Welcome to the last of three Food & Dining Magazine previews of Bourbon & Beyond, the world’s largest bourbon-themed music festival, which takes place right here in Louisville from Thursday, September 15 through Sunday the 18th at the Highland Festival Grounds (i.e., the Kentucky Exposition Center, 937 Phillips Lane).

Seemingly no stone has been left unturned in planning Bourbon & Beyond, and it’s a very pleasing sensory overload just reading the information release or perusing the web site. General admission and VIP passes in a variety of configurations are available at Bourbon & Beyond.

  • Website: BourbonAndBeyond.com
  • Facebook:@bourbonandbeyond
  • Instagram: @bourbonandbeyond
  • Twitter: @bourbonNbeyond
  • Hashtag: #BourbonAndBeyond

Bourbon & Beyond’s producer, Danny Wimmer Presents, has announced the seamlessly intertwined lineup of musical performers (with additional onsite entertainment), their set times, the culinary and bourbon experience schedule and unique food offerings for the fest. Here are the starring bourbon attractions.

The Team Kentucky Bourbon Stage hosted by Chris Blandford & Trish Suhr

The hosts of The Bourbon Experience on The Team Kentucky Bourbon Stage include bourbon expert Chris Blandford and lifestyle guru, Emmy winner and Kentucky native Trish Suhr. They will be joined by special guests including the world’s leading bourbon authority Fred Minnick, Blackened American Whiskey distiller Rob Dietrich, Peggy Noe Stevens of Bourbon Women and Wes Henderson, co-founder of Angel’s Envy, among others.

Thursday, September 15

3:00 – 3:45 PM: Finding Your Palate: Bourbon Tasting and Training

Panelist: Fred Minnick, (Author and Bourbon Critic)

Join renowned author and bourbon critic Fred Minnick who will take patrons on a tasting journey to discover your inner bourbon palate. From noticing the color and aroma, to that first mouth feel and flavor and finally judging its finish – Fred will describe the many ways to identify bourbon’s tasting notes and better train your bourbon tasting buds. Even experts will learn a thing or two! Featuring pours from Prideful Goat 15-year, Kentucky Senator 15-year and a Knob Creek 15-Year.

4:00 – 4:30 PM: Vampires & Bourbon: The Brother’s Bond Story and Success

Panelists: Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley (Brother’s Bond)

Join us for a blood-sucking good conversation and tasting with Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, known to fans worldwide as the Salvatore brothers from The Vampire Diaries. We’ll delve into the story and success of their hand-selected bourbon. “Our friendship’s true bond strengthened while drinking bourbon, both on and off-screen for over a decade. Brother’s Bond is a nod to our on-screen characters, our shared love for great bourbon, and a reflection of the brotherhood we have formed over the years.

5:10 – 5:45 PM: How Bourbon Collaborations + Creativity = Success

Panelists: Wes Henderson (Co-founder Angel’s Envy), Rob Dietrich, Master Distiller & Blender

Distillers in the bourbon whiskey community are known for their creativity and camaraderie. Sometimes these “spirited” friendships defy competition and spark unique expressions that excite whiskey enthusiasts. Join Danny Wimmer Presents as we share a sneak peek into a new collaboration between one of Kentucky’s finest whiskey makers and a master distiller & blender known for his artistry in cask finishing.

Friday, September 16

1:40 – 2:25 PM: What Women Want (In Whisky)

Moderator: Linda Ruffenach, (Whiskey Chicks)

Panelists: Marianne Eaves (Eaves Blind), Nadia Haddrick (@AGirlTasting Whiskey), Jennifer Vernia (Rabbit Hole), Heather Wibbels (Bourbon Women)

The percentage of female whisky drinkers has more than doubled since the 90s. According to Johanne McInnis, a whiskey judge, and connoisseur who writes the WHISKY LASSIE blog, “today 40 percent of whisky drinkers in North America are women.” So let’s hear it for the girls! But, what do women really want in a whisky? This conversation will highlight how women’s palates differ and why more women are breaking the glass ceiling (and bottles!) in the industry.

