The roads could be a little safer this weekend as this year’s bourbon celebrations kick off with Saturday’s Bardstown Bourbon Sampler.
The annual spring event, hosted by the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, is at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Guthrie Opportunity Center in Bardstown. Guests will be able to mingle with master distillers, sample their wares and watch mixologists compete in the cocktail challenge.
The Kentucky Distillers Association announced earlier this week that the event will partner with the ride-share service, Lyft. The service will be available to guests who might have imbibed a little too much at the bourbon sampling event or just need to hail a ride quickly.
“Our signature bourbon and distilled spirits industry is proud to work with Lyft to ensure on-demand rides are available in our Kentucky Bourbon Trail communities,” said Eric Gregory, association president.
The association worked out a deal with Lyft to offer the promo code “KYDISTILLERS” to provide “financial incentives for first-time users and new drivers when downloading the app.”
In a press release, Dawn Przystal, vice president of tourism with the Bardstown Nelson County Tourist and Convention Commission, said the partnership will add to the tourist experience.
“Responsible visitation is important to tourism,” she said. “We appreciate the KDA’s efforts to provide our visitors with another safe transportation option while visiting the Bourbon Capital.”
Lyft launched in 2012 and is the largest rival to Uber, which started in 2009. Both are on-demand ride-sharing services that people use to hail drivers through downloaded apps on their smartphones.
In recent months, Uber has experienced a run of missteps in the national news with top executives leaving, just as Lyft has embarked upon an aggressive expansion campaign.
In a blog post Wednesday on its website, Lyft announced it had “crushed” its 2017 goal in three months. Since January, the company has expanded services to 131 new cities, including Bowling Green.
Ride-sharing services have expanded at a quick pace in recent years in large metropolitan areas, but aren’t normally found in communities the size of Bardstown.
That could be changing. Chris Kaltreider, a Lyft operations specialist, said Saturday’s drivers will probably mostly be from Louisville, but the company is recruiting drivers in the Bardstown area.
“These are good jobs where drivers can earn up to $35 an hour,” Kaltreider said. “We encourage Bardstown residents to apply, so users can leave the driving to us and enjoy their time in the Bourbon Capital of the World.”