Thursday, April 9, 2015

Brown-Forman Has the Kentucky Derby Locked Up

With the Kentucky Derby just a little more than three weeks away, let's make sure we have this straight. Brown-Forman's Woodford Reserve is the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. Meanwhile, Brown-Forman's Old Forester Mint Julep is the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby. For the last 20-some years, the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby has been Brown-Forman's Early Times Mint Julep. According to the Official Kentucky Derby web site, it still is.

Both Old Forester and Early Times are selling a pre-mixed mint julep. The Old Forester version is a little more expensive. They both come in a commemorative bottle that changes every year. Woodford Reserve also does a commemorative Derby bottle, but it contains regular Woodford Reserve bourbon, not a pre-mixed cocktail.

The most popular souvenir at the Derby itself is a mint julep in a commemorative glass, which also changes annually. This year, that drink will be made with the Old Forester pre-mix.

Old Forester bourbon is the product that launched Brown-Forman in 1870. The first Kentucky Derby was run five years later, in 1875.


Keith W said...

I will forever push the Seelbach as a better Derby drink. Still whiskey, but with champagne, and invented right there in the Derby City.

Fred Minnick said...

Brown-Forman's connection to the Kentucky Derby is an envious one. After Prohibition, all the brands chased sponsorship. Four Roses and National were the big ones, but Brown-Forman held true, always sponsoring the program, the drinks and even came out with commemorative bottlings in the 1950s. Today, people look at the sponsorship and say they own the Derby, but the truth is it's in their DNA and they do a good job promoting the greatest race. I personally believe they're one of the best sponsors in horse racing, as they do a lot for retired horses and sponsoring purses.

At the Kentucky Derby Museum, I have my own room during Derby Day and can taste an assortment of products. I can't recall what my lineup is this year, but I know it will be the best bar during Derby! Sections of the track can also serve non-Brown-Forman products, but you'll see mostly Woodford and Old Forester in most parts.

Doctor Tarr said...

The last time I was in Churchill Downs there were Jack Daniels banners all over the place, so it's not just the Derby.

Todd said...

I don't understand the concept of a premixed mint julep. The drink only has three ingredients: bourbon, sugar, and fresh mint. Is the mix just sweetened bourbon? I hope so, because you really can't bottle fresh mint.

Chuck Cowdery said...

The pre-mix also contains mint flavoring. At the track, the mint leaves are just garnish.