3:00 – 4:30 PM: Louisville Cocktail Competition

Judges: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer; Fred Minnick, (Author and Bourbon critic) Samara B. Davis, (Black Bourbon Society), Chris Santos (Chopped, The Food Network) Peggy Noe Stevens (Bourbon Women)

Be a part of history in the making and witness the birth of “The Louisville” cocktail at Bourbon and Beyond! This past summer Mayor Greg Fischer called on all Kentucky Bourbon Brands to participate in “The Louisville” Cocktail Competition presented by Kroger. “We’ve all heard of a Manhattan, Singapore Sling, Long Island Iced Tea, and even a Moscow Mule. It is time for Louisville to be on the global map with a cocktail named specifically after our City,” said Mayor Fischer. Bartenders/mixologists representing five bourbon brands will compete for their recipe to be the inspiration behind the soon-to-be infamous cocktail served at bars across the globe. The winning bartender/mixologist will receive a $15,000 cash prize and the winning bourbon brand will forever be known as the inaugural bourbon behind “The Louisville.” Be among the first to try the new cocktail!

6:05 – 6:50 PM: All in the Family: A Roundtable With Kentucky First Families Of Bourbon

Moderator: Peggy Noe Stevens (Bourbon Women)

Panelists: Julian Van Winkle and Preston Van Winkle (Old Rip Van Winkle), Rob Samuels (Maker’s Mark), Campbell Brown (Brown-Forman)

Even though whisky is a worldwide phenomenon, it’s no secret that 95% of the world’s bourbon is still made in Kentucky. It’s a business with a long lineage of generations of family and friendships. Many distilleries have passed down their heritage and experience to their children. These shared values, appreciation of heritage, but different paths, have been built by admiration, respect, and camaraderie for each other, which makes this industry different. Join us to hear how some of bourbon’s first families honor the past while building toward the future.

Saturday, September 17

2:05 – 2:50 PM: Celebrate The Art Of Blending

Panelist: Dan Callaway (Bardstown Bourbon Company)

This live blending clinic has been a massive hit at the BBC distillery, WhiskyFest Chicago and private tastings with some of the nation’s most exclusive Bourbon Societies. Join us to deconstruct the blend as Dan takes participants through each component on its own to recreate the blend which is a SF World Spirits Competition Double Gold Winner.

3:30 – 4:10 PM: Leaders Of The New School

Moderator: Samara B. Davis (Black Bourbon Society)

Panelists: Marianne Eaves (Eaves Blind), Caleb Kilburn (Peerless), Shaylyn Gammon (Blue Run Spirits)

We all know the origin story of bourbon. But in 2022, we’re shifting our focus to the future of bourbon! Join us for a round table discussion with some of the industry’s up-and-coming leaders to gain insight on their vision for the future of bourbon.

5:00 – 5:45 PM: SMOKIN’ and SIPPIN’: Pairing Cigars With Whiskey – (tasting 1 cigar and 1 rye whiskey)

Moderator: Mark Miller (Smokeasy Mobile Cigar Lounge)

Panelists: Julian Van Winkle (Old Rip Van Winkle), Carrie Van Winkle Greener (Pappy & Co),  Mark Ryan (L.A. Poche Perique Tobacco) and Josh Roque (Drew Estate)

According to Advanced Mixology magazine, “There are various reasons why cigars work well with whiskey, but perhaps the most common is their very similar flavors. You can find richness, smokiness, essences of spice, and a bit of sweetness. The warmth of a cigar brings comfort to your mouth, while whiskey brings stomach fire to keep away the cold! Both are also meant to be savored slowly.” The coveted line of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon is no exception and is the reason why Pappy & Company offers some of the most unique bourbon barrel-aged cigars in the world. Join Carrie Van Winkle Greener and her cigar partners from Drew Estate to discover what makes the Pappy cigars so special and why her dad, bourbon legend Julian Van Winkle, thinks rye whiskey is the perfect pairing.

