab. In between working at Brown-Forman and Tom Moore he also became a Brew Master and worked for several years at the Bohannon Brewery in Nashville, TN.
Originally from Paducah, KY, Davis is an avid sportsman and enjoys hunting and fishing with his two sons in his spare time. He is a board member of the Fish and Wildlife Foundation at the Salato Center in Frankfort, KY and also holds the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel.
Master Distiller, Buffalo Trace Distillery
Harlen’s formal education in chemistry and chemical engineering brought him to Buffalo Trace Distillery, but it’s the on-the-job experience that led him to become the resident Master Distiller in 2005. Born in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, in 1969, Harlen has spent almost all of his life in the Bluegrass. After relocating and spending much of his youth in Florence, KY, Harlen attended Northern Kentucky University, attaining his degree in chemistry. He then migrated to work full-time at a chemical company in Central Kentucky while completing a chemical engineering degree at the University of Kentucky, gaining formal training in distillation and separation techniques.
Harlen joined the Distillery as a supervisor in 1995. Not long after, the Distillery was rechristened and the flagship Buffalo Trace Bourbon was introduced. It marked a new era in the Distillery’s esteemed history and Harlen continued to make his mark as he was promoted to Distillery Manager in 2000. Harlen was named Master Distiller in 2005, becoming Buffalo Trace’s sixth Master Distiller since the Civil War.
Having worked in every aspect of production from raw materials to barrel aging, as Master Distiller, Harlen has driven many initiatives, including solidifying standards and consistency, quality focus and efficiency gains. He is active in overseeing a number of distilling and aging operations in various locations, all while promoting and educating the public on some of the world’s finest bourbon whiskeys.
Harlen is a four-time James Beard Award nominee in Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional category.
Hartfield & Co.
Hartfield & Co. Distillery
Hartfield & Co. Distillery–founded by Andrew Buchanan and his wife, Larissa–became the first licensed distiller in Bourbon County since 1919 when they opened The Gentleman Distillery, which was later renamed to Hartfield & Co. to reflect their family’s distilling heritage in Green County in the 1800s.
Jack joined Lagunitas as a brewer in 2013, assisting in the startup of brewing production in Chicago. After three years as a brewing supervisor, Jack was proudly named Head Brewer of Lagunitas Chicago in 2017. He currently leads a talented and diverse group of 25 brewers in making Lagunitas’ innovative, ubiquitous, hop-forward brews.
Jack received his formal brewing education from VLB Berlin in Berlin, Germany. He completed an internship with August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, Minnesota and subsequently worked as a brewer for New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, Michigan. An avid fan of IPA, Jack jumped at the chance to brew beer for Lagunitas in his hometown of Chicago.
After graduating from Northeastern Illinois University in 2010 with a degree in Philosophy, Jack was inspired by a book his father gave him about creating a meaningful work life—and an inspired product—with his hands. Craft beer, especially working for Lagunitas, was a natural choice for him, combining personal interest with professional ambition. Jack lives in the suburbs with his wife and two children.
Jack Daniel's Distillery
Officially registered by the U.S. Government in 1866 and based in Lynchburg, Tenn., the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, proprietor, is the first registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jack Daniel’s is the maker of the world-famous Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select and Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails. Today, Jack Daniel’s is a true global icon found in more than 170 countries around the world and is the most valuable spirits brand in the world as recognized by Interbrand.
Maturation Specialist, Maker's Mark
Kentucky native and bourbon expert, Jane Bowie has been a part of the Maker’s Mark family for over a decade. What began as a hobby matured into a passion, and finally a calling: As Maker’s Mark Distillery Maturation Specialist, Jane leads one of the industry’s most innovative programs – the Maker’s Mark Private Select Experience.
Alongside Maker’s Mark COO Rob Samuels, and under Jane’s watchful eye, in 2015 Maker’s Mark launched a first-of-its-kind barrel program, Maker’s Mark Private Select. The new experience allows retailers to “make their own Maker’s” by finishing fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon in a single barrel made up of their custom selection of oak staves. In her present role, Jane spearheads every aspect of the Private Select Experience – from wood and barrel education, to sharing the flavor nuances each stave will have on a final selection, and spreading the magic of Kentucky’s finest bourbon with the world.
Jane’s longstanding relationship with Maker’s Mark dates back to 2006. After years spent traveling abroad, Jane returned to her hometown of Monticello, KY, and wrote to the Maker’s Mark Distillery insisting they hire her for a position that did not at that time exist – Global Bourbon Ambassador. A presumptuous request, her timing could not have been better; Rob Samuels stumbled across her letter just as he began firming up his own plans to lead international growth on behalf of his family’s handcrafted whisky. Jane was soon hired as the first international Maker’s Mark employee, and shortly thereafter became the face of the brand across five continents.
From Brazil to Australia to Japan, Jane played a crucial role in developing Maker’s Mark in the global arena before establishing herself in London where she spent nearly five years creating and implementing baseline trade engagement programs. With the introduction of the brand’s first-ever Global Drinks Program and Cocktail Competition (a blueprint that would go on to be executed in 14 international markets), and ensuring placement at established high-end bars and retailers, Jane’s efforts contributed to building brand awareness. Today, Maker’s Mark Bourbon is the number one premium bourbon in the United Kingdom.
In 2012, Jane returned to the States to work directly under Rob Samuels as Maker’s Distillery Ambassador where she continued to champion Maker’s Mark to consumers and trade within the commonwealth of Kentucky. Her transition into Distillery Maturation Specialist, again in a new role that was carved out for Jane specifically, was a natural evolution as she looked to bring the brand to a new audience through innovation in the Maker’s Mark way.
Jane holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY; an M.B.A. from Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY; and a Professional Spirits Qualification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) in the U.K. She happily resides in Bardstown, KY with her husband Alex and their daughter Beatrice. Aside from her love for bourbon (she prefers Marker’s 46 with one ice cube), Jane is an avid runner with a passion for visiting distilleries, breweries and wineries around the world.
Master Distiller, Jack Daniel's
Jeff Arnett was named master distiller of the Jack Daniel Distillery in 2008. His supervision of the entire whiskey-making process of milling, yeasting, fermentation, distillation, charcoal mellowing and maturation ensures the world’s top-selling whiskey label is both in constant supply and true to Jack’s guiding belief that “Every day we make it, we’ll make it the best we can.”
In 2001, Jeff took his first job at the distillery in quality control and overseeing Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel. Since then, his work in a variety of capacities throughout the distillery, including warehousing, maturation, distillation, charcoal mellowing management, barrel quality and bottling, as well as being a member of the Master Tasters’ panel, have primed him to spearhead the entire operation. Jeff was honored by Whisky Magazine as “Master Distiller of the Year” in 2017.
Arnett is one of only a handful of individuals who have held the title of Master Distiller in the history of the distillery which began production in 1866. Jeff is proud to accept the enormous responsibility that comes with having one of the most envied jobs in the world.
A native of Jackson, Tenn., Arnett received a degree in industrial engineering and worked the food and beverage manufacturing industry for 11 years before moving to Lynchburg in 2001. Jeff and his wife, Lori, have two children. When not in Lynchburg, Jeff travels the world as an ambassador for Jack Daniel’s, sharing the brand’s stories with all he meets.
