Man the weather has been a bit of a bummer if you are attending the Forecastle Festival this weekend in Louisville. Friday it was rain, Saturday gloom, and Sunday isn’t looking much better. I recommend some of Kentucky’s finest bourbon as a solid way to bring some liquid sunshine into any festival-goers’ day.
The Bourbon Lodge at Forecastle is designed to introduce novice bourbon drinkers to an avenue of this potent Kentucky spirit that suits their individual tastes and provides easy access to current and future connoisseurs to have a unique experience with their liquor of choice.
This is a separately ticketed event that is located on Forecastle’s grounds at Waterfront Park. It was so popular last year that the Bourbon Lodge has expanded its selection and presence in 2014.
In an effort to make Forecastle more Kentucky-centric and continue to grow the festival’s profile as a unique happening only found in the Bluegrass state, the Bourbon Lodge is being called the fourth headliner this year behind the main acts onstage.
Organizers are looking to transport guests to a “bourbon universe.” The lodge is partnered with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, so it includes brands from member distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, such as Maker’s Mark, Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve, Michter’s, Four Roses, Town Branch, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam and more.
The idea is to create this temporary bourbon culture, where customers who might have only consumed beer before can sample the complexities that bourbon has to offer, and grow their palate. Last year somewhere near 60,000 20-somethings attended Forecastle and many were virgin bourbon drinkers.
The Bourbon Lodge presents an opportunity to get this native American spirit into the hands of young influencers and a different audience, which they can then take back home with them to share.
Bourbon as a beverage is booming. It’s posting record sales, and the industry is using some of its tried and true marketing here. Attendees can not only sample different bourbons, but the distilleries have knowledgeable staff in the Bourbon Lodge to explain the process of making bourbon, how barrels are made, and maybe even a master distiller or two making some guest appearances to share their experiences.
There also will be celebrity bartenders. Members of Spoon, Spanish Gold, and JJ Grey & Mofro will be mixing cocktails with specific bourbons they select. Sales of their drinks will raise money for the Forecastle Foundation, to benefit ecological projects, including the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust.
Tickets are $10 and $20, and this money goes toward your drink tickets and allows patrons to come inside, enjoy the climate control and real bathrooms. At the $20 level, a special branded mug is provided while supplies last. More than 4,000 mugs sold out before Sunday last year.
For the KDA and KY Bourbon Trail this is wonderful exposure for their spirits’ industry. An economic impact study done by Forecastle in 2013 showed attendees made 9,500 visits to area tourist attractions, including Kentucky distilleries. Overall, the three-day festival had more than $14 million in impact. People are coming to the festival and either arriving days early or staying after to visit distilleries and hit the KY Bourbon Trail.
The Llama recommends you cough up a few bucks more and get a break from the weather. Trust me, a solid day of bourbon sipping will put a smile on your face and make Beck sound all the better this evening. Enjoy the festival y’all!