Sunday, September 18

2:00 – 2:45 PM: Building An Influential Bourbon Collection

Moderator: John Wadell, (Peerless)

Panelists: Tyler Zoller (@Louisvilleboubonbuzz), Nadia Haddrick (@Agirltastingwhiskey), Brandon Smith (@Thedailydram), Jeremia and Anthony (@The Whisky Boys)

Come learn from some of the biggest bourbon and whiskey influencers around the world on creating your collection. You don’t have to be a millionaire to start a bourbon collection that everyone will envy. But there are so many decisions and distilleries, you protest. Questions abound about bargain bottles or name brands, award-winners or upstarts. Whether you’re a newbie or a know-it-all, it’s sure to be a whisky wild ride!

3:45 – 4:20 PM: A WHISK(E)Y STATE OF MIND: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana

Panelists: Ian Sulkowski (Old Forester), Christian Huber (Starlight Distillery), Richie Michaels (Uncle Nearest)

Kentucky and Tennessee may be the ‘spiritual’ home of American whisk(e)y, but today there are more than 2,000 distilleries across the country, including Indiana, which has been historically recognized for its production. Today every state has at least one whisk(e) distillery, demonstrating the strength of this American liquor. Join us to hear from three award-winning distilleries as they discuss the history and growth in the industry and why they believe their state and brand get it right.

5:10 – 5:55 PM: It’s Bourbon Night: A Blind Flight Fight

Panelists: Chad & Sara, (YouTube) and a Surprise Bourbon Guest!

Join Chad & Sara from the YouTube show sensation “It’s Bourbon Night” for a live, audience participation Flight Fight – A blind head-to-head whiskey flight designed to help you polish your tasting skills and discover your whiskey profile preferences without the distraction of marketing.

In addition to more than 80 music acts over 4 days, attendees at Bourbon & Beyond can enjoy some of the best food and drinks that the Louisville area has to offer, as well as various sponsor activations and experiences.

Boone’s Bourbon Speakeasy: Expect the unexpected and escape from the crowds when you step into our very own drinking den that’s serious about cocktails. Tell any of our down-home deft bartenders what kind of flavors you fancy and they’ll make you a custom creation unlike any other. While of course we feature the classics, don’t pass by our long list of spirits or seasonal house cocktails that changes by the day without missing a beat. 21+

Brother’s Bond: Stop by the Brother’s Bond pergola for a break from the sun and a #TimeToBond with your fellow festivalgoers! While bartenders mix up custom cocktails you can take a photo in our photo booth or lounge in our seating area before the next set. 21+

Bulleit Arcade: Enjoy some 80’s nostalgia in the fully immersive Bulleit Bourbon Arcade. Featuring newly restored classic’s to brand new state of the art games this Free Play palace is the place to be all weekend long.

Four Walls (Always Sunny in Philadelphia): The Gang’s all here! Members of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have come together to create a classic bar brand, a whiskey blended for bartenders and built to be a tribute to the barroom itself – to the Four Walls that hold our good times in and keep our troubles out. The initial limited-edition blend is an Irish American Whiskey. Fans can get their lips on some of this rare liquid at the Four Walls activation at Bourbon & Beyond to go alongside Glenn, Rob & Charlie’s The It’s Always Sunny Podcast Live debut on Saturday, September 17th. 21+

George Dickel Flight School: Take Flight and discover the Art of Bourbon when you take flight with George Dickel at Bourbon & Beyond’s Flight School during Bourbon and Beyond! Chat with Master Distiller Nicole Austin and find your favorite expression. Stop by The George Dickel Flight School experience where guests will receive a flight of Bourbons and a 15 minute interactive educational session to pair! 21+