Kentucky Artisan Distillery
“Transform Corn, Get Bourbon. Transform Bourbon, Get Jefferson’s”. “Jefferson’s, Alchemy is Everything”
HOW DO YOU PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF BOURBON WITHOUT TAINTING THE TRADITION? By taking the science of distillation, the art of maturation, and adding some good old-fashioned experimenting. That’s how we add complexity – through different selection, agitation, and environmental processes. The result? A provocative taste unlike any other bourbon out there..
Mixologist, Meta Louisville
Jeremy is an 18 year veteran of the Louisville restaurant scene. He cut his teeth at Brasserie Dietrich in 2000 and gradually ascended to be the Sommelier and General Manager of the Blind Pig in 2010. After co-founding Meat in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville, one of Drinks International’s top 50 bars in the world in 2011, he opened Meta in downtown Louisville in 2013. He currently runs Meta as well as Solid Gold Beverage Consulting— a firm based in education, cocktail, bar, and restaurant development, as well as brand consulting work. Jeremy’s cocktails and drink programs have been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Drinks International, Garden & Gun, the Today Show and many more. Jeremy has also given seminars at Tales of the Cocktail, Portland Cocktail Week among many others. He is a playful bartender, self-described wine-nerd, who loves running, playing music and living in Louisville with his son Otis.
Jim Beam Distillery
Jim Beam was founded in 1795 and has been operated by one family for seven generations. We’ve always created bourbon our way, aging it twice as long as the law requires. That’s how we Make History® every day.
Jim Beam Black
Elegant. Smooth. Refined. That’s what extra aging will do to bourbon. And now Jim Beam Black® is officially the #1 rated bourbon in the world after winning the Bourbon Trophy, the highest awarded accolade in the bourbon category at the 2016 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
Founder & Master Distiller, J. W. Rutledge Distillery
Jim began his long and devoted distillery career in 1966 working in Seagram’s Research and Development Department headquarters – located at Seagram’s Calvert Distillery in Louisville, KY. He worked 11 years in nearly every production area of the distillery – including two stints in distillery operations. Jim was transferred to Seagram’s corporate headquarters in 1977, in New York City, as Chief Industrial Engineer. He worked in Production Division Budgets and Standards and long-range distillery planning areas until 1992 when he was transferred back to his Kentucky home and Seagram’s Four Roses Distillery operations.
In January 1995, Seagram named Jim “Kentucky Area Manager and Master Distiller.” He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001. After Seagram went out of business, at the end of that same year, Jim remained with the distillery he loved so much as Master Distiller, and he was named COO by Kirin Brewery – the new owner of Four Roses. Jim retired from Four Roses in September 2015, and during his tenure as Four Roses Distillery Master Distiller, he watched over the character, quality and consistency of every barrel of Bourbon filled. Relative to his passion for the barrels of Bourbon he produced, a Four Roses manager was quoted several years ago, saying: “Every stage of the distillation process is critical and you’ll find his hands, eyes and nose – as well as his heart and soul – in every one of them.”
Jim was also active in the Kentucky Bourbon industry he loves. He served on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Distillers Association for 13 years and on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival for 9 years – the last 7 years as Chairman. During his long career he received numerous awards and accolades, including a “Life Time Achievement Award” by Malt Advocate Magazine in 2007, “Global Whisky Ambassador, American Whiskeys,” in 2008 by Whisky Magazine, and in 2013 he was the 13th person inducted into the magazines’ “Global Whisky Hall of Fame.” Jim is probably best known for the award-winning Four Roses Bourbons he produced as Master Distiller, including the American Whiskey of the Year award in 2012 and the Global Whiskey of the Year award the following year – both presented by Whisky Advocate Magazine for Four Roses’ Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbons.
Jim is now very excited and ready to pour his love, dedication, passion & heart, into making Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Straight Rye whiskeys for his own distillery. Bourbon will be made under his watchful eyes using both rye and wheat as small flavoring grains, and he is looking forward to achieving a long-time dream of distilling straight rye whiskeys. Jim said “After all these years working in the industry I’ve loved so much, I’m more excited than ever before to be out on my own making the style whiskeys my friends and consumers love so much.”
Jim graduated from the University of Louisville, with a BSC in Marketing, and a minor in Chemistry.
Master Distiller, Wild Turkey Distillery
Dubbed the “Buddha of Bourbon” and “The Master Distiller’s Master Distiller” by his industry peers, James C. “Jimmy” Russell knows Bourbon like he knows breathing. For an astounding 60 years, Russell has been making whiskey at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and today, is the longest-tenured, active spirits Master Distiller in the world. Growing up five miles from the distillery, he followed his father, who taught him the traditions and techniques of Bourbon craftsmanship. From his first position at the distillery sweeping floors, he reached the apex of his career as Master Distiller in the 1960’s learning how to make Bourbon the right way – from the inside out and everything in between. No job too small, no task too tedious.
Jimmy’s passion for Bourbon led him to study under such Bourbon luminaries as Bill Hughes, Wild Turkey’s second Master Distiller, and Ernest W. Ripy, Jr., great-grandson of distillery founder James Ripy, Wild Turkey’s third Master Distiller. Even if his unparalleled tutelage wasn’t enough, his family history, impeccable knowledge of Bourbon, and possession of time-honored Bourbon-making secrets have led to his reputation as “the Master Distiller’s Master Distiller.” A part of an exclusive brotherhood, Jimmy is a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame™ and a whiskey judge for the International Wine and Spirits Competition. He’s involved through the entire distillation and aging process of Wild Turkey Bourbon; his experience and wisdom shining through in every single bottle.
Over the past 60 years, Jimmy has been responsible for the launches of a number of new Wild Turkey brands and expressions, such as Tradition, Tribute, 17-year-old Wild Turkey for Japan, Rare Breed, American Spirit, Kentucky Spirit and Russell’s Reserve, which he co-created with his son and distilling partner Eddie Russell. Jimmy broke new ground in 1976 with the first honeyed Bourbon, at the time called Wild Turkey Liqueur. Today, fans know the evolution of that product as American Honey. Jimmy is also responsible for making sure the legacy of Wild Turkey stays intact; overseeing the production of Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey’s flagship brand. While waxing poetic about “aging techniques” and “grain selection,” you can often find Jimmy enjoying his beloved Bourbon neat or with a touch of branch water.
In celebration of Jimmy’s 60 years of service, the Wild Turkey global family decreed 2014 “The Year of Jimmy Russell,” marked by a series of honors and accolades from family, local and national politicians, and distinguished members of the Bourbon industry. Most notably, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell cemented Jimmy’s achievements for posterity in the United States Congressional Record, while Kentucky Senator Julian Carroll and Representative Kim King sponsored a similar resolution in the Kentucky General Assembly. Furthermore, Jimmy was granted a Lifetime Honorary Membership to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s Board of Directors, an honor bestowed to only five other individuals within the organization’s storied 134-year history.
As special as these honors have been, the most personal recognition came from Jimmy’s son and fellow Bourbon Hall of Famer Eddie Russell. As an homage to his father, Eddie created Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary, an outstanding limited-edition expression of 13- and 16-year-old whiskies.
