Fourth Street Live Welcomes the Family, and Pets, and More

There’s plenty of exciting attractions coming to Fourth Street Live!, including events for fans of basketball, country music, and healthy eating.

FAMILY FUN DAY

Bring the whole family, including those with four legs, to Fourth Street Live! on June 30 for the first-ever Family Fun Day. There will be a full schedule of activities suitable for little ones and furry friends alike.

It’s always fun to bring the family pet to a big event, especially with the opportunity to interact with other animals.

For $5, guests get an all-access wrist band. Proceeds benefit The Arrow Fund, a non-profit with a mission to provide veterinary care and support to animals who have been victims of extreme torture, abuse, and neglect.
From 1:00 through 5:00, activities include a magic show, balloon animals, a bounce house, face painting, a photo booth, Sno-cones and yes, even a doggie kissing booth. Bunny the Fortune Teller will be there to entertain, brought to the Family Fun Day festivities by Rudy Green’s Doggy Cuisine.

Make a day of it by planning a visit to a Fourth Street Live! restaurant before or after the Family Fun Day.

HOT COUNTRY NIGHTS

You can’t listen to a country music station long without hearing a Billy Currington hit, and the Georgia native will play them all in the middle of Fourth Street on Friday, June 22. His string of #1 hits includes “We Are Tonight,” “Hey Girl, “Good Directions,” “Must Be Doin’ Something Right” and “People Are Crazy.”

His most recent record, Summer Forever, was released in 2015 and includes the hits “Don’t it”, “Drinkin’ Town with a Football Problem”, “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To”, and “Do I Make You Wanna”. That song reached #1 on the Country Airplay chart last August.

The opening act is Wild Feathers, a Nashville-based country rock band that released the album “Lonely is a Lifetime” in 2016. Tickets to the show are $20 in advance through Ticketfly.

On August 10, Grainger Smith will perform hits from his 2017 record “When the Good Guys Win.” Smith gained additional fame recently when he performed his hit “Happens Like That” on the TV series “The Bachelorette.” Tickets to Grainger Smith are available on Ticketfly for $11.

RISE ABOVE

Cardinal basketball fans have a special place in their heart for Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, Luke Hancock and other members of the contingent that beat Michigan in the 2013 NCAA Tournament championship game.

On June 29, many of these players will return to Fourth Street Live! to celebrate the team’s accomplishments with fans, sharing their stories of a magical season in which the Cards won the Big East Tournament and finished with a 35-5 record.

There will be opportunities for autographs and photos during the event, and prizes available include championship and team memorabilia.

Ticketholders also will be eligible for prize drawings that include championship and team memorabilia. General admission tickets to the team’s Five-Year Reunion Celebration are $20, and there are VIP and sponsorship opportunities available.

FARMERS MARKET

The first year of Fourth Street Live’s Farmer’s Market is already a big hit with downtown workers. There’s no better way to make good use of the lunch hour than by shopping for fresh and vegetables at what has become the city’s favorite mid-week market.

Every Wednesday, through Oct. 11, local farmers bring their best produce to the Fourth Street Live! Farmer’s Market. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the venue offers free parking for shoppers.

There’s no need to wait for the weekend, or to head for the suburbs, to find fresh vegetables and fruits. You’ll find everything you need for a salad, snack or side dish, and can even take a piece of fruit to enjoy back at the office.

The Fourth Street Live! Farmer’s Market has become increasingly popular among downtown workers and visitors alike. And it’s easy to stop for a quick bite at any of Fourth Street’s restaurants.

Kentucky Double Dollars and SNAP are accepted.

 

New Higher Proof Expo offers hands-on learning at Kentucky Bourbon Affair

The 2017 Kentucky Bourbon Affair, dubbed a whiskey fan’s “fantasy camp,” has added a new day-long workshop packed with unique educational and tasting sessions led by top industry professionals, capped with a vintage spirits appraisal from one of the country’s top collectors.

According to a news release, the Higher Proof Expo will be held on Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott East, the official host hotel for the annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair showcase.

The Expo features 18 exclusive learning sessions, lunch and pop-up experiences with the best of Louisville and Kentucky’s food, drink and retail for the Bourbon aficionado. The one-day pass is $99 with access to four sessions. Seating is limited.

