Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival

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When people think of Kentucky, things like horses, bluegrass, and – of course – bourbon come to mind. Soon the new Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival, planned for the fall 2019 will be added to that list.

Born from a desire to shine a light on the Northern Kentucky region and heritage, the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival will take place October 4 and 5, 2019 at venues throughout Covington and Newport, Kentucky just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. This inaugural event is designed to share on a local, national, and international scale what makes Northern Kentucky such a special place.

Organizers say Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival will be like the SXSW for bourbon, with Covington and Newport as the campus. The weekend will include a free music festival on the river, a Kentucky artisan market in MainStrasse Village, and a bourbon conference at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. There will be bourbon pairings, tastings, and musical performances at restaurants and bars spread out across the two cities.

The main star of the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival is, of course, the bourbon. But the event is also meant to celebrate Kentucky’s heritage and culture as a whole.

Local participating distilleries include:

Hotel and ticket packages for the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival are available now.

For the latest information visit the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival website here.

Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference – Saturday Oct. 5, 2019

The conference takes place on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center located at 1 W Rivercenter Blvd, Covington, KY 41011 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Keynote speakers include Bill Samuels, Jr., Chairman Emeritus – Maker’s Mark; Mandy Vance, Private Selection – Four Roses Distillery; and Molly Wellman, Mixologist and Author. And yes, lunch is included! Click here to see all the speakers and panelists, the agenda and to purchase tickets.

Kentucky's Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival - Bourbon Conference Keynote Speakers include Bill Sameuls, Marcus Nieman and Molly Wellman

Conference Agenda

— 8:30 AM — Registration opens.

— 9:30 AM —
Room 1: Author Series – James Higdon. The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History

Room 2: Bourbon Tech & Distilling. Ready to start your own distillery? This panel will address location, marketing, engineering, space planning, financing, sourcing and fermentation.

Moderator: Christin Head
Kevin Bass
Ronald Flerlage
Michael Hiles

Ballrooms D+E: Bourbon Pairs with Culture. People who drink bourbon find out they have more in common with other bourbon drinkers. We’ll explore how people are combining their love for bourbon and other activities to create new groups. We’ll discuss how to leverage bourbon and start your own unique group.

Moderator: Kenny Colemen
Ben Bernstein
Eric Bollmann
Todd Carnes
Jason Goldberg
Brandon Scott Perry

— 10:30 AM —

Ballrooms D+E: Keynote – Marcus Niemann, Manager, Quality – Four Roses

— 11:10 AM —

Room 1: Author Series – Brian Haara – Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America. Old bourbon lawsuits not only expose long-lost facts, but they also reveal the historical shenanigans and maverick mentality that are part of bourbon’s rich heritage. No spirit can tell the American story like bourbon does because only bourbon is distinctively—and legally—American, as recognized by Congress in 1964. Bourbon barons epitomized the American dream; they aspired to greatness, were ruggedly independent, resourceful, and highly competitive. Bourbon law shows how American distillers flaunted the law when deemed necessary, lobbied for new consumer protection laws or self-interested protectionism laws, and strategically stretched and used laws to gain an advantage over the competition.

Room 2: Bourbon Secondary Market – Good, Bad, and The Ugly. Looking for Pappy? The good news is we know where to find it. The bad news is that it’s more expensive than you thought. And can you trust what’s inside the bottle? In this session we will examine the driving forces behind the secondary market and the culture that grew around it. It’s more than a marketplace, but a community that self-polices and takes bourbon seriously. Come learn how the largest bourbon companies are using the secondary market to price their own products and when fake bottles can ruin lives. It’s your chance to get an inside look at how bourbon craze became what it is today.

Kenny Coleman
Ryan Cecil

Ballrooms D+E: Mixology – How Cocktails Are Thriving in the Bourbon Industry. The gateway to bourbon is cocktails. Joseph Head, Bill Whitlow and Molly Wellman will show you how to make their favorite bourbon cocktails while telling their favorite bourbon stories.

Joseph Headh
Bill Whitlow
Molly Wellman

— 12:00 PM — 

Ballrooms D+E: Lunch! Grab your box lunch and head back to the Ballrooms. While you’re enjoying your meal, you’ll hear from Chasta McIntyre from Mint Julep Experiences. She’ll share lessons learned and unique opportunities you may not learn about otherwise for your trip planning purposes. It will include planning your visit around bourbon distilleries, culinary ideas, visiting horse farms or experiencing racing at Keeneland and Churchill Downs.

— 1:00 PM — 

Room 1: Author Series – Bob Batchelor, The Bourbon King

Room 2: “Siposium”. Erica Fields of Brooks Grain
Ballrooms D+E: Northern Kentucky Bourbon History – Did We Invent the Damn Stuff? Where did Bourbon come from? Well, it might well have originated right here in Northern Kentucky! Here the story of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati whiskey history from three distilleries. Ranging from the present day back to the early 1,800s, this tale will show how Northern Kentucky was a powerhouse of Bourbon production back in the day; how we sustain the tradition today—and even how we might have kicked off the whole darn Bourbon thing! Join New Riff, Boone County, and Old Pogue for a lesson in OUR Bourbon history.

Jay Erisman
Anthony Mate
John Pogue

— 2:00 PM — 

Ballrooms D+E: Keynote: Molly Wellman, Mixologist/Author

— 2:40 PM  — 

Room 1: Author Series – Carla Carlton (The Bourbon Babe). Barrel Strength Bourbon: The Explosive Growth of America’s Whiskey

Room 2: The Future of the Bourbon Industry. Now that newer brands are making progress completing their initial steps, what’s next for each of them and what are some of their favorite stories to tell?

Moderator: RJ Sargent
Ed Bley
Ken Lewis
Johnathon “J.O.” Owen
Merry Beth Tomaszewski

Ballrooms D+E: Private Selections – The New Industry Driver. How private selections began and how they are currently dominating the bourbon industry.

Eric Bollmann
Heather Johnson
Marcus Niemann

— 3:30 PM —

Ballrooms D+E: Keynote: Bill Samuels, Jr., Chairman Emeritus – Maker’s Mark Distillery

For the latest information visit the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival website here.

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Nearby Distilleries
The B-Line - Northern Kentucky's Gateway to Bourbon Country, Find Your Sipping Point
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Old Pogue Distillery
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Nearby Restaurants & Bars
The Globe Covington
12 E. 5th Street, Covington, Kentucky 41011 0.24 mi
Bourbon Haus 1841
522 Main Street, Covington, Kentucky 41011 0.4 mi
Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Covington
638 Madison Ave., Covington, Kentucky 41011 0.4 mi
Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar
519 Main Street, Covington, Kentucky 41011 0.42 mi
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603 Main St., Covington, Kentucky 41011 0.46 mi
Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar
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Prohibition Bourbon Bar at Newberry Bros. Coffee
530 Washington Ave., Newport, Kentucky 41071 1.17 mi
The Purple Poulet a Southern Bourbon Bistro
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Barleycorn’s Sports Bar & Grill
8544 U.S. 42, Florence, Kentucky 41017 4.89 mi
Brickhouse Pub & Grub
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Smokin' This And That BBQ
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Tousey House Tavern
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Kitchen 1833 – New American Comfort Food
9003 US-42, Union, Kentucky 41091 12.41 mi
Sugarfire Smoke House
9039 US 42, Union, Kentucky 41091 12.54 mi
Chandler's on Market
212 Market Street, Maysville, Kentucky 41056 50.5 mi

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