When Jimmy is not at the distillery or on the road waxing poetic about Bourbon, which is a rare occurrence, he spends time at home with his wife Joretta, whom he met before he started working at Wild Turkey. They have three children – Eddie, Mike and Kathy; six grandchildren; and one great grandchild. A true Kentuckian and avid sports fan, Jimmy is a lifelong supporter of local Anderson County High School athletic programs for girls and boys.
Founder and CEO, Barrell
Joe Beatrice established Barrell Craft Spirits as a blender and independent bottler of high-end whiskeys, akin to the whisky merchants of Scotland. He is transparent about selecting aged bourbon and whiskey that other distilleries have produced.
A life-long home brewer, Joe decided to move into the spirits industry as a distiller in 2013. He wanted to create a quality product, but he didn’t want to be (build?) a distillery with just a few core offerings. Joe decided to source barrels, produce product at cask strength and be as transparent as possible. He chose the merchant bottler approach long established in Scotland, and differentiated his business model by releasing unique, limited release, cask strength products. This approach has allowed him to focus on the blending and establishing the highest quality products. The brand has been built using social media and word-of-mouth advertising, allowing the products to speak for themselves and let others speak to the quality and flavor.
In the first five years of operations, Barrell Craft Spirits has gone from distributing products in New York to one that has had fast growth with sales in over 40 states, while winning accolades and prestigious awards, including Best Bourbon, Best Small Batch Bourbon, Double Gold and Best Over Proof Rum at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Joe has done all of this with a few highly dedicated and motivated individuals, including two members of his family. He believes that everybody’s palate is different, and there is no real answer to what is the “perfect” whiskey; it’s more about your own personal preferences.
John Foster embarked in small-production spirits in 2009 when he joined ranks with Head Distiller John Little to become one of the founding distillers at Smooth Ambler Spirits. Taking on the role of National Sales Director not long after its launch, John splits his time between his home and Smooth Ambler headquarters in West Virginia, and on the road as former-distiller, spirits educator, sales guru, and aficionado of a good Old Fashioned
Exe. Director of Distillation Ops., Bardstown Bourbon Co.
John Hargrove currently serves as the Executive Director of Distillation Operations at The Bardstown Bourbon Company, the largest new bourbon distillery in America. Joining the team in 2017, John leads a distilling team of more than 40 production employees with an average of more than 15 years each of direct whiskey making experience. During this brief time John has made significant contributions to the Collaborative Distilling Program, quality control, brand development, product innovation, process improvement, and project management.
Prior to joining The Bardstown Bourbon Company, John served as a Master Distiller and Director of Distillation Operations and Quality Assurance for Sazerac in Bardstown KY at Barton’s 1792 Distillery. John started with Sazerac as the Quality/Continuous Improvement Manager and quickly rose through the ranks where he discovered and leveraged his passion for whiskey, bourbon, and rye production.
John obtained a wealth of experience in manufacturing working with Quaker Oats/PepsiCo in various roles where he had the opportunity to focus on innovation, process improvement and project management. As a results-oriented leader, this experience has provided opportunities to serve as an effective leader at The Bardstown Bourbon Company.
With experience serving in United States Army Special Forces, John began to travel the world when he served in the US Army from 2004 to 2009. As a decorated Green Beret, John served with the 5th Special Forces Group in OCONUS and CONUS operations. His successful completion of training includes key areas of advanced special operations such as Combat Diver Qualification Course in Key West, Combat Dive Supervisor Course, Air Assault School, Airborne School, SERE school, Special Forces Qualification Course and at the JFK Special Warfare Training Language School, where he learned Arabic.
John is the recipient of numerous awards and certifications, including the U.S. Army Commendation Medal, Global Defense on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal. Since serving in the military, John has garnered a number of other awards and designations including a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, Lean Six Sigma Kaizen Certification, and ISO 9001/22000 Food Safety Certification. In 2014, John was recognized by Quaker Oats/Frito Lay/PepsiCo at the annual meeting in Dallas with a Resource Conservation Award as America Foods Supply Chain Sustainability Quaker Resource Person of the Year as well as a Research and Development Special Recognition award from Frito Lay. An Eagle Scout with the Bronze and Gold Palms, John is also a recipient of MO House and Senate Proclamations for scouting in addition to other awards.
A graduate of the University of Missouri, John actively participated in study abroad programs in the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece and Turkey. Born in Saudi Arabia, John spent his youth in the Midwest. He currently resides in Bardstown KY, The Bourbon Capital Of The World!
John began his career in distilling in 2008, as the inception for the business that would become Smooth Ambler Spirits first began to take flight. A fervent reader with a passionate and canny understanding of procedure, Little quickly learned all he could; absorbing everything from hands-on distilling to studying – line by line almost – the Federal regulations on distilling and licensure- and opened the doors in 2010.
With Little at the helm, what began as small craft distiller with a limited, regional reach has flourished into one of the most respected small production distilleries in the U.S. Under Little’s supervision, in tandem with the spirits Smooth Ambler distills, it carefully selects other fine whiskeys which it merchant-bottles and brings to market under the Old Scout brand, another effort for which it has been highly praised. Smooth Ambler has won awards nationally and beyond, including the World Whisky Award’s distinguished “Best Single Barrel Bourbon in the World” for 2016. As CEO and Head Distiller, John continues to lead the Smooth Ambler team with passion, determination, straight-shooting, and an ever-vigilant eye toward quality of spirits and quality of life.
Visitor Center Manager of Barton 1792 Distillery
Josh Hollifield has been honing his love of Kentucky bourbon for many years, starting his career at some of Louisville’s most reputable dining establishments, including the Oakroom at the Seelbach Hotel, Limestone Restaurant, and The Galt House Hotel. Josh then went on to manage the private barrel program for Horseshoe Casino before joining Barton 1792 Distillery in 2012 as Visitor Center Manager.
Josh’s knowledge and appreciation of Kentucky’s native spirit make him the perfect fit to lead the hospitality program for 1792 Distillery, which includes the visitor center, private barrel selection experience and promotional events for the 1792 brand.
Josh serves as President of the Bardstown-Nelson County Hospitality Association and is Chair-elect for the Bardstown/Nelson County Tourism Board. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Kentucky.
Founder, Boone County Distilling Co.
Josh Quinn, co-founder of the Boone County Distilling Company in Boone County Kentucky entered the whiskey business with his longtime friend, business partner, serial entrepreneur, and fellow bourbon lover Jack Wells in 2012. However Josh hasn’t always been in the whiskey business, in fact he has an uncommon path to the business, spending over 20 years as a law enforcement investigator in Kentucky. He knows almost every square inch of Boone County. In 2012, re-discovered a lost piece of local bourbon history, the story of the Petersburg Distillery aka: The Boone County Distillery. Josh approached his longtime friend with the forgotten distillery story. Now, if you don’t know the personality type of a serial entrepreneur, they are risk takers. Jack and Josh recognized that there was a rich local bourbon history waiting to be re-told and Northern Kentucky didn’t have much of a bourbon distillery presence. Building the Boone County Distillery and joining the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail began with one phrase in Jack’s basement: “Let’s build a distillery, how hard can it be?”.
The quest to research and build a distillery began. Between 2012 and today, a lot of stars have aligned; including connecting with the right industry consultants. Josh’s quest is simple. He is 100% committed accurately re-telling the history of the old distillery and making great whiskey. Josh has had an uncommon path into the whiskey industry, but as he says ‘I just chasing the American Dream’.
