Bardstown Celebrates Bourbon With 20th Annual Festival

by Rick Howlett on September 16, 2011

Kentucky’s signature distilled spirit is being celebrated this weekend in Bardstown.   

The 20th annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival began Tuesday and concludes Sunday with numerous activities,including tastings, a black-tie gala, and a bourbon barrel relay.

Participants include all of Kentucky’s major bourbon makers, such as Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell (pictured). Organizers estimate the festival will attract 55,000 visitors from 40 states and 13 countries.

“It’s been an industry that was severely damaged by Prohibition.  If you compare it to what happened with whisky in Europe, it was a continuous process.  Here, an entire industry was demolished and had to be built up again after 13 years and I think Americans did an amazing thing bringing bourbon back to the place where it has to be,”  said journalist Hans Offringa, who traveled to Bardstown from the Netherlands. 

Bourbon is enjoying a surge in popularity, especially the high-end single batch and single barrel brands.

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