Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2015 Cover

The twenty-fourth annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, celebrating the passion, history and art of making great Kentucky Bourbon, will be held in Bardstown, September 15 – 20, 2015.

To say that this is a ‘Big Deal’ is an understatement. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival basically overtakes the small town of Bardstown, Kentucky for an entire week. Looking at the schedule of 40+ events it must take an entire year of planning to host this event each year. Festival organizers say there are approximately 35 event chairs and hundreds of volunteers getting ready for this world class event.

Bardstown Kentucky The Most Beautiful Small Town in America
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In 2012 Rand McNally and USA Today competition, named Bardstown the most beautiful small town in America.

Bourbon is a $3 billion dollar signature industry in Kentucky and 69% of the world’s bourbon comes from in or around Nelson County, including the adjacent counties of Bullitt and Marion. This is what makes Bardstown the Bourbon Capital of the World™.

Mark Your 2016 Calendar
The 2016 Kentucky Bourbon Festival will take place September 13 – 18, 2016.

The attendance for last year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival was approximately 54,000 individuals hailing from 44 States and 14 different countries as well as the District of Columbia.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and in the case of Bardstown, Kentucky, his name is Bourbon.

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The Kentucky Bourbon Festival offers the opportunity to sample fine Bourbon whiskey from all of Kentucky’s great distilleries, lively entertainment, unique competitive events, southern cooking and a big dose of Kentucky hospitality making this festival truly one of a kind. Family-oriented events are also available.

Jimmy Rutledge of Wild Turkey and Fred Noe of Jim Beam
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Fred Noe of Jim Beam and Jimmy Rutledge of Wild Turkey from 2014 Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Photo courtesy of KBF.

The twenty-fourth annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival will feature over 40 major events and attractions including:

  • The World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay®
  • Bourbon, Cigars & Jazz®
  • The Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting & Gala®
  • Sip & Savor in the Spirit of Old Kentucky™
  • Culinary Art: Bourbon-Style Cooking School®
  • Kentucky Bourbon Breakfast
  • Bourbon Cocktail Mixology™
  • Boots & Bourbon™
  • Festival on the Lawn (lots of free, live music!)
  • Kentucky Bourbon Festival Golf Tournament
  • Kentucky Bourbon All-Star Sampler®
  • Balloon Glow
  • Exploring the Flavors of Bourbon
  • Master Distillers Auction
  • Let’s Talk Bourbon®
  • Arco Speakeasy

There are several new VIP events in 2015.

  • From Wednesday through Sunday, take a break from Kentucky Bourbon Festival activities in The Loft. Guests will relax in an exclusive retreat, sample premium Bourbons and enjoy classic Kentucky cuisine in the comfort of an air conditioned lounge among other exclusive amenities. September 16 through 20, $400 each. Limited availability.
  • The Bourbon, Cigars and Jazz VIP Experience will offer rare bottle tastings and direct interaction with Heaven Hill Master Distillers prior to our popular event. These VIP guests will also enjoy expedited entry and reserved seating at the main event. September 18, $200 each. Limited availability.

New locations for events that continue to be favorites have been announced.

  • My Old Kentucky Dinner Train Depot will be the new site of Friday’s popular event, Any Way She Likes It. Peggy Noe Stevens guides guests in the pairings of food and Bourbon aromas and flavors, and gives tips on creating the perfect Bourbon bar for entertaining. September 18, $60 each.
  • The Evolution of Bourbon through Bluegrass Music moves to the Kreso Theater. See, hear, smell, feel and taste the history of Bourbon with Bourbon Ambassador Bernie Lubbers and Bluegrass musician Hickory Vaught in this lively show. September 15, $60 each.

man rolling barrel
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World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay. Photo courtesy of KBF.

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival begun in 1992 as a Bourbon tasting and dinner, its grown with the leadership and support of the following distilleries – Barton 1792 Distillery, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Brands, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark Distillery, Wild Turkey Distillery, and Woodford Reserve Distillery plus the Independent Stave Company and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Additional major sponsors include Kentucky Bourbon brands – Bulleit Bourbon, Blanton’s Michter’s and Rebel Yell.

Many distilleries, plus genuine Kentucky arts and crafters, display their wares…on the lawn of Spalding Hall from Friday evening through Sunday.

Events during the Festival are open to the public, most are free but some require reservations and tickets. Ticket prices vary from free to up to $400 so it’s best to check the event website for more details. For event and ticket information visit or call 800-638-4877 or 502-348-3623.

Now, sit back and relax while you enjoy My Old Kentucky Home from this summer’s production of The Stephen Foster Story.

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