Co-Owner & Master Distiller, Jeptha Creed Distillery
As far back as she can remember, Joyce has had a passion for chemistry. She earned a Master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Louisville’s Speed Scientific School, and for 15 years worked as a process engineer in industrial scale distillation. She then spent a decade teaching high school chemistry and physics before her husband Bruce’s dream of opening a distillery reignited her passion for the distillation process—and the rest, as they say, is history.
Her deep love for farm life, as well as her many years working her family’s land, have given her invaluable insight into growing the wide variety of crops used in Jeptha Creed’s products. It has also inspired the distillery’s distinct ground-to-glass maxim. In addition to being a Master Distiller and owner of Jeptha Creed, Joyce is a devoted mother of two who has a passion for all things Kentucky. She couldn’t be prouder to carry on the state’s long history of distilling the finest spirits in the world.
Julian P. Van Winkle III
Owner, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
Julian P. Van Winkle III is the third generation Van Winkle to produce bourbon whiskey in Kentucky. He joined his father, Julian Jr., in 1977. At that time, Old Rip Van Winkle produced only two labels of its wheated bourbon whiskey. They were a 10-year 90 and 107 proof Old Rip Van Winkle.
Since then Julian has added 12-year, 15-year, 20-year and 23-year bourbon labels to the Van Winkle selection of premium bourbon whiskeys. He also has added a 13-year premium rye whiskey to the whiskey portfolio. All of these whiskeys have received ratings in the 90s by the Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago, with the 20-year receiving a 99 rating.
Julian operated the company by himself after his father’s death in 1981. He was joined by his son Preston in June 2001, the fourth generation of Van Winkles to venture into the whiskey business. In 2002, the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed.
In January 2009, Julian was honored to be nominated as a Fellow at the Southern Foodways Alliance annual fundraiser at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. The following year, Julian was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs. This is a tremendous honor as the group members are some of the most talented people around. In 2011, Julian received the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional, becoming the first James Beard winner from Kentucky.
Founder of Rabbit Hole Distillery
Rabbit Hole’s Founder and Whiskey Maker, Kaveh Zamanian, has taken an unconventional path to becoming the head of a modern bourbon brand and a whiskey distillery in the heart of Louisville. He has a PhD in clinical psychology and is a certified psychoanalyst. After 24-years of clinical practice and academia, he turned his attention to the world of craft spirits. With his wife, Heather Bass, a Louisville native, and their children, Henri, Lilia and Isabella on his side, he embarked on the challenging path of creating imaginative and distinct styles of whiskey. He established Rabbit Hole in 2012 and started making personal recipes of Bourbon and Rye whiskey at a distillery in Kentucky. The first batch of his Bourbon and Rye whiskies were released in October of 2016 and in the same month, construction began on the Rabbit Hole Distillery in NULU. The architecturally bold and ambitious distillery is scheduled to open end of 2017.
The nose on this rye has elements of sweet pine, honey, nougat, vanilla, cloves and lavender. Oaky undertones, subtle cedar saw dust or fresh split cedar. Rich in consistency and not forwardly spicy on the nose. It immediately coats the entire palate and nutmeg and cinnamon give way to pepper spice with vanilla on the front and anise across the middle. Subtle cinnamon spice clings to the finish.
National Bourbon Women Association
Kerri Richardson is the executive vice president of C2 Strategic Communications, a Louisville public relations and public affairs firm, and serves as president of the board of directors of the national Bourbon Women Association.
Kerri is a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she won two national titles and an international championship in debate before graduating summa cum laude with degrees in government and broadcasting. From there, she worked in television newsrooms in Hopkinsville, Bowling Green, Evansville and Louisville, earning two Emmy awards along the way. She received only one death threat in her television career, and it obviously didn’t pan out.
More recently, she served as Communications Director and chief spokesperson for Governor Steve Beshear, where she was named the named National Communicator of the Year in 2014 by the National Association of Government Communicators.
Kerri didn’t drink bourbon until well into adulthood, but like many Kentuckians, bourbon is in her blood anyway. Her grandfather worked at Old Taylor distillery in the 1950s, and several distilleries have popped up in her hometown of Shelbyville. She joined the Bourbon Women Association in 2013 to learn more about the industry and is still thrilled when she meets a master distiller. Her preferred bourbon cocktail – a Manhattan, up, with a Luxardo cherry.
Jim Beam Distillery
We don’t take days off. We just leave our watches at home. You see, out here time is measured in barrels and passed in bottles. Because we adhere firmly to the belief that if you don’t take your time, somebody else will. While the world busies itself with doing everything faster, this is where we come to slow down and enjoy what’s ours to share. Out here, we don’t just work for work’s sake. The reason we do things the hard way is that it makes the reward at the end that much better. And we let the whiskey remind us of that. Every drop in every barrel is the fruit of hard-earned experience. It’s an act of nature, our bourbon. And over the years, we have learned to capture it, one bottle at a time. So that we can bring it out here, in it’s true element. The Creek.
Heaven Hill Distillery
Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon has its origins in the long and colorful history of John E. Fitzgerald and the Old Fitzgerald brand. According to lore, John E. Fitzgerald built a distillery on the banks of the Kentucky River in the 1870s and sold his fine Bourbon to rail lines, steamships, and private clubs. The Old Fitzgerald brand was first registered in the 1880s by S.C. Herbst, and was eventually sold to Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle during Prohibition. Pappy moved production of Old Fitz to his distillery where it became the first great wheated Bourbon and eventually one of the most famous Bourbon brands in the world.
Dir. of Trade Relations, Heaven Hill Distilleries
Larry Kass joined Heaven Hill Brands, Inc. in 1997 as Group Marketing Manager with responsibility for all American, Irish, Scotch and Canadian whisky/ey brands. After 5 years, Kass was appointed to the newly-created position of Director of Corporate Communications, with responsibility for leading the company’s internal communications and external communications programs to wholesale customers, media and consumers, both domestically and internationally. In 2014, he was appointed as Director of Trade Relations, representing the company with industry and regional trade organizations, local and federal government, and community associations. He is a widely published and quoted source on the distilled spirits and whiskey industries and speaks to consumer and trade groups nationwide. He also serves on the Board of Directors and as chair of the Marketing Committee of the Kentucky Distillers Association.
Kass, who before moving to Kentucky previously worked at the New York office of several leading advertising agencies including Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and McCann-Erickson, now lives in Louisville with his family.
Heaven Hill is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams Bourbon; Larceny, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna Bourbons; Deep Eddy Vodka; Burnett’s Vodkas and Gin; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; HPNOTIQ Liqueur; The Christian Brothers Brandies; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur; Lunazul Tequila; and Rittenhouse Rye Whisky.
Owner, The Silver Dollar
Larry Rice has been in the hospitality industry for over twenty years at all levels. 15 years bartending, consulting, developing, executing bar programs and finally as a proprietor, with the help of his team, developing restaurant concepts with a heavy focus on bar programs dedicated to the craft of bar-tending.
He is currently the owner and operator of one of the most talked about whiskey bars, the Silver Dollar. As well as the Pearl of Germantown, a laid-back neighborhood bar with the same care given to their cocktails and service, making it an industry favorite.