“Higher Proof is a deep dive into the history, techniques, science and lore of Kentucky Bourbon culture,” said Adam Johnson, senior director with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association that coordinates the KBA. “The whiskey you’ll be tasting is alone worth the ticket.”

Tickets are on sale at www.kybourbonaffair.com.

Sessions include:

  • A breakdown and sampling of the four unique recipes that Four Roses Distillery used this year to craft its Limited Edition Small Batch honoring brand ambassador Al Young’s 50thanniversary, hosted by master distiller Brent Elliott.
  • Diageo’s Orphan Barrel program shares barrels of delicious and rare whiskey, hidden away and nearly forgotten in the back of rickhouses. Diageo’s master whiskey educator Doug Kragel will take you behind the scenes at this private tasting with the tales and secrets of these rare selections.
  • Experience the bold flavors and discover the subtle notes of country ham through whiskey as Andrea Wilson of Michter’s Distillery and Steve Coomes, author of “Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke,” team up to take your flavor detectors to the next level. Learn the art of complementing and enhancing flavors through pairings of whiskeys, cocktails, cured American hams and Art Eatables chocolates in this delicious and fun seminar.
  • Join Heaven Hill’s national whiskey brand ambassador, Bernie Lubbers, as he reviews the origins and history of the acclaimed Parker’s Heritage annual series of American Whiskey, including samples of the 24-year-old Bottled-In-Bond offering and three no longer available prior editions.
  • Discover the secrets and science of MB Roland’s dark-fired whiskey with co-owners Paul and Merry Beth Tomaszewski. Taste and compare samples of fired and non-dark fired distillate to gain a real appreciation for how this smoking process influences MB Roland’s products.
There will be no shortage of whiskey to taste at the Higher Proof Expo. | Image courtesy of Kentucky Bourbon Affair

There will be no shortage of whiskey to taste at the Higher Proof Expo. | Image courtesy of Kentucky Bourbon Affair

“With all the classes offered, I don’t know how people will be able to choose,” Johnson said. “Luckily, you can’t go wrong. Every one of these sessions is top-notch.”

View the full lineup by clicking here.

The event is curated by Stave & Thief Society, the official Bourbon Certification Program of the KDA, which sifted through dozens of submitted presentations to select the most exclusive experiences for attendees.

The Expo also is offering a vintage spirits appraisal from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with Bill Thomas, owner of the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C., one of the country’s foremost experts on dusty bottles and Bourbon memorabilia.

KDA President Eric Gregory said vintage spirits are a hot topic right now, with Kentucky leading the way. The state legislature passed a new law this year that allows consumers to sell vintage unopened bottles to licensed retailers beginning Jan. 1.

“We’ve had so many calls from people who have found full, antique bottles or Bourbon paraphernalia in their grandmother’s attic and want to know what it’s worth,” Gregory said. “This is the perfect opportunity to learn the history and value from the experts themselves.”

Tickets are still available to several events at this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair, which runs from June 6-11 in Louisville, the official host city. Events include behind-the-scenes access at the world’s most iconic distilleries, nightcap events featuring top chefs, bourbon barons and master distillers, rare tastings, souvenir bottles, and much more.

But wait, there’s more! Make a day of it at the Marriott East by attending Whisky Live, starting one hour after the Higher Proof Expo. In addition to an ample supply of bourbon, this extensive international whiskey tasting event, sponsored by Whisky magazine, will feature a wide array of Scotch, Irish and Asian whiskeys for sampling. Want your palate and whiskey knowledge expanded? Don’t miss this. Find ticket information by clicking here.

Forecastle Bourbon Lodge Rarities Bar to include some scarce selections

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Forecastle Bourbon Lodge, Forecastle Festival’s acclaimed Kentucky Bourbon Trail outpost, will give Bourbon fans exclusive access to some rare sips this year when the three-day July music festival is held July 14-16.

According to a news release, Forecastle’s new Rarities Bar, presented by Liquor Barn and curated by category director Brad Williams, will feature some of the most sought-after, limited release Kentucky Bourbon expressions, many of which are exclusive to Forecastle.

In addition, the Rarities Bar will debut unique, one-of-a-kind blends, crafted by Williams and Forecastle Founder JK McKnight, available for sample only at Forecastle and purchase at select Liquor Barn locations.

