Bourbon Industry

Louisville to host four-day 'bourbon fantasy camp'

Freshly-filled barrels of Woodford Reserve are moved to a storage warehouse at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, 7855 McCracken Pike, near Versailles, Ky., Wednesday, June 05, 2013. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff
Freshly-filled barrels of Woodford Reserve are moved to a storage warehouse at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, 7855 McCracken Pike, near Versailles, Ky., Wednesday, June 05, 2013. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff Herald-Leader

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Congress naming bourbon "America's only native spirit," Kentucky distillers and the city of Louisville plan to offer the ultimate bourbon experience package.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the Kentucky Distillers' Association announced Monday that 50 "golden" tickets would go on sale for $1,350 at noon Tuesday for the Kentucky Bourbon Affair. Tickets will be sold at Kybourbonaffair.com.

For four days, May 14 to 18, fans may savor the drink, the culture, the history and the world of Kentucky bourbon.

"This is going to be an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for whiskey lovers to immerse themselves in our bourbon history and heritage," Fischer said. "It's a perfect combination of today's bourbon lifestyle — legendary distilleries by day, urban bourbon by night. The Kentucky Bourbon Affair will take hands-on, insider's access to a whole new level. Behind-the-scenes doesn't even begin to describe what's planned. It will be a bourbon lover's dream and an unforgettable adventure ... ."

Eight distilleries — Bulleit, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Town Branch, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve — will offer intimate tours, said Joe Fraser, chairman of the distillers' group.

In addition to opening and closing events, experiences will include chances to tour historic distilleries never opened to the public, hang out in a master distiller's man cave while learning to mix his favorite cocktails, working in an age-old rickhouse rolling and dumping barrels, blending a custom small-batch bourbon, and sampling barrels with experts.

Guests will get to see five of the eight distilleries over the four days. Tickets to individual events will be offered separately for $100 to $200 each, depending on the event.

Bourbon was declared a distinctive product of the United States by congres sional resolution in May 1964. It's the only American spirit to receive such designation.

"We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the golden anniversary proclaiming America's only native spirit than by giving our passionate fans a rare opportunity to go 'behind the barrel' and truly experience the elegance of Kentucky Bourbon," distillers' association president Eric Gregory said. "The Bourbon Affair will be a classic, unforgettable opportunity to plunge yourself in a beloved brand and explore new favorites to add to your collection — an elite bourbon fantasy camp that you can only enjoy in Louisville and Kentucky. It definitely will be an affair to remember."

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