Louisville has long been known for its bourbon, and its spirited offerings just keep growing. So it’s not surprising that the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau has used bourbon to leverage the city’s brand across its client base, from leisure traveler to group business.
Recently, for example, the CVB unveiled a new bourbon and music festival in September to capitalize on its already jam-packed National Bourbon Heritage Month.
“In really using bourbon as one of our core brand pillars,” said Jessica Dillree, the Louisville CVB’s marketing communications manager, “we have incorporated it when we travel on the road to shows, when we host meetings and conventions, have festivals, and attract leisure travelers to attractions — it should be synonymous with Louisville now.”
Every September, Louisville’s convention sales team hits the road to offer a handful of its key markets a taste of the bourbon lifestyle — celebrating Bourbon Heritage Month through a combination of festivals and events. These events include “Bourbon, Bluegrass & Blue Jeans” in Chicago, “Art of Bourbon” in Atlanta and “Taste of Louisville” in D.C. There are also a number of pop-up events for the leisure travelers in Chicago throughout September.
And for the first time, Bourbon & Beyond is on tap the same month as well: On Sept. 23–24, Louisville will come alive with master distillers, national and local chefs, bartenders, and musicians — including such names as Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, and the Steve Miller Band. The festival also will include a 20,000-square-foot bar called The Big Bourbon Bar; The Hunter’s Club, specializing in experimental, rare, and hard-to-find bourbons; The Bourbon Barrel Cooperage, a behind-the-scenes look at how coopers craft the oak barrels used to age bourbon; The Distillery, an interactive experience to discover the life of a master blender, taster, and distiller; and Bourbon Workshops, free and intimate distilling, bartending, pairing, and cooking workshops.
“Bourbon & Beyond joins a stellar lineup of Louisville-based bourbon events including the Bourbon Classic, Kentucky Bourbon Affair, Bourbonville, the Bourbon Lodge at Forecastle, and many other tasting events throughout the year,” Dillree said. “What will set this new event apart is its unique focus on music and introducing concert-goers who may not already be whiskey fans to the city’s iconic bourbon culture and heritage.”
New distillery tours in Louisville also offer leisure visitors and meeting attendees alike the option to take advantage of this bourbon culture year-round. The city’s Urban Bourbon Experience offers classes, tastings, and paired dinners along the Urban Bourbon Trail. Angels Envy just opened downtown, joining Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse, Kentucky Peerless Distillery, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience, and Copper & Kings.
For more information, visit GoToLouisville.com.