His establishments and cocktails have been featured in several publications, television productions and made several “best of lists”.
He collects vintage whiskey and cocktail books, is a student of their histories, is asked to speak on the subjects as an expert often and is dedicated to education and building the bar community in his hometown, Louisville Kentucky.
Maker's Mark Distillery
We age Maker’s 46 a bit longer inside barrels containing seared French oak staves. The staves create bolder, more complex flavors – while eliminating the bitterness that usually comes with whiskies that are aged longer.
Maker's Mark Distillery
In 1954, at a small Victorian distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., created one of the finest Kentucky Bourbons. He decided to make his whisky in small-batches of 19 barrels, developed a proprietary barrel char to enhance the softness and sweetness of his whisky, and then rotated each barrel by hand to ensure exposure to consistent temperatures throughout the warehouse, and, ultimately, he aged each barrel to taste. Today, Maker’s Mark® makes its bourbon the same way its founder, Bill Samuels, Sr., did over 60 years ago, in small batches by craftsmen who hand-dip each bottle. Maker’s Mark® Bourbon (45% alc./vol.), Maker’s 46® (47% alc./vol.) and Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength™ Bourbon Whisky, (54%–57% alc./vol.) are distilled, aged and bottled by the Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc., in Loretto, Kentucky. In 1980, the distillery was designated a National Historic Landmark, becoming the first distillery in America to be so recognized, and has also been decreed as the “world’s oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery” by Guinness World Records®. The Maker’s Mark Distillery is one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, please visit the Maker’s Mark® website (www.makersmark.com).
Master Distiller at Castle & Key
Raised and educated in Oldham County, Kentucky, Marianne Barnes took a fascinating path from an interest in design to liquor. Although she always loved science and math in school, as a youngster her “dream jobs” when grown up progressed from linguist, to designer, and in high school had ambitions to be a mechanic even led to an active avocation working with cars. It wasn’t until her father suggested she might like engineering, which the path started on the direction to making spirits. Little did she realize that she would find herself in a history-making position in which the creative and the scientific would come together. A fortuitous confluence of circumstances – her love of science, analytic mind, exceptional sensory skills, drive, and a fateful internship choice – led to her being the first woman to earn the title of Master Distiller in Kentucky since Prohibition.
As a college student at University of Louisville, Barnes wasn’t sure just how she would utilize her chemical engineering degree. Barnes found herself having to make a choice between several possible college internships. It finally came down to choosing between renewable energy research or working for Brown-Forman. Choosing an internship in Brown-Forman’s R&D department where she first learned to make bourbon, though, would set her on in a direction that would put her squarely in the path of Bourbon history. “Being mentored by Woodford’s legendary Master Distiller Chris Morris was one of the best things that ever happened to me; learning from him really brought all of my studies and hard work together,” said Barnes. Barnes was recognized in Whiskey Advocate Magazine as “The Next Generation” for the Bourbon Industry, as well as being honored by Forbes and included in the 2015 Food & Drink 30 under 30 list. Now she steps into the role of Master Distiller herself and has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as on of America’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. Her combination of technical knowledge honed by hands-on experience, with a specialized palate and creative sensibility turn out to be a unique formula for her role as Master Distiller.
At 28, Barnes is well poised as a leader of the new generation of Spirits professionals that will shape the industry. She points out that her goals are “To use the Former Old Taylor distillery, an indisputable industry icon, as inspiration to build a new legacy of honesty and thoughtfully crafted spirits that will distinguish us in our product lines and guest experience.”
Barnes’ role in changing the dynamic in a predominantly male industry is clear. Praise for Barnes comes from thought leaders such Fred Minnick, author of Whiskey Women, who states that, “now that Marianne Barnes takes this title, she honors all the women past, present and future as the first woman to rise up the production ranks at a major Kentucky bourbon company and become a master distiller”.
Co-Founder & President, Lexington Bourbon Society Inc.
Matthew Preston is the co-founder and president of Lexington Bourbon Society Inc, a non-profit focusing on the history, process, and philanthropic impact of America’s Native Spirit. He earned his Certified Bourbon Steward endorsement from the Stave & Thief Society of Louisville, KY, and is actively involved with numerous establishments in private single barrel selections. Matthew’s passion for the history of his country, state, and preferred spirit are palpable and infectious.
MB Roland Distillery
MB Roland Distillery is a completely “grain to glass” craft distillery in Pembroke, Christian Co., Kentucky. Their bourbon is made with local white corn and bottled at “distillation & barrel proof.” It’s named after its co-founder Merry Beth (“MB”) Tomaszewski, who started it with her Iraq war veteran husband, Paul, in 2009.
Michter’s Distillery is located in the Shively section of Louisville, Kentucky, the heart of the American whiskey industry. It makes highly acclaimed, limited production whiskeys that have been subject to allocation because demand has exceeded supply. Michter’s is renowned for its small batch bourbon, single barrel bourbon, single barrel rye, and small batch American whiskey. In 2015, Michter’s was named the seventh Heritage Member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, thereby becoming the first distiller in 33 years to achieve that status.
Molly is a self-taught mixologist in Cincinnati. She has immersed herself in the knowledge of classic cocktails and fine spirits; studying the history and proper preparation of classic cocktails from books mainly. Cocktails invented in the 1700′s to the 1950′s. She uses classic cocktails as a base for creating new and innovative drinks containing simple syrups, bitters, liquors and fresh juices she makes herself.
Molly is honored to have been able to work at many popular, restaurants and bars throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.she is now co-owner of Japp’s Since 1879, Neons Unplugged, and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar. Molly was recently featured in Cincinnati Magazine, Cincinnati Enquirer, Metro Mix, and Cincy Chic, as well as many well-read blogs. She was currently voted best mixologist/bartender for CityBeat magazine for 2010 2011,2012,2013, and 2014,2015, and 2018.Molly was born and raised in Cincinnati. After 12 years in San Francisco, she returned to her beloved hometown to be closer to her family.Molly is the author of ” Handcrafted Cocktails”
New Riff Bourbon
New Riff Distillery
New Riff Distilling of Newport, Kentucky waited four very long years to release their first whiskeys. Now they’re bringing their freshly launched New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon to Bourbon & Beyond 2018. New Riff Distilling opened in 2014 and has been distilling Sour Mash Kentucky Bourbon on a 60-foot Vendome copper column still ever since. Be among the first Bourbon lovers in the country to taste this dynamic new high-rye, unfiltered Bourbon from a progressive, independently owned distillery.
Old Forester Distillery
A truly rare and distinctive occasion took place in Louisville, Kentucky in 1870. When George Garvin Brown sealed Bourbon in a bottle for the very first time, he did so knowing it would guarantee quality and consistency for Bourbon lovers everywhere. And five generations and nearly 150 years later, our family still watches over the production of every drop of Old Forester with that same care.
Old Pogue Distillery
The Old Pogue Distillery revives a proud bourbon family’s name. Made in one of the bourbon’s original cities, Old Pogue instills history in every glass.
Pappy Van Winkle
This very rare, limited edition bourbon takes generations of distilling know-how to produce. Only the most careful and expensive distilling method can be used to create a whiskey as special as this one. Each barrel ages for 23 years and is carefully selected from the heart of the warehouse. This whiskey should be enjoyed neat.