The Rarities Bar will include the following Kentucky Bourbon Trail offerings and Liquor Barn Private Barrel Selections:

  • Four Roses Al Young “50th Anniversary” Small Batch
  • Four Roses Elliott’s Select 2016 Limited Edition Single Barrel
  • Four Roses 2016 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Four Roses 2015 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Four Roses 2014 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch
  • Michter’s 10-Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2016
  • Old Forester “The Statesman”
  • Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 23-Year Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
  • Orphan Barrel Barterhouse 20-Year Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
  • Whiskey Barons Collection Bond & Lillard
  • Whiskey Barons Collection Old Ripy
  • Wild Turkey Decades
  • Wild Turkey 17-Year Master’s Keep
  • Woodford Reserve Double Double Oaked

Liquor Barn Private Barrel Selections include:

  • Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old Single Barrel
  • Four Roses Barrel Proof Single Barrel (multiple selections)
  • Knob Creek 14-Year-Old Single Barrel – Forecastle Selection
  • Maker’s Mark Private Select Cask Strength, Forecastle Selection

All Rarities Bar offerings will be released at specific times throughout the festival, and will be available until limited quantities are depleted. A full schedule of releases will be shared prior to the festival and those with Bourbon Lodge memberships, currently available at ForecastleFest.com, will have exclusive early access to the release schedule.

The Bourbon Cares program returns in 2017 to further its aim of matching distillers with Kentucky conservation partners. This year’s program will pair Forecastle Bourbon brands with Forecastle Foundation conservation partners to support numerous Kentucky-based projects, including the Green River and Pine Mountain Wildlife Corridor initiatives. Forecastle attendees can purchase the single-barrel private selections by the drink in the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge or by the bottle at select Liquor Barn locations.

Bourbon Cares Private Barrel Selections include:

  • Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
  • Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof
  • Old Forester Single Barrel
  • Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel

According to the release, the sale of these private barrel selections will benefit some of the richest and highly threatened regions of biodiversity left in Kentucky, ranging from endangered shrimp and mussel-filled watersheds in Central Kentucky, to old-growth forests in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Fireside Chats will return to Bourbon Lodge and offer an intimate living room setting for educational panels, speakers and demonstrations with industry experts, retailers, mixologists and master distillers. The full schedule and programming for Fireside Chats is coming soon.

To get tickets to the festival, as well as Bourbon Lodge memberships, visit ForecastleFest.com.

Local Chefs Join in on National Blended Burger Project

Judging by the number of the city’s top chefs in attendance, expect to see plenty of “blended burgers” popping up on local restaurant menus beginning May 31.

The event was the kickoff of the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project, held in NuLu at Harvest Restaurant, attended by at least a dozen local chefs and several media members. Chefs Patrick Roney of Harvest, Michael Crouch of Bistro 1860, Jon Sanning of Lexington’s Smithtown Seafood, and Dallas McGarity of the Fat Lamb offered up their versions of blended burgers — defined as patties with a blend of at least 25 percent finely chopped mushrooms, along with meat.

Eric Davis, representing the Mushroom Council, stressed the sustainability of mushrooms vs. meat.

“The blend is an idea, not a product,” he said. He added that growing a pound of mushrooms requires just 1.8 gallons of water, and a million pounds can be produced from a single acre.

“A ‘Blended Burger’ is a much more sustainable and plant-forward opportunity for chefs to menu the iconic burger,” said the James Beard Foundation’s Kris Moon. “Producing one pound of mushrooms requires less than two gallons of water, making them one of the most sustainably produced foods.”

Any chef can enter the contest by creating a blended burger, adding it to their menu and persuading diners to vote for it online at this site. The hashtag #BlendedBurgerProject was created so that restaurateurs can promote the contest online. The five chefs who receive the most votes will be invited to New York’s James Beard House, where they will prepare their burger at an event next January.

Last year, 350 restaurants participated, and Davis said the goal for this year is 500. The voting ends July 31.

Among the Harvest event attendees were Butchertown Grocery’s Bobby Benjamin, Ward 426’s Shawn Ward, Anoosh Bistro’s Anoosh Shariat and the Red Herring’s Jacob Coronado.

Local restaurant supplier Superior Meats is also participating in the project by creating its own blend and offering it to local restaurants.

