Distillery offers in-person and virtual bourbon experiences
By Elizabeth Scinta
Photos provided by Bardstown Bourbon Company
Bardstown Bourbon Company offers many opportunities to interact with people, virtually and in-person, with the reopening of their restaurant, beginning of the second round of their virtual “World’s Top Whiskey Taster” competition and a virtual tour of the distillery. Located in Bardstown, KY, Bardstown Bourbon Company is one of the “most modern and technically advanced whiskey distilleries” in the country. Focusing on custom rye, whiskey and bourbon, they produce Jefferson’s, High West, Belle Meade, Hirsch and many other well-known brands.
They are also the only distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail that offers a full-service restaurant: The Kitchen & Bar. The Kitchen & Bar, formerly known as Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar, reopened to the public on July 10 with many changes, including new staff and updated menus. Executive Chef James-Stuart “Stu” Plush, new to The Kitchen & Bar, changed the menu to capture the Kentucky southern comfort food scene and to include local farms and vendors.
“Bardstown Bourbon Company’s goal has always been to create a modern bourbon experience in the first Napa Valley-style destination on the bourbon trail, and our new menu reflects that,” said Chef Stu. “The lineup is full of contemporary takes on classic Kentucky dishes.”
Some new items on the menu include country ham with bourbon grains, collard green wontons with smoked turkey and Capriole Farms goat cheese and shrimp and grits with Kentucky country ham. The goodness doesn’t stop there. The Kitchen & Bar also has a new beverage menu complete with peachy Mint Juleps, boozy slushies and the Ship Shape, “a bourbon cocktail served on a Smoked Bardstown Bourbon Company barrel stave.”
Reservations can be made by phone at 502.233.4769 or online at bardstownbourbon.com.
If you don’t have time to make it out to the restaurant itself, take a virtual tour on their website and check out its 100-acre property. The Bardstown Bourbon Company is the first distillery in Nelson County to launch a complete virtual 360 tour. The tour is free to the public and allows viewers to see the full whiskey creation process all from their homes.
“While the distillery has recently reopened to visitors, we recognize people may still have concerns about visiting public places, and we don’t want that to limit anyone from experiencing what we have to offer,” said Vice President of Hospitality Dan Callaway. “The virtual tour allows us to expand our reach to bourbon lovers all over the globe and introduce them to the Bardstown Bourbon Company brand.”
The tour is interactive, educational and allows participants to choose what they want to learn about and see. Participants can view Pete’s Place, the new tasting lounge named after the late founder Peter Loftin, for the first time as well.
“This virtual experience is unlike anything I’ve seen in the bourbon industry,” said Bardstown Bourbon Company Marketing Director Laurel Altman. “As a modern company, we consider ourselves to be leaders in the digital space and the virtual 360 tour is a great example of how we continue to reimagine the traditional bourbon experience.”
The tour can be viewed on any mobile device or desktop at bardstownbourbon360.com.
The fun doesn’t stop there. In partnership with Moonshine University, Bardstown Bourbon Company has announced the schedule for its virtual “World’s Top Whiskey Taster” Competition. In round two, 100 contestants will have to compete in four palate challenges followed by a presentation element. The contestants will receive a challenge kit in the mail with the mystery whiskeys they’ll have to compete with in the virtual challenges. Contestants will also have to create a whiskey flight and present it to a panel of judges consisting of Bardstown Bourbon Company’s beverage, distilling and culinary teams. The winner of each regional event will then come to Bardstown Bourbon Company to compete for the title of “World’s Top Whiskey Taster.”
“The challenges in this competition are designed to showcase a taster’s sensory skills and understanding of whiskey – educational goals also shared by our Bourbon Steward program,” said Colin Blake, Moonshine University’s Director of Spirits Education and a judge slated for the national competition. “I’m a big fan of the whiskey flight-building exercise in particular, as it’s a great way to demonstrate a competitor’s skill in both areas.”
The competition doesn’t come without a prize. The winner will receive $20,000, a contract to represent Bardstown Bourbon Company as a Distillery Ambassador at whiskey festivals in 2021, a scholarship to Moonshine University’s Executive Bourbon Steward Program and a trip to Bardstown Bourbon Company where they get to blend a custom product with Master Distiller Steve Nally.
The competition will be hosted by Bardstown Bourbon Company National Brand Ambassador Samantha Montgomery and will be live-streamed via Facebook and YouTube. The schedule is as follows:
Tennessee – September 1 – 6 to 8 p.m. CST.
Illinois – September 2 – 6 to 8 p.m. CST.
Indiana – September 3 – 6 to 8 p.m. EST.
Florida – September 4 – 6 to 8 p.m. EST.
Ohio – September 8, 6 to 8 p.m. EST.
Kentucky – September 9 – 6 to 8 p.m. EST.
Western Region – September 10 – 6 to 8 p.m. PST.
California – September 12 – 2 to 4 p.m. PST.
Mid-Atlantic – September 14 – 6 to 8 p.m. CST.
Texas – September 15 – 6 to 8 p.m. CST.
For more information on the contest, visit bardstownbourbon.com/WTWT/RULES.
Bardstown Bourbon Company
1500 Parkway Drive
Bardstown, KY, 4004