Bourbon Industry

Bourbon Classic back for a second round

The Bourbon Classic, a two-day event focused on Kentucky's native spirit, returns to Louisville this weekend for the second year.

The event, which runs Friday and Saturday, attracts bourbon enthusiasts and culinary adventurists to taste and talk, at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on Main Street.

Friday kicks off with the Bourbon Classic "Cocktail Challenge" featuring contemporary and classic cocktails and small plates prepared by teams of chefs and master bartenders representing distilleries. Jared Schubert, winner of the 2013 Bourbon Classic Cocktail Challenge, will guide attendees through the event. Cocktail and small plate pairings will be judged by an expert panel including Jennifer Cole with Southern Living, Joy Perrine with Jack's Lounge, and Chef Albert Schmid.

On Saturday, you can listen to discussions with master distillers and brand legends, including Wes Henderson, Angel's Envy; Fred Noe, Jim Beam; Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace; Tom Bulleit, Bulleit Bourbon; Daniel Preston, Cacao Prieto Artisan Distillery; Colin Spoelman, King's County Distillery; Willie Pratt, Michter's; Dave Schmier, Redemption Bourbon; and Drew Kulsveen, Willett. Author Fred Minnick will host this session sponsored by the Urban Bourbon Trail.

Then it's "Bourbon Classic University," with sessions highlighting food and pairings, such as "Bourbon & the Bean: What do Chocolate & American Whiskey Have in Common," and lots more.

The Bourbon Classic was co-founded by Tony Butler of FSA Management Group, a Louisville event planning company, and Justin Thompson, Seth Thompson, and Bob Eidson of The Bourbon Review magazine. (They are also co-owners of Belle's Cocktail House, a Lexington bourbon bar.)

"This event is a natural progression in what we do to promote the bourbon lifestyle: the craftsmanship, the authenticity, the traditions and marry that with the eclectic epicurean culture of Central Kentucky," says Seth Thompson.

Tickets are available at Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, (502) 584-7777. Prices range from $125 to $355, depending on what you want to attend over the two days.

Details are available at or