Here are the blends presented at Harvest:

Harvest Louisville
Chef Patrick Roney
2017-05-16 12.30.43

Harvest’s Blended Burger with rabbit

Rivercrest Rabbit and Sysbee Farms Lions Mane Mushroom Slider. Country Ham and Cottage Cheese Biscuit. Red Eye Aioli. Broccoli stem and Black Eyed Pea slaw.

Bistro 1860
Chef Michael Crouch
The Lambda Lambda Omega Moo Burger- 40% lamb-40% cow,20% Frondosa Farms blue oyster mushroom- pickled mustard seed-pickle, harissa mayo-tri onion mix-poppyseed brioche.
2017-05-16 12.51.35

Jon Sanning’s blended burger

Chef Jon Sanning
Smithtown Seafood

Huit-a-burger: Chorizo-spiced blended KYP beef patty on lime cabbage with huitlacoche-queso fresco, avocado cream, crispy potatoes, cilantro & onions on a Dutch’s Bake Shop Cuban bun.
Fat Lamb Louisville
Chef Dallas McGarity
Dallas McGarity's entry

Dallas McGarity’s entry

Local Black Hawk Farms beef double cheeseburger blended with 40% local crimini mushrooms. It is on a poppy seed brioche bun with Dukes mayo and a horseradish pickle served with a Tuscan kale and pickled beet salad with goat cheese and toasted pistachios.

St. Matthews Boombozz site to become Waylon’s Feed & Fire Water

Boombozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse owner EAP Restaurant Concepts will close that location of the mini-pizza chain at 3939 Shelbyville Rd. this weekend and change it into Waylon’s Feed and Fire Water, a whiskey and taco-centered restaurant by mid-June.

The new concept is a riff on EAP’s Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, a restaurant, bar and live music venue on Whiskey Row downtown. Beyond some changes to bar offerings, EAP founder Tony Palombino said Waylon’s will be highly similar to Merle’s, adding that a few new offerings to appear in Waylon’s lineup were tested recently at Merle’s.

Palombino said the shift from pizza to whiskey and tacos is a move designed to adjust to the evolution of St. Matthews’ entertainment district. The upcoming addition of El Taco Luchador, Steel City Pops and Quill’s Coffee is adding momentum to the already busy Shelbyville Road segment bookended by Breckenridge Ln. and St. Matthews Ave. Venues already operating there include Drake’s, Tin Roof, Molly Malone’s Irish Bar and Sullivan’s Tap House, which opened in late April.

An architect's rendering of Waylon's future exterior.

An architect’s rendering of Waylon’s future exterior.

“I think Waylon’s coming in is the perfect fit for the future of this area,” Palombino said. No other restaurant or bar option, he added, includes a 100-plus-bottle whiskey selection. “It just mixes it up a little bit for the neighborhood.”

Palombino insists Waylon’s will be more restaurant than bar due to lessons he learned operating Manny & Merle’s, the original iteration of Merle’s Kitchen. At its launch, M&M’s was skewed more toward drinking, but when that formula didn’t meet expectations, Palombino added more food offerings and sales responded.

“Now our food sales outpace the bar at Merle’s,” he said. “That 55 percent food and 45 percent bar mix is the sweet spot for a restaurateur like me.

“Sprinkle in some regional live music and you have the perfect fit for St. Matthews—but not a nightclub.”

Palombino expects to spend $350,000 converting the longstanding pizzeria to Waylon’s. He said physical changes to fixtures and equipment will account for about $275,000 of that amount, and that the balance will be spent on soft costs such as training, rent and utilities. Restaurant seating will remain at 165.

“It’s a little bit more than just lipstick and makeup,” he joked. Though Boombozz’s large pizza oven will be removed, he said the kitchen will remain largely the same.

Referring to the rapid changeover of a Middletown Boombozz to Joella’s Hot Chicken, another EAP concept, Palombino said his firm is getting pretty good at redos.

“You can’t be afraid to change and adapt,” Palombino said. “That’s what we’re doing here, and I’m really excited about that.”

Drinkers can expect some new twists at the bar, including some whiskeys and cocktails poured on tap. Such novelties do attract attention, Palombino said, but that speed of service is the biggest reason for employing them.

Palombino, who informed employees of the change on May 15, said staff reception of the idea was positive. Those who want to work at Waylon’s when it opens in mid-June can be added to the roster at other EAP concepts until that time. And in a tight labor market, that’s what Palombino hopes happens.

