The good news is Covid-19 stats are starting to improve and people are getting vaccinated across the nation including Kentucky. The bad news is the virus is still real, it’s still contagious and it’s still deadly.
Unfortunately for bourbon lovers the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, representing distilleries across the state of Kentucky, has decided to scratch the Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ fantasy camp for the second year in a row due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we are encouraged with vaccinations and declining cases, it would be difficult to hold such intimate, elegant events that attract people from all over the world,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “It would not be fair to all involved – from our loyal Kentucky Bourbon Affair fans to our distillery employees.”
Gregory said several factors weighed in the difficult decision, including travel issues, limits on attendance, CDC and social distancing guidelines, uncertainty about variants and conditions in the fall and caution around distillery workers and resources that are currently off-limits.
“This is the second year we have had to cancel this event, but it is the right and responsible decision to make,” Gregory said. “We are getting closer every day to beating the pandemic. This simply isn’t the time to let our guard down or take any chances with people’s health and safety.
“It takes time to craft our great Kentucky Bourbon. We can afford to wait one more year.”
The Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ each year welcomes thousands of Bourbon aficionados, enthusiasts and visitors to the Commonwealth for an exclusive week of behind-the-scenes experiences, rare tastings and unique culinary events at the world’s most famous distilleries.
The Kentucky Bourbon Affair was scheduled to coincide with Danny Wimmer’s Bourbon & Beyond music festival in September, which has been canceled for 2021, as well.
Gregory said the KDA consulted with officials in Louisville – which has been the KBA official host city since its inception in 2014. “No one was surprised at the decision, but we are all disappointed,” he said.
Karen Williams, President and CEO of Louisville Tourism, said the KDA has been a great partner in helping put Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Experience on the map by hosting its most prestigious event in Bourbon City since 2014.
“We support this difficult decision for this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair and commit to working with the distilleries to host an even larger event in 2022, including some exciting additions that we hope to share in the near future,” Williams said.
Most Kentucky distilleries are now open for distillery tours and tastings but with scaled down capacity limits. Bourbon fans are encouraged to call ahead or go online to check with individual distilleries about in-person tours, tastings and visitor center hours.