Kentucky Peerless Distillery
Our family’s very first bourbon went into barrel in 1889. We’ve revived the craft in our own state-of-the-art distillery, where we use the finest ingredients. We believe that patience builds character & fine bourbon can never be rushed. All under one roof, select Kentucky Peerless grains are milled, cooked, fermented, double-distilled and barreled as bourbon & rye. Allow us to share our distinctively authentic distillery and family history with you; we look forward to it.
Peggy Noe Stevens
Master Taster and Founder of Bourbon Women
In many ways, Peggy has been a trailblazer for women and yet has lived up to her heritage. She became the world’s first female Master Bourbon Taster in the industry and can trace her lineage back to some of the great bourbon making families in Kentucky. She is the founder of the Bourbon Women Association, the first female consumer group in the industry to celebrate and support the spirits industry with a platform for women. She also played a large role in the original strategic conception of the iconic Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which has become a global sensation for the spirits industry. Because of her accomplishments, she was given the prestigious “Networking Award” by the Kentucky Distiller’s Association in 2016 for making a difference in the industry for women. She has been called the “Oprah of entertaining,” and a “lifestyle maven.” As a spirit’s expert and sought-after speaker, she conducts tastings and food pairings around the world.
Preston Van Winkle
Marketing Manager, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
Preston is the fourth generation member of the Van Winkle family to enter into the bourbon business. He is the great-grandson of iconic bourbon maker Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. and son of current Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery President, Julian P. Van Winkle, III. Preston grew up in the post Stitzel-Weller era of Van Winkle bourbon production, exploring his father’s bottling hall and barrel warehouse in Lawrenceburg, KY., occasionally helping with the bottling and labeling.
Preston graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2001 and immediately started working for his father. Initially, he split time between the Louisville office and the Lawrenceburg bottling facility where he often processed bourbon for bottling and ran the bottling line as Julian had for the previous 20 plus years.
In 2002 the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery partnered with the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY, freeing up Julian and Preston from production duties enabling them to focus on the sales and marketing of the brands. Preston assumed the role of Marketing Manager for Old Rip Van Winkle and has worked since then to help manage and market the Van Winkle brands.
Rabbit Hole Distillery
Our Bourbon and Rye whiskeys are 100% Kentucky made, crafted to create a unique drinking experience. We produced our first barrel the same way we will produce every barrel: from our own mix of carefully selected grains, the mash fermented at ideal temperatures to preserve exactly the flavors and aromas we’re aiming for, then distilled without compromise. Rabbit Hole Distillery is at the city’s creative heart, the NULU district, the nexus of old and new, where artists and entrepreneurs pursue their vision without budgeting for regret. We could be nowhere else.
Lux Row Distillery
The rebel yell is one of the enduring legends of the War Between the States. Just as the rebel yell’s heritage remains true, so does that of its namesake, Rebel Yell® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. An authentic wheated bourbon, Rebel Yell has been made according to its original time-honored recipe since 1849.
Rock Hill Farms
Seductive aromatic notes of toasted walnut, dried red fruits, spice, cocoa and marshmallow. Flavors of dark chocolate, chocolate covered almond, coffee, tobacco and dark caramel. The finish is smooth, silky, toffee sweet and honeyed.
Head Cider Maker, Angry orchard
Ryan is the head cider maker at Angry Orchard. He is based at the cider house on the Angry Orchard, a 60-acre orchard in the Hudson Valley of New York. He grew up in Williamson, New York – a region known for apple growing – and his first jobs involved working on orchards in his hometown, so apples have been a part of his life from the beginning. Ryan has always been interested in agriculture and fermentation, both of which led him to pursue a career in cider making. Prior to joining the Angry Orchard team, Ryan racked up years of professional cider making experience, with a particular focus on cider barrel aging and varying fermentation processes. He currently serves as a board member to the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) and the Cider Institute of North America (CINA).
At the cider house, Ryan leads Angry Orchard’s research and development efforts. He and the other cider makers are focused on recipe and ingredient experimentation as well as cider innovation, including single varietal ciders and barrel aging. The ciders made in Walden are experimental, and have potential to ultimately become part of the Angry Orchard family of ciders available nationwide.
Wooden Sleeper: When apples start to come off the trees and summer turns to fall, cider season has begun! We take that as a cue to lay down a special fermentation made of bittersweet and sharp apples for a long rest in Bourbon barrels. A year later, we wake this warming cider up and blend it to help you through the long winter ahead. Share with friends and enjoy!
Black Bourbon Society
Samara Rivers is the Chief Bourbon Enthusiast of Black Bourbon Society. With over 10 years of event planning, fundraising, grassroots marketing experience, and a lover of bourbon and Japanese whiskies; Samara integrates all of her skills and passions into making Black Bourbon Society the premier bourbon resource for a niche audience of affluent African American consumers across the country.
Recently deemed as East Bay Express’ “Most Influential Bourbon Drinker”, Samara Rivers served on the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail Diversity Council, is a guest contributor for Bevy.co and the Bourbon Zeppelin Newsletter, and often appears as a guest co-host on The Bourbon Daily Show. She is also a Stave & Thief Society Executive Bourbon Steward.
Black Bourbon Society brings together African American Bourbon Enthusiasts from across the country. With over 2300 members, Black Bourbon Society has partnered and featured several brands including Wild Turkey, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, Uncle Nearest and Glenfiddich. Through exclusive events, curated dinner pairings and private whiskey tastings; Black Bourbon Society encourages its members to enjoy good bourbon, network with like-minded bourbon lovers and gain a deeper appreciation for America’s Native Spirit.
Samara is also the principal planner for Samara Rivers Events, a boutique event planning company that produces large-scale corporate and nonprofit fundraising events. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her children, Alva & Rex.
Boone County Distilling
Sara Barnes is the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Boone County Distilling Company in Boone County, Kentucky. Since joining Boone County Distilling, Sara has helped foster relationships with numerous small businesses across the tri-state area and she has helped to raise the profile of craft distilleries across Kentucky through her involvement with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. Sara oversees all private and promotional events with the distillery, manages the private barrel selection program, and she manages all marketing and social media.
She is a certified Executive Bourbon Steward, Certified Tourism Ambassador™, an active member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, NKY Chamber of Commerce member and a member of the Bourbon Women.
Sara grew up in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management from the University of South Carolina. Go Gamecocks!
Silver Dollar Hunter’s Club
An exclusive bar with experimental, rare, and hard-to-find bourbons, The Hunter’s Club is a bourbon hound’s dream come true. The Silver Dollar will be on site curating and serving up this year’s bourbon list.
Bar Director, Milkwood & Whiskey Dry
Bar Director at MilkWood and Whiskey Dry Stacie Stewart leads the inventive bar programs at MilkWood and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY. She is passionate amount creating her own infusions and vermouths, and she constantly changes the cocktail menus to match the restaurants’ food and the seasons. The cocktail menu at MilkWood is divided by the fives tastes – umami, bitter, sour, salty, and sweet – although Stewart aims to incorporate all of those elements in each cocktail. At Whiskey Dry, Stewart focuses on inventive and lower ABV whiskey cocktails, with each drink highlighting the nuances of the global whiskey in it. Stewart aims to guide guests at both of the restaurants to explore outside their comfort sounds and try new flavors.