“The next few days will tell” whether many want to say, he said.

The Post-Derby Blues, Plus Valu Market’s John Bizzell and Drinks with Jared Schubert

We begin the second year of EatDrinkTalk podcasts with a show sure to get you motivated to sample some of the city’s finest cuisine and cocktails. Steve and Rick are, of course, in recovery mode after an event-filled Derby Week. We review Rick’s experience at the first Culinary Kickoff at the Ali Center, where three nationally recognized chefs offered up their best. The highlight for Steve was a trip aboard the Belle of Louisville, where he sampled special bottles from Four Roses. Later, he enjoyed more bourbon sampling at the Stitzel-Weller Affair on Derby Eve.

For our Copper & Kings favorites, both Rick and Steve went back to basics. Steve’s was a pizza on Derby night from The Post in Germantown. Rick took in a Derby tradition by having a hearty breakfast at Wagner’s Pharmacy. Drink-wise, both of us stuck to bourbon. Steve chose the Belle of Louisville version of Four Roses specialties, and complained that the experiment he tried — a whiskey and pickleback, was a huge fail. Rick picked an Old Fashioned off the Derby menu at the Village Anchor.

Our first guest has worked for the same company since he was 16. Maybe that’s why John Bizzell is so good at his job as manager of the Highlands ValuMarket, where he’s preparing for the Highlands Beer Fest on May 20. Steve’s guest, Jared Schubert, is an expert on Louisville’s cocktail scene as partner in the newly created Bauhaus, a beverage consultancy.

EDT53JaredSchubert EDT53JohnBizzell

Haymarket offering ultra-pricey, ultimate Van Winkle whiskey experience for Derby

Whether you’re a high roller headed in to town for the Kentucky Derby or a local who hits a longshot at the track this week, the Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan has a delicious idea for spending your dough on some of the world’s rarest bourbon.

“We’re putting together the mother of all bourbon packages, the ultimate Pappy Derby experience,” said Landan. “We wanted to do something that was so decadent, so exclusive, that only people flying in private jets would be interested. Or people who might win the race might.”

Here’s what’s on offer: All or some part of seven bottles of Van Winkle bourbon, multiple Buffalo Trace products, multiple beers, cigars, Haymarket swag and unlimited pinball.

The least expensive package costs $5,000 and is for four people: Everyone in the group gets 1 ounce each of Old Rip Van Winkle 25 year, Pappy Van Winkle 23 year, Pappy Van Winkle 20 year, Pappy Van Winkle 15 year, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye Whiskey 13 year, Van Winkle Special Reserve Lot B 12 year, and the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year. The foursome then splits a 16-ounce bottle of the rare Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, be given “chaser beers” throughout the evening to enjoy between whiskey tastes, cigars and unlimited games in the bar. To take home on the free Uber ride, the foursome will get Haymarket swag along with a whiskey four pack (to divide among them) of Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace and Sazerac Rye. Three total $5,000 packages are offered.

The empty versions of this etched crystal Old Rip Van Winkle bottle will likely sell for low four figures some day. |Photo by Steve Coomes

The empty versions of this etched crystal Old Rip Van Winkle bottle will likely sell for low four figures some day. |Photo by Steve Coomes

The most expensive package is a $25,000 drinker-take-all option including: sealed full bottles of all seven Van Winkle whiskeys, three bottles of the Bourbon County Stout, a full case of beer of their choice from the bar, 16 bottles of the aforementioned Buffalo Trace Distillery whiskies, cigars and Haymarket swag.

“Of course, if you just come and pick it up, you don’t get to play free pinball,” Landan joked. “But we’d certainly offer a raincheck for that.”

When Landan received his bottle of 25-year Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon, he admitted he didn’t know what to do with it. The thought that he, the owner of a relatively small bar, now possessed what’s arguably the most coveted bottle of American whiskey offered this year, left the wild-haired, loquacious Landon literally speechless.

He couldn’t shake the thought of owning a bottle of such rarity: only 710 made, all of which are poured into one-of-a-kind etched crystal decanters housed in padded wood boxes made from the 11 barrels that bore the whiskey for 25 years. He knew for certain he couldn’t pour such whiskey out by the shot.

“You’d have to ask for something ridiculous, something like a thousand dollars a pour,” Landan said. “And since that would sell so slowly, the whiskey would be exposed to a lot of air which would change it.”

