September is Kentucky Bourbon Heritage Month, a time for bourbon lovers to celebrate our signature industry’s many contributions to the commonwealth’s history, culture and economy.
From the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival to new brand expressions and sampling events all over Kentucky, this month also is the perfect time to reflect on our commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of alcohol.
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association and its 35 members appreciate that our heritage and distinction brings with it a significant commitment to alcohol responsibility. Many of our members already make a positive impact through their own activities.
While these investments are critical, our home, our patrons and our industry also benefit from more collective action and greater collaboration.
KDA this year enhanced its leadership in this key area by hiring Ali Edelstein, the first-ever director of social responsibility since our non-profit group was founded in 1880. With a full-time advocate, the association has helped members expand programming, partnerships and policies that promote responsible consumption, enable safe rides, prevent underage access and create a hospitable environment for non-drinkers.
The KDA also has helped incorporate socially responsible best practices for events, visitor centers and marketing, and created a series of public-service announcements that recognize responsibility as an essential element of Kentucky’s bourbon culture. The PSAs are on our website at www.kybourbon.com.
We’ve also worked with partners like Lyft, Intellicheck and Louisville Water Company to expand on-demand ride options, prevent underage access to alcohol, and keep consumers hydrated along our famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail tours.
While our progress in this area is encouraging, there is more work to be done, and we can’t do it alone. During Kentucky Bourbon Heritage Month, we ask the public to help us create a better drinking culture:
▪ Talk to your kids about alcohol and explain why they should wait until they are of legal drinking age to consume. Our friends at www.responsiblity.org offer great resources to help you do that.
▪ Choose quality over quantity when consuming. Visit a distillery to learn about the art and science behind crafting the world’s greatest Bourbons and how each brand is unique.
▪ Plan ahead for an excellent experience by staying hydrated and utilizing safe rides from transportation partners like Mint Julep Tours, R & R Limo, Central Kentucky Tours or Lyft.
▪ Include everyone in the celebration this year and never question or criticize someone’s choice not to drink. Check out S.V Foundation at http://www.sv-foundation.co and seek out creative “mocktails” to enjoy.
Bourbon tastes better when you respect the craft. When consumed responsibly and in moderation, it can be a source of pleasure and a positive experience for many.
However, we know that when our product is consumed irresponsibly, it can have negative or even devastating consequences.
As you join us in toasting Kentucky Bourbon Heritage Month and America’s only native spirit, raise a glass and remind everyone to savor our amber nectar like a true Kentuckian: responsibly.
Eric Gregory is president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.