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Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2010


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I'm starting my critique of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival a little early this year. I usually wait until it's over. (It's 9/14-19 in Bardstown, KY.)

In a blog post here I made a few suggestions for improving the festival. One of them is:

Think bigger. Find a role for the new craft distillers that are springing up all over the country and encourage all producers to feature all of their U.S.-made whiskey products, such as straight rye whiskey. There is a lot to be gained by being less literal and more inclusive.

I also suggested that they invite Jack Daniel's and George Dickel. I also wrote,

Yes, you can still call it the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Absolutely. That's the brand. But when you say "Kentucky" think "center of but not sum of" the universe, and when you say "bourbon" think "American whiskey" in all its styles and forms.

What do you guys think? Would you like to participate is a festival of American whiskey under the banner of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival?

2011 will be the festival's 20th year. What a perfect time to open the thing up.

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My guess is that since they have bourbon in the name, they only want to have a festival for bourbons.

Drop the bourbon out of the name and call it the 'Kentucky Whiskey Festival'. Much more appropriate for what you suggest.

And while they're at it, why not get the tastings price down to a reasonable amount?

We use a hard rule, if it costs more than the movies, it isn't worth it. The whiskey doesn't cost them anything, it's written of for advertising. And the people working the events are company reps anyway. They don't send you home with 375ml sample bottles. Everything there is to promote someones product.

So what do you really get for the money, some small samples of their own product and food which doesn't cost anything since the local restraurants are paying for the chance to be there.

Sorry, no matter what they call it, unless they get the samplings down to $10 it just isn't a value.

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This is merely my understanding, but I believe the whole thing with them only allowing KY distilleries has to do with the Commonwealth and not the festival itself. I believe that because they are an official "Kentucky festival," they cannot allow distillers from outside the state to setup or showcase their products. Now, that being said, if it's up to the KY General Assembly, you're more likely to walk across water than change that. Case in point, the state TRIED to change a very simple tasting law that would allow for some common sense changes (ie let us give 3 instead of only 2 samples per person per day) to make distilleries able to better promote their products across the state and on site at the distilleries and that didn't go through.

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