Next weekend, I will be in Louisville for the Bourbon Classic. It starts Friday evening, March 22, at 7:00 PM and continues on Saturday, March 23, starting at 2:30 PM at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, 501 West Main Street in downtown Louisville.
I'm moderating a panel at 5:30 PM on Saturday called "Lives, Legends and Legacies: An Interactive Conversation about the Bourbon Barons." The panel is Bill Samuels Jr., retired Maker's Mark CEO; Mike Veach, bourbon historian; and Freddie Johnson, Buffalo Trace tour guide and third-generation distillery worker.
We're going to talk about Kentucky bourbon history, from settlement to the present, or as much as we can in 45 minutes.
The panel is part of something called Bourbon Classic University. You have a choice of three programs for the first session (4:15 PM - 5:00 PM), and four for the second (5:30 PM - 6:15 PM). Mine is during the second session and I do so hope you'll pick me.
I'll be around for all of the other major events too.
There has never been anything quite like the Bourbon Classic. It's the first major event for bourbon enthusiasts presented in Louisville, Kentucky's largest city. It's 14 hours of nothing but Kentucky whiskey, bourbon and rye. It's a new event, inspired by the recent explosion of interest in American whiskey. The complete schedule of activities is here.
One ticket gets you into all of the Friday activities, another gets you into all of the Saturday activities, and you can get a package deal for both. At this late date, you probably should call the box office, toll free, at 800-775-7777. (In Louisville it's 502-584-7777.)
All events are at the beautiful Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, which is downtown on the riverfront, on Louisville's historic 'Whiskey Row,' where most of Kentucky's whiskey companies had their offices and warehouses during the industry's pre-Prohibition heyday.
Heaven Hill Distilleries, which has had offices on Main Street since the 1940s, is presently converting its building into The Evan Williams Experience, opening sometime next year.
Main Street and vicinity is where you'll also find the Louisville Slugger Museum, Louisville Slugger Field, 21c Museum Hotel, Frazier History Museum, Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky Show, Kentucky Museum of Art and Crafts, Louisville Science Center, Yum Center, and many bars, restaurants and hotels. Much of Main Street still looks as it did in the late 19th century. It has the largest concentration of 19th century cast iron facades outside of New York.
This promises to be a very fun weekend and because it's the first time, anything can happen. I'm looking forward to it and hope to see you there.