Admitting it sounded a bit cliché, the idea for the Kentucky Derby doozy of a drink offer “hit me like a bolt of lightning,” he said. “I wanted to come up with something in the bourbon world that would be as big as the Derby is in the horse racing world.”

To buy the lot or reserve a $5,000 share for your party, email haymarketwhiskeybar@haymarketwhiskeybar.com or call 502-345-4749. Landan warned that if a $5,000 customer makes a reservation, but someone steps in to buy the $25,000 lot, then Mr. or Ms. Big Bucks wins. To make it up to any groups who get bumped by the $25,000 buyer, Landan will buy them flights of his private barrel whiskeys.

And what will happen to that precious whiskey if the packages don’t sell?

“We’ll save the (25 year) bottle for a charity event and pour it out that way,” Landan said. Though he declined to share the price he paid his wholesaler for it, he said the cost was affordable given the impact it’ll make either on Haymarket’s sales or as a charity donation. “That bottle is something so cool that you want to see others enjoy it, too.”

A Year of Eats – plus Haymarket’s Matthew Landan and Mike Mays of Heine Bros

The finest restaurant and bar podcast in the ‘Ville wraps up its first year with a celebration of all things Derby. Steve was ultra-impressed with the new Red Herring, now open on Frankfort Avenue in a gorgeous space. Also new to town is ROC in the Highlands, boasting of Italian specialties the way an Italian grandma would make it. There’s a new look to the 2nd Floor clubhouse at Churchill Downs, where Rick got a chance to visit with executive chef Dave Danielson and sample some of the new track staples. Steve tried the new Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen on Hurstbourne, and has a new appreciation for the Morris Deli on Taylorsville Road. Also, we drove by St. Matthews Saturday night and saw the new Sullivan’s is open for partying.

Our first guest, the Haymarket Whiskey Bar’s Matthew Landan, has concocted an amazing new Old Rip Van Winkle Package with a dreamy price tag of $25,000 — which happens to be a good value when you see what it includes. Mike Mays opened the 14th and largest Heine Brothers coffee shop last week in Hikes Point, a part of town he’s been eyeing for years. With close to 250 employees, Mays has a keen eye for the coffee shop business.

This week’s Copper & Kings faves come from the aforementioned clubhouse at Churchill Downs, where Rick found the Hot Brown Pizza to be a cool new twist on a favorite taste. Steve’s Maki Shrimp salad was his top bite at Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen. Steve sampled a Sazerac at the Red Herring, while Rick tried a Chocolate Mint Jill-up at the Jill’s Wish charity event at Bowman Field.

Thanks for sticking with us for a full year, and here’s a shout-out to our great sponsors: Harvest Restaurant, the Eye Care Institute and Copper & Kings.

Matthew Landan

Matthew Landan

EDT52MikeMays

Mike Mays at the new Heine Bros. in Hikes Point

Old Forester launches Statesman bourbon in partnership with “Kingsman” movie release

If you’re a fan of the Kingsman series of action adventure movies, then you know the next release, The Kingsman: The Golden Circle, is due out in September.

If you’re also a fan of Old Forester bourbon, all the better, as a new 95-proof release dubbed Statesman will be featured in the film—but not in a mere product placement role. In the movie, the Kingsman, a London-based elite international crimefighting organization, meets its American counterparts, the Statesman, who operate their namesake distillery as a front.

“Bourbon isn’t just part of the movie, it’s central to the plot,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer at a Monday morning press conference. “And if you’re going to take bourbon as your theme in your movie, what better place to frame those scenes than here in Kentucky.”Kingsman pic

According to Campbell Brown, president of OId Forester, when the movie’s writer-director, Matthew Vaughn, requested the brand participate in the movie, he said he was intrigued. Vaughn wanted technical advice on how to represent a distillery in the movie, and he wanted it to have connections to Louisville and Kentucky.

Accepting Vaughn’s offer was “a little bit of a leap of faith for us, but I think you will see this film is intended to be Matthew’s love letter to Kentucky,” Brown said.

He joked that movie “certainly isn’t to be mistaken as a film documentary on bourbon film making,” but he said Old Forester was thrilled to be a part of the picture and is proud of its “ties back to the Commonwealth.”

In the movie, Statesman members wear belt buckle flasks filled with, presumably, Statesman Bourbon.

