“Bourbon District” Will Guide Walkers on Downtown Bourbon Tour

And for Louisville’s next attempt at capitalizing on bourbon tourism, Metro Government brings you a bourbon walk.

At a press conference this week, the city announced plans for its Bourbon District, a four-phase plan to introduce “historic site signs, destination signs, banners and a pop-up event scape” to create a walking path guiding tourists to bourbon attractions. It will be located in an area along Main Street from 10th Street to Jackson, and along Fourth from Main to Broadway.

In an interview, Mayor Greg Fischer said he takes satisfaction and pride in the 24 million tourist visits to Louisville last year, a number he said was not thought to be possible five years ago.

“Bourbon tourism is something some folks snickered at when we started talking about this, when I was running my first campaign,” he said. “But it is authentic to our city.

“People go to Napa for wine, they come to Louisville and Kentucky for bourbon tourism.  I think we are really early in that game right now. It allows us to punch above our weight, especially in the restaurant category.”

Mayor Fischer with Solid Light CEO Cynthia Torp unveiling the first marker at Sixth and Main.

Mayor Fischer with Solid Light CEO Cynthia Torp unveiling the first marker at Sixth and Main.

The Bourbon District Project is being led by the Louisville Downtown Partnership, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and local government. The Kentucky Distillers Association is also involved in the project’s creation.

Fischer said the idea of creating a walking tour sets the city apart. He said there are plans for nine downtown bourbon experiences, with four already open. He unveiled the first historical marker on Main Street this week.

“It’s a walking district, if you will,” he said. “You can’t walk Napa Valley because it’s so spread apart. You can actually walk our Bourbon District. Back in the day of course, the bourbon would come down to the River, Whiskey Row, and be loaded on to the boats and off it went. So it just adds to our heritage and authenticity.”

The goal is to create a self-guided bourbon history experience on a path that will highlight the city’s other attractions, such as its restaurants. Fischer said that $9-10 billion in current capital construction is underway, and that 20 new hotel projects have been announced since the start of construction at the Omni Hotel.

The design of the District is being completed by Solid Light, a local company in the business of building visitor experiences.


Angel’s Envy Producer Welcomed Into Kentucky Distillers’ Association

An important news release from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today proudly welcomed the Louisville Distilling Company as its newest and 29th member of the non-profit trade group that unites and leads the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

The company is best known for its flagship Angel’s EnvyTM brand, a Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey finished in hand-selected port wine casks. It was founded in 2011 by Wes Henderson and his father, the late Lincoln Henderson, former Master Distiller at Brown-Forman.

Louisville Distilling is meticulously restoring an early 1900s complex at the corner of Jackson and Main streets in downtown Louisville for its state-of-the-art distillery and visitor’s center.

“We are excited to announce the addition of the Louisville Distilling Company to the legendary ranks of our Association, which has promoted and protected our rich history and proud heritage for 136 years,” said KDA President Eric Gregory.

“The roots of Kentucky Bourbon run deep, back centuries to small, family distilleries that today are global icons. The Louisville Distilling Company and Henderson family have accomplished this feat in just a few short years, a fact that is celebrated through their award-winning whiskeys.

“It’s with great pride that the KDA welcomes the Louisville Distilling Company in keeping these long-held traditions alive. We look forward to working with them to secure the integrity of our industry and strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true authentic home of Bourbon.”

Louisville Distilling joins the KDA as a “Proof” level member, which is reserved for established licensed distilleries that maintain an inventory between 10,000 and 25,000 barrels of Kentucky distilled beverage spirits.

“Membership in the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is a coveted honor in the distilled spirits world,” said Wes Henderson, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer. “Taking our place amongst some of the most innovative and socially responsible businesses in the industry is a dream come true for our brands, the Louisville Distilling Company and the Henderson family.”

Henderson said the $27 million distillery and visitor’s center will open later this year. The 90,000-square-foot complex runs between Main and Market Streets. It was abandoned for nearly 30 years before Louisville Distilling Company purchased it and began the massive restoration.

In addition to its flagship Angel’s Envy, the company produces Angel’s Envy Cask Strength and Angel’s Envy Rye aged in rum barrels – both innovative expressions from Lincoln Henderson before his passing in 2013 at age 75.

Lincoln spent nearly 40 years as Master Distiller at Brown-Forman and was one of the original pioneers of the premium Bourbon and whiskey categories. He was a charter member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001 and received numerous honors for his creations.

Learn more about Angel’s Envy at www.angelsenvy.com.

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft.

Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a booming $3 billion economic engine that generates more than 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll topping $700 million and pours $166 million into state and local coffers each year.

The KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures also set attendance records last year with nearly 900,000 guests touring an all-time high of 19 participating distilleries.

In addition, KDA member distilleries are in the middle of a $1.3 billion building boom, Gregory said, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky’s signature spirit.

As further proof of the Bourbon renaissance, the KDA recently announced that state distilleries filled nearly 1.9 million barrels of Bourbon last year, the largest amount in nearly a half-century, and paid a record $17.8 million in barrel taxes that fund education and public safety.

There are now 1.5 barrels for every person living in Kentucky – a number that’s sure to rise with the addition of Louisville Distilling Company. “We are thrilled with the care and investment that Louisville Distilling is making in Kentucky,” Gregory said.

“Thanks to partners like the Louisville Distilling Company, our signature industry is moving forward at a record pace, creating jobs and investment that benefits all of Kentucky. It’s the Golden Age of Bourbon, and it’s getting stronger by working together.”