Kiamichi: Bourbon & Beyond is all about family, and so are Kings of Leon and Willett Distillery. This year at Bourbon & Beyond, you can get your hands on the limited-edition ‘good stuff’ with Kiamichi during Kings of Leon’s headlining performance and all weekend long. Named after the river the Followill family has gathered along, year after year to party and generate their family’s best memories, stop by the Kiamichi activation so you can celebrate your best memories with Bourbon & Beyond. 21+

Pegasus Distilled: Kentucky’s Bourbon experiences don’t just stop at the festival. Pegasus Distilled takes on Bourbon & Beyond to bring you elegant chauffeured services, customized tours, and luxury event transportation to elevate your bourbon experiences to the next level. Visit them to find experiences that’ll continue the magic beyond the festival! 21+

Rocks Room: presented by Zelle® Louisville just got a little more… purple. Welcome to Rocks Room presented by Zelle®, Bourbon & Beyond’s first premium restaurant, bourbon tasting, and intimate performance experience all in one place. By transacting with Zelle®, festival ticket holders can unlock expedited entry and one elite perk. From Fred Minnick’s Blind Bourbon Tasting to Chef Anthony Lamas 4 Course Dining, intimate artist performances including, Shakey Graves, Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent and Caamp, you won’t want to miss this culinary experience of a lifetime.

T-Mobile: Chill out and charge up all weekend long at T-Mobile Club Magenta – the ultimate FREE viewing deck experience. Score sweeping views, charging stations, a private bar and complementary lawn chairs for T-Mobile customers (first-come, first-serve; limited quantities). Club Magenta is open during festival hours, with expedited entry for T-Mobile customers.

Curated by Southern Hospitality Concessions LLC, DWP’s affiliate concessionaire, selections from the following vendors will be available from Louisville’s Finest: 502 Café, Big Momma’s, Blackbeard Espresso, Caffe Classico Empanadas, Ehrler’s Ice Cream, Fistfull Of Tacos, Gelato Gilberto, Happy Belly Bistro, Iroquois Grill, Longshot Lobsta, Pizza Lupo, Ramiro’s Cantina, Red Top Dogs, Spinelli’s Pizzeria, as well as festival fan favorites: Angry Bird Grill, Bangarang Bahn Mi, BBQ Highlife, Bru Bros Coffee, Burger Factory, Chicken Mac Truck, Da Big Show BBQ, Event Specialists, Funnel Cake Fantasy, Gary’s Philly Cheesesteaks, Island Noodles, Jammin Concessions, Mac Attack, Food, Phat Daddy’s Cajun, Pie Baby Pizza, Pizza Revolution, Rice Rice Baby, Spicy Pie Pizza, Stoked Poke And Açai, and Twisted Tots. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are listed here.

Bourbon & Beyond would also like to thank its 2022 Kroger Big Bourbon Bar Partners: Angel’s Envy, Bardstown, Boone’s Bourbon, Brother’s Bond, Bulleit, Calumet Farm, Elijah Craig, Four Roses, George Dickel, Huber’s Starlight Distillery, Jack Daniel’s, Jefferson’s, Kentucky Peerless, Larceny Bourbon, Legent, Maker’s 46, Michter’s, Middle West Spirits, Nelson’s GreenBrier, Old Forester, Rabbit Hole, Red Line, Resilient, StoneHammer, Uncle Nearest, Wilderness Trail, & Wild Turkey. As well, Bourbon & Beyond would like to thank its 2022 KDA Craft Bar Partners: Bard Distillery, Blue Grass Distillers, Boundary Oak Distillery, Log Still Bourbon, and New Riff Distillery.

The COVID-19 policies for Bourbon & Beyond, will not require attendees to be masked, vaccinated or tested to attend Bourbon & Beyond. However, festival organizers do encourage fans to stay safe and will have increased sanitization stations throughout the festival. For more, go here.

Bourbon & Beyond thanks its premier and non-profit partners.