Bourbon Heritage Month just got a whole lot more interesting. Does a second year event make for a ‘heritage’, something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition? In the case of the Bourbon and Beyond festival we think the answer is a big, “Yes.”
Last year was the inaugural Bourbon & Beyond festival. The event took place over one weekend and attracted more than 50,000 people over two days. For a first year event, the producers and city leaders were ecstatic with the results. The producers were so pleased that they inked a deal to host the event at Champions Park in Louisville, Kentucky for the next 10 years.
How Big a Deal is this for Bourbon?
Bestselling bourbon and spirits author Fred Minnick explains, “I want to put this into perspective from a simple pouring which is when you take a bottle and pour it. It’s a measurement in the drinks business of case sales; it’s how they measure volume. Between Louder Than Life (an event that takes place on the following weekend) and Bourbon & Beyond they poured 600 cases of bourbon. 600 cases, that makes them the largest volume bourbon festival in the world and I believe the largest spirits festival in the world.” Kind of a big deal.
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“The underlying theme of Bourbon & Beyond is a celebration of craftsmanship. I’ve asked our team to approach every aspect of this festival with the same handcrafted spirit that is used by all of the participating artisans. Each and every one of these distilleries, master distillers, musicians, and chefs have spent years mastering their craft. I am honored and humbled that they have agreed to participate in our second year,” says Danny Wimmer, founder of Danny Wimmer Presents.
Announcing the 2018 Music Lineup
Last year’s music lineup was solid, this year’s lineup is rock solid. The 2018 music lineup includes: Sting, John Mayer, Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters, Lenny Kravitz, Counting Crows, David Byrne, Sheryl Crow, Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot!, Kaleo, Gov’t Mule, Keb’ Mo’, Blackberry Smoke, JJ Grey & Mofro, Don Felder, The Record Company, Del McCoury Band, Joseph, Magpie Salute, Mindi Abair And The Boneshakers, Larkin Poe, The Last Bandoleros and Swimming With Bears.
Along with world-class musical performances happening throughout the weekend on the two main music stages, The Big Bourbon Bar will feature a bluegrass stage curated by the genre’s leading authority, The Bluegrass Situation, all weekend long. Artists performing include: The Travelin’ McCourys, Billy Strings, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Ben Sollee, River Whyless, and Lindsay Lou.
Announcing the 2018 Chef and Food Lineup
Louisville has a thriving food scene as recognized by Top Chef, which will be filming their upcoming 16th season in the city. Bourbon & Beyond’s culinary celebration will highlight top talent including:
- Tom Colicchio (Top Chef head judge; Crafted Hospitality founder)
- Edward Lee (Executive Chef for 610 Magnolia, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY; Culinary Director for Succotash in National Harbor, MD and Washington, DC)
- Stephanie Izard (Chef/Partner at Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner, and Duck Duck Goat in Chicago, IL; Iron Chef Gauntlet winner)
- Aarón Sánchez (Chef/Owner at Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans, LA; MasterChef judge)
- Ray Garcia (Chef/Owner at Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria in Los Angeles, CA)
- Damaris Phillips (Louisville, KY native, Food Network host, cookbook author)
- Akhtar Nawab (Louisville, KY native, Chef/Owner at Alta Calidad in New York City, Fero in Birmingham, AL and Prather’s on the Alley in Washington, DC)
- Alex Thomopoulos (Chef, blogger, Bravo.com’s Going Off The Menu)
- Jose Salazar (Chef/Owner at Mita and Salazar in Cincinnati, OH; 2018 James Beard Foundation nominee)
- Anthony Lamas (Chef/Owner at Seviche, a Latin Restaurant in Louisville, KY)
- Annie Pettry (Chef/Owner at Decca in Louisville, KY)
- Ryan Rogers (Owner of Feast BBQ, Royals Hot Chicken and bar Vetti in Louisville, KY)
More food experiences are expected to be released soon.
New This Year – Friday Night Show Activities
Bourbon & Beyond has also announced its first official pre-show activities on Friday including a Supper Club hosted by Tom Colicchio and Edward Lee, events at the Muhammad Ali Center, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at local distilleries from Mint Julep Experiences, and bourbon educational sessions from Stave & Thief. Adds Wimmer, “Our plan is to continue to involve more and more of the community, in both Louisville and greater Kentucky. This state has so many treasures and my goal is to showcase them all. This year’s Friday night lineup is just a hint of what is to come.”
First Ever Jack (Daniels) and Jim (Beam) Master Distiller Discussion
Bourbon & Beyond also offers a unique series of over 30 bourbon and food-focused seminars at the festival, including a first-ever discussion between Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett and Jim Beam’s master distiller Fred Noe. This should be interesting.
“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.”
Other bourbon and food-focused onsite seminars at the festival will include:
- Family Affair: The Van Winkles—The Van Winkle family will have a few stories to tell, such as when nobody wanted their bourbon.
- My Daddy Was A Moonshiner—Hear how Thomas Wade Daniels decided to break his family nighttime distilling practices and make legitimate whiskey.
- The Audacity Of Sourced Whiskey—Panelists discuss one of the most controversial whiskey topics of the past decade.
- We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Master Distiller—In an industry that covets its master distillers, the truth is, it’s a team effort.
- Rarest Whiskey In The World—Hidden in local bars and liquor stores are the rarest bourbons in the world. Learn how to spot them.
- The Joy Of Vintage Whiskey—In basements, at garage sales and even antique shops are old whiskey bottles collecting dust. Hear the story of America’s underground whiskey culture.
- The Nearest Green Story—Nearest Green was the distiller the world never knew. Until now. Featuring Fawn Weaver, founder of Uncle Nearest Whiskey.
- Food Pairings: Bird And Bourbon—America’s spirit pairs with more birds than the chicken.
- Local Grains, Big Fame—Many distilleries have farmer relationships spanning several generations. In fact, some grow their own grains.
- Bourbon Mixology: Slushie Time—Who knew that bourbon slushies would become all the rage?
The second annual Bourbon & Beyond festival returns to Champions Park in Louisville, KY, Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23, 2018. Ticket prices vary from $80 for a single day to $999 for a two-day VIP experience.
The Complete 2018 Bourbon & Beyond Music Lineup
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