In the movie, Statesman members wear belt buckle flasks filled with, presumably, Statesman Bourbon.

Stacy Yates, vice president at the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said her group is launching an international marketing effort to promote the city alongside the release of the film. The promotion will include a sweepstakes named “A Statesman Experience in Bourbon Country,” which will see guests win trips to the city for extended stays and visits iconic attractions that are mentioned in the movie.

After Brown presented Mayor Fischer with what he said was the first bottle of Statesman to come off the line, attendees then were treated to a sip of the new release. Its official market launch is set for August, but a few cases will be available at select spots throughout Churchill Downs this weekend, and at a few retailers.

Master bourbon specialist Jacquelyn Zykan said that by law, liquor brands aren’t allowed to release product to just one location, but she didn’t know which Louisville stores would receive what amount to small allotments.

“I’m thinking it’s probably just a few bottles for those stores that get them,” she said. “And all that is up to the distributor.”

So how does it taste? It’s fantastic and already in the running for my favorite Old Forester release. It’s complex, big, round and balanced, with lots of stone fruit, spice and a wisp of smoke.

Old Forester’s official notes on the spirit are aromas devil’s food, clove, oak and an undercurrent of raw vanilla. On the palate “buttery leather is quickly dominated by a bold flash of pepper, cinnamon bark and sharp citrus. Finish is intense spice and eucalyptus which fade into orange cream and caramel.”

The bourbon is a mingling of an undisclosed number of 4- to 6-year-old barrels Zykan said were pulled from the hot spots in its rickhouses. “Since we heat cycle, the temperature stays pretty consistent throughout our warehouses,” she said. “But there are some spots that skew a little hotter than others, whether it’s right in the sun (near a window) or near a heat duct.”

And here’s the doozy of a marking spin: “The whole premise behind this brand was, the Statesman and Kingsman, their true character shows when they get into a little heat,” Zykan said. “So that was the idea behind the bourbon: to pull from the hotspots to see what it does. And it turned out awesome.”

Bourbon and Beyond Announces Big-Name Chefs, Musicians for September Festival

Louisville’s Champions Park on River Road will be the epicenter of the worlds of bourbon, food and music Sept. 23-24, if all goes according to the plans being made by Danny Wimmer Presents, the company that has produced the Louder Than Life Festival in the same location for the last three years.

An initial announcement about the event came out March 21, but was notably light on details. Today the company released the names of musicians, chefs and more who will be attractions at the two-day event. It also announced it has started selling tickets at www.BourbonandBeyond.com, though that information was not available at 10:30 a.m.

The lineup of musician includes Stevie Nicks, Eddie VedderSteve Miller Band, Band of Horses, Joe BonamassaGary Clark Jr.Paul RodgersAmos LeeBuddy Guy, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Kenny Wayne ShepherdJonny Lang, G. Love & Special Sauce, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, ZZ Ward, Nikki LaneShawn James & The Shapeshifters, Fantastic Negrito, Kiefer Sutherland and Dave Cavalier. 

According to the release, DWP selected local bourbon authority Fred Minnick, along with acclaimed chef Edward Lee, to fashion “an enriching weekend featuring the best bourbons, master distillers, national and local chefs, bartenders, musicians, and many other artisans.”

50 bourbons will be showcased in several bourbon-themed experiences, from the 20,000-square-foot “Big Bourbon Bar” to the Hunter’s Club, Bourbon Barrel Cooperage and The Distillery. Also planned is a series of bourbon workshops.

The Festival has reached out to the local restaurant community, and announced the participation of seven on its initial list, which it says will grow to 20. They are Baxter’s 942 Bar & Grill, Boss Hog’s BBQ, Doc Crow’s, Gospel Bird, Seviche, The Manhattan Exchange, and the soon-to-open Whiskey Dry, Lee’s new restaurant at Fourth Street Live!

Food events are a primary feature, with this list of chefs also signed on for aspects of the party: Tom ColicchioCarla HallEdward LeeChris CosentinoAmanda FreitagJose SalazarCosmo Goss & Erling Wu-BowerKevin AshworthAnthony Lamas and Anthony Falco.

The release promises “an incredible all-in-one bourbon, food, and entertainment destination that honors the rich history of bourbon that is so deeply rooted in the heart of Kentucky.

 

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