In 2017, Wine Enthusiast named Stewart one of the 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. She has also
recently been featured in Garden & Gun, GQ, and bon appetit. In 2018, Stewart is serving on the first ever all-female Advisory Council for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.
Stewart lives in New Albany, Indiana. When she’s not testing out cocktails for work, she prefers a gin on the rocks.
George T. Stagg built the most dominant American distillery of the 19th century, during a time known as the Gilded Age of Bourbon. Uncut and unfiltered, this robust bourbon whiskey ages for nearly a decade and boasts the bold character that is reminiscent of the man himself.
Steve Coomes is an award-winning Louisville food and spirits writer. Over 27 years he has edited and written for dozens of national and local publications with the sole interest of telling stories about what humans consume just for fun. A former chef, Steve transitioned in 1991 from working in restaurants to writing about those who run them, but for the past few years he’s deepened his focus on cocktails and spirits, particularly the brown ones from Kentucky. He’s authored two books, “Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke,” and “The Home Distiller’s Guide to Spirits,” and he’s cowritten/ghostwritten two others. Steve also conducts small and large-scale food and spirits pairings for clients around the country.
Named after Thomas Metcalfe (1780-1855), US Representative, Senator and tenth Governor of Kentucky, who was a stone mason prior to politics. Thus, his nickname was Old Stone Hammer. Enjoy notes of butterscotch, anise, pepper, hazelnut and caramel all weekend long with this 90 proof bourbon.
Mixologist, The Silver Dollar & The Pearl
Susie Hoyt has been bartending for 15 years, starting out in clubs and sports bars, and eventually transitioning over to classic cocktails and spirits after studying under authorities Toby Maloney and Bridget Albert. She worked at many great places in Chicago such as Sable, Big Star, and The Violet Hour before moving to Louisville in 2011. She helms the beverage programs at The Silver Dollar and The Pearl in Louisville, is the President of the USBG Kentucky Chapter, and enjoys being close to so many great Bourbon distilleries.
The Big Bourbon Bar
Presented by Courier Journal
The Big Bourbon Bar presented by Courier-Journal features our incredible lineup of bourbons curated by our experts and you, the fans! Whether you’re in the mood for something adventurous or a classic concoction, our expert bartenders will be shaking, stirring, and serving up delicious bourbon cocktails all weekend long..
The Big Bourbon Bar will also feature great music and talks all weekend long. Our friends at The Bluegrass Situation have curated a lineup of bluegrass bands to provide the soundtrack for the weekend.
The Big Bourbon Bar featuring 20 Bourbon Partners
Angel’s Envy, Barrell Bourbon, Bloody Butcher’s Creed, Contradiction, Coopers’ Craft, Four Roses, Jefferson’s, Larceny, Michter’s, O.K.I., Old Forester, Peerless, Rebel Yell, Stone Hammer, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve and more.
The Buffalo Club
Presented by Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace Distillery crafts some of the finest whiskies in the world. At The Buffalo Club, you have the opportunity to take part in the ultimate Buffalo Trace tasting experience. Fans will be guided through intimate tastings of Buffalo Trace favorites. Other Sazerac family brands will also be served inside.
Thomas Wade Daniels
Founder & master Distiller, WadeLyn Ranch Distillery
My journey to becoming a distiller is steeped in family tradition passed down through generations. It all started back in the 1700s in the eastern mountains of Kentucky and across the state line into Virginia. My great, great, great grandfather Thomas Stevens, an English pioneer, met my great, great, great grandmother Martha Ferrell, a Cherokee Indian, on his way from North Carolina to Kentucky. Martha’s side of the family brought the first key ingredient to the whisky – Corn.
The recipe was handed down to their son Andrew J. Stevens, who started making whisky in the mountains along the VA and KY border. Andrew had a son named Robert Lee Stevens that he trained in the fine art of making whisky. Robert carried on the tradition even though prohibition in the 1920s tried to stop him. He was eventually caught and served a little jail time for making whisky. Even through the prohibition era, Robert passed the tradition on to my grandfather and grandmother, and so on. I, Wade Daniels, learned the family recipe early in life from my grandfather and father who taught me the fine art of making the good stuff – Our Family Tradition Whisky.
In my youth, I worked on the farm and helped my father make whisky the old fashioned way, just like my forefathers did. After high school, I left the farm fields in the 1990s for college and a career in the industrial engineering and automotive tooling fields which has consumed much of the first half of my life. In making plans for the second half of life, my wife Julie and I decided I should do something that I enjoyed and did well, so – we decided to craft fine spirits in the tradition of my family.
Julie and I started the distillery on our family farm in 2013, blending new technology with the recipes and processes that have been handed down through my family. Even our still combines traditional and modern technology; it is a hybrid pot still, this way I can ensure that only the best of a run gets into each barrel. My aim is to do grampa and the rest of the family proud, by making smooth, good quality liquor.
Tiki Barrel Bar
PRESENTED BY JIM BEAM
Say “aloha” to any worries when you stop by the Tiki Barrel Bar. With bourbon and rum-based specialty island cocktails, shade and seating areas, Tiki Barrel Bar is sure to be the oasis you need to make your festival vacation complete.
Chief Entertaining Officer, Brown-Forman
Tim Laird is an authority on wines and spirits with more than 25 years experience in the hospitality industry. A connoisseur of fine wines, spirits and champagnes, Tim is also a gourmet chef and a master at entertaining and execution. He makes hundreds of appearances a year on radio and television programs and has appeared on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Fox & Friends, The Tonight Show; ABC World News Now and the CNN, FOX News and CNBC networks. Tim also hosts two weekly television shows in his home state of Kentucky – Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs and Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live. He is a featured columnist for Louisville’s Food & Dining Magazine, author of the book, That’s Entertaining! With Tim Laird, America’s C.E.O. – Chief Entertaining Officer, That’s Entertaining! Cocktails and Appetizers and the recently released The Bourbon Country Cookbook.
In his current role as Chief Entertaining Officer of Brown-Forman, a major producer of fine wines and spirits in Louisville, Kentucky, Tim enjoys teaching audiences around the world how to make entertaining fun and easy, and how to make delicious cocktails. In the past, he also worked for Korbel Champagne, E&J Gallo and Stroh’s Brewery.
Tim is an active volunteer in Louisville serving as a board member for Winston Industries, as an honorary board member for the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, and as a member of the advisory board for APRON, Inc.
Founder, Jefferson’s Bourbon
Trey Zoeller is the founder and Master Blender of McLain & Kyne, Ltd., producer of the Jefferson’s portfolio of bourbons. Trey Zoeller founded the company in 1997 with his father Chet, a famed bourbon author and historian.
Jefferson’s Bourbon is distributed in 50 states and 9 countries. Trey purchases aged bourbon in barrels, ages it, and marries together “very small batches” to deliver a unique yet consistent flavor profile for each of his whiskies.
To personify the brand and differentiate it from others on the market, Trey chose Thomas Jefferson, who’s known for both his curiosity and experimental spirit. This mindset embodies what the brand set out to achieve: upholding tradition, while always discovering new possibilities and pushing the boundaries of the bourbon category.
