Kentucky might be better known for bourbon, but actor-director Emilio Estevez has developed a taste for the local beer.
Estevez, who is filming a Cinderella story about a former jockey turned harness racing driver, came to Lexington on Tuesday to tour Alltech's Town Branch brewery and distillery.
Estevez is a fan of Alltech's Bourbon Barrel Ale: He tweeted about it in May, and at the Barnstable Brown Gala before the Kentucky Derby, he told Bourbonblog.com's Tom Fischer: "It's the best beer I've ever had in my life."
Hal Gervis, Alltech global operations manager for Lexington brewing and distilling, said Estevez's people called Alltech on Monday.
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"They said he's wanting to pop by the brewery and would it be OK, and we said sure," Gervis said. "It's nice that he's a genuine fan of the beer."
Apparently Estevez discovered it at Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar in Covington (which has 300 American whiskies but only two Bourbon Barrel Ale and one other beer), while scouting locations in Cincinnati.
"He's been all over here," said Molly Wellmann, the bar's owner.
She might see more of him: Estevez is coming back to the Cincinnati area to film scenes for Johnny Longshot, to be filmed in part at Turfway Park in Florence; at the Lebanon Raceway in Warren County, Ohio; and at several other Cincinnati locations.
He also looked at The Red Mile in Lexington. Track manager Joe Costa said Friday that he doesn't know if scenes from the movie will be shot in Lexington, but he hopes so.
"We've told them we'd be very helpful and do everything we could to assist," Costa said. "I haven't heard back from his people. I think there's a very good chance they will use The Red Mile as one of the sites for location, but I don't know that definitely."
Alltech's Gervis said that after Estevez toured the brewery and the distillery with master brewer Ken Lee, they finished up at the pub in Shrewsbury Hall for a comprehensive tasting. Alltech gave Estevez a customized barrel head and told him to drop by anytime.