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    Why Is Bourbon Tourism Good For Kentucky’s Entire Economy?
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    My cousin works for a tile company in Chicago.  He recently emailed me an itinerary of a tile factory tour he was going to be taking in Lexington which included lunch and a tour at nearby Woodford Reserve, asking if I’d like to join the group.  I don’t often get to experience public tours and I haven’t seen my cousin in a few years, so I was excited to tag along to see what, if any, major differences there were between public and behind-the-scenes tours.  You know, for research purposes.

    I’m happy to report there were few differences between the public tour at Woodford Reserve and the tour I recently took with Master Distiller Chris Morris.  OK, so the public tour wasn’t led by the Master Distiller, but that’s OK.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny.  The only informational errors I noticed included when he said bourbon had to be aged a minimum of 2 years.  In fact, there is no minimum age requirement for bourbon, only for straight bourbon.  Also he said it had to be aged in charred new oak barrels, but the law actually says containers.  However that gets so far into bourbon geekery it’s not even worth complaining about.  As far as Woodford’s operations are concerned, both of those points are true for them.  We also got headsets so we could hear the tour guide better.  That was actually genius- it gets loud in a distillery!  We saw both Chris Morris and Connor O’Driscoll in the distillery working, which added another layer of authenticity to the experience.

    So what does all this have to do with Kentucky’s economy?  Plenty.  For starters, we are more likely to be able to attract and retain talent in a state where people actually want to visit and have things to do.  With bourbon tourism at record-shattering highs, that’s a done deal.  We also have a greater ability than ever to attract conventions and other business travelers because we have the entertainment and amenities to support such things.

    The next time you’re planning a business function, consider including an outing to one of Kentucky’s many distilleries.  It’s a great way to showcase the best that Kentucky has to offer.

    Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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