There are currently eleven blends of Jefferson’s available on the market, including cult favorite Jefferson’s Ocean; The Manhattan: a barrel-aged cocktail made in collaboration with Esquire Magazine, a series of wine-aged Bourbons including Jefferson’s Pritchard Hill, Jefferson’s Reserve Groth Finish, and Jefferson’s Suduiraut; Jefferson’s Reserve Old Rum Cask Finish, and Jefferson’s Flatboat Journey, which was created in an effort to recreate the bourbon maturation and transportation practices of the past.
Trey is the father of twins and enjoys playing polo, squash and coaching his son’s lacrosse team. In his free time, he goes hunting and fishing. Trey received a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University in 1990.
Tripp Stimson, who hails from Chattanooga, is Master Distiller and Director of Distillery Operations at Barrell Craft Spirits. Tripp met Barrell Craft Spirits Founder Joe Beatrice in 2015, and they began their work together blending and producing interesting and unique whiskeys. Tripp is responsible for developing product formulation, and the design and buildout of the Barrell Craft Sprits distillery, with a focus on the processes and operations that create unique, high quality spirits.
A biochemist with a background in biochemistry and molecular biology, Tripp brings his experience with the “whys” and “hows” of what goes into creating quality spirits through efficient distillery operation, as well as a keen understanding of the art and science of blending. Tripp has spent over 14 years in the alcohol beverage industry. Microbiology, distillery operation and processes, quality control, troubleshooting and remediation – he’s done it all. Following his graduation from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, he was recruited by Brown-Forman as a Research and Development Scientist.
During his 9-year tenure at Brown-Forman, Tripp gained experience in yeasting, fermentation, and the distillery sciences and operations while working for distilleries such as Jack Daniels, Old Forester and Woodford Reserve. He also worked in Brown-Forman’s Wine and Tequila Divisions. Most recently, he helped to design and build the Kentucky Artisan Distillery, where he was Master Distiller and the Director of Distillery Operations. Tripp also has an interest in different malts and the malting process, which let him to design and build Kentucky’s first modern malting operation.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
The Original Wheated Bourbon Whiskey features an exceptionally smooth taste, substituting wheat for rye grain. Bottled at 90 proof, this bourbon stands out with its burnt orange color. Its softer flavor notes make this bourbon great for sipping or making cocktails.
Wadelyn Ranch Distilling
Wade lyn Ranch Distilling was founded in 2013 by Thomas Wade Daniels, a sixth generation distillery. The distillery was created with family traditions in mind. In fact, it’s also the name of their first single barrel Bourbon, bottled at barrel proof.
Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Angel's Envy
As Co-Founder, Wes Henderson’s vision to create a one-of-a-kind spirit with his father introduced the world to Angel’s Envy. His son, Kyle, would later join them, making Angel’s Envy the work of three generations of Hendersons. Today, that same vision continues, as Wes serves as the brand’s Chief Innovation Officer. In this role, Wes shepherds Angel’s Envy’s future as his company continues to innovate, grow and craft some of the finest, award-winning whiskeys in the world.
Since Angel’s Envy’s launch, Wes has served as a tireless ambassador for the fledgling brand, forging personal connections with both fans and folks new to whiskey all across the country. While he has many other roles and responsibilities, his ability to share his love for his work over a glass of Angel’s Envy can never be understated.
Before co-founding Angel’s Envy, Wes was the CEO for Master Distilling Select, as well as the President and CEO of Conecuh Ridge Distillery, the producer of Clyde May’s Whiskey. He also serves his community as a volunteer firefighter, and is a licensed pilot, specializing in search and rescue. Wes is a devoted husband and the father of six boys. His proudest achievement has been building a distilling legacy for his family. Three generations may have launched Angel’s Envy, but Wes is always looking to the future.
Mark Gillespie is the host and executive producer of WhiskyCast, one of podcasting’s longest-running shows and now in its 13th year of providing whisky lovers with weekly news and interviews from the world of whisky, along with the WhiskyCast Tasting Panel podcast and the WhiskyCast HD video podcast. A former contributing editor for Whisky Magazine, Mark is a veteran journalist with more than three decades of experience in broadcast and online journalism. He and his family own CaskStrength Media in the charming, yet regrettably dry town of Haddonfield, New Jersey.
Founded in 2008, WhistlePig is the premier aged Rye Whiskey, featuring the bold and often untapped flavor of rye. WhistlePig is leading a surge of innovation in the emerging field of North American whiskey. As the most decorated Rye Whiskey – having received the coveted ‘Best In Show Whiskey’ title from the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition– WhistlePig is widely viewed as the world’s finest Rye. With the opening of its distillery on its 500-acre Vermont farm in the fall of 2015, WhistlePig has also become one of the leading farm-to-bottle Rye Whiskeys in the world.
We believe that being true to who you are is what counts in life, even if that means standing out. We say what we really think and embrace who we are, and it shows in our bourbon. Wild Turkey is bold, spicy and different—the way it’s meant to be made.
Wilderness Trail Distillery
Wilderness Trail Distillery began Bourbon production in October 2013 on a 250 gallon Vendome pot still. In addition to producing 3-4 barrels of our wheated bourbon mash bill a week, they expanded the distillery, created more room in rickhouses and became industry thought leaders. Their first bourbon release is one of the most highly anticipated in the state.
The Willett family distilling legacy began in Kentucky shortly after the Civil War. John David Willett was the Master Distiller and part owner of Moore, Willett & Frenke Distillery in Bardstown, KY. John David’s son Lambert Willett walked 5 miles each way to his distill- ing job at the current site of Barton’s. It wasn’t until Lambert began working at the Bernhiem Distillery in Louisville that he purchased a car for his commute. Lambert worked 6 days a week for nearly a decade at Bernhiem.
During prohibition, Lambert raised cattle and hogs to support his family and community. The effects of prohibition were devastating to the Bourbon Capitol of the World. Immediately following the repeal of prohibition in December of 1933, Lambert’s son Thompson Willett began learning the distilling trade working alongside his father at the age of 25.
Est. 1936. Three short years after prohibition, the Willett family chose the highest point in Nelson County, Kentucky to begin construction on what is now the Willett Distillery. By St Patrick’s Day 1937, the first barrel of whiskey was rolled into Warehouse A.
After 80 years, Willett remains independently family owned and operated. Under the leadership of parents Even and Martha Willett Kulsveen, the fifth generation of family distillers, siblings Britt and Drew Kulsveen, are continuing the family tradition of spirits excellence, generosity and southern hospitality. Janelle Kulsveen, Drew’s wife, hosts visitors from all over the world for tours and tastings. The over 43,000 annual visitors have necessitated a number of expansion projects on the Willett property including the addition of a premium cocktail bar.
Family of Brands: Willett Pot Still Reserve, Johnny Drum Private Stock, Johnny Drum Black Label, Old Bardstown Bottled In Bond, Old Bardstown Estate Bottled, Old Bardstown 90 Proof, Noah’s Mill, Row- an’s Creek, Pure Kentucky, Kentucky Vintage and the Willett Family Estate collection.
Woodford Reserve Distillery
The art of making fine bourbon first took place on the site of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, a National Historic Landmark, in 1812. The perfectly balanced taste of our Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is comprised of more than 200 detectable flavor notes, from bold grain and wood, to sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit & floral notes.