The Crescent City is bringing back the New Orleans Bourbon Festival for its fourth year, celebrating American-made whiskeys paired with the region’s best food.
The multi-day festival kicks off with a bartender competition, followed by a seminar series, and concluding with two grand tastings.
This year’s New Orleans Bourbon Festival is set for Wednesday, March 23rd through Saturday, March 26th, at various locales across the city.
For four days, event-goers will have exclusive opportunities to taste, learn about and enjoy American-made whiskies from across the country, and they will be treated to the food of New Orleans’ best restaurants.
“We’re thrilled to be back and better than ever before,” said New Orleans Bourbon Festival Co-Founder and Executive Director Tracy Napolitano in a prepared statement. “Despite everything that’s happened over the past few years, 2022 is going to be the best bourbon festival we’ve put on yet.”
Starting the festival will be the Bourbon Brawl, a bartender competition with a lineup of the city’s best mixologists, on March 23rd from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.
The annual competition, sponsored by Jim Beam, is hosted by Bobby Gleason, Beam Suntory’s master mixologist. Bartenders will be making concoctions in a “Chopped” style competition and competing for various prizes, including a grand prize trip to Kentucky.
On March 24th from 10 p.m. to midnight, New Orleans Bourbon Festival VIP ticket holders will be invited to the New Orleans Marriott, located on Canal Street, this year’s festival headquarters and the host of the judging and awards ceremonies.
There, they will find a 1920s-themed welcome reception sponsored by Old Forrester, with live music, pop-up burlesque, magic and casino style gaming.
The two-day seminar series taking place on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be at the New Orleans Marriott. The seminar series is master classes with the country’s foremost whiskey experts as well as seasoned industry vets and includes two full days of cocktail classes, guided tastings, bourbon history, master distiller talks, discussion panels, and food pairing workshops.
Highlights of the seminars include: The Women in Whiskey panel with Lisa Wicker, master distiller at Widow Jane Distillery, Victoria Butler of Uncle Nearest, the first African American woman master blender and Marianne Eaves, Kentucky’s first woman master distiller; a discussion with Michael Veach, a leading bourbon historian and member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame; and a whiskey and cigar pairing class with Maggie Kimberl, spirits writer and content editor of American Whiskey Magazine.
Tickets for the two-day seminar series are $129 (+fees) and are available for purchase here. Single day tickets are also available for Friday and Saturday at $59 a person.
The festival will conclude with two grand tastings, Friday and Saturday night from 8-11 p.m., at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, located in the historic Warehouse Arts District.
Attendees will find pours from many of the country’s finest distilleries, including Four Roses, Beam Suntory, Woodford Reserve, Coopers’ Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Old Forrester, Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, and Knob Creek. Single Barrel Sponsors include Sagamore Spirit Rye, Heaven Hill Distillery, The Mountain Valley, while small batch sponsors include Wyoming Whiskey, Noble Oak, Edrington, Penelope Bourbon and more.
The walkaround grand tastings will also feature food from well-known New Orleans restaurants, live classical jazz music, and an outdoor bourbon lounge sponsored by Diageo.
Tickets for each grand tasting are $109 a person and can be purchased here. There is a designated driver (food only) ticket as well for $59. There’s also a VIP ticket, which includes Friday and Saturday’s seminars, plus early entry to both grand tastings and the Thursday VIP party for $329.
Proceeds of the festival are going to Kids Can NOLA, the permanent charitable beneficiary of the New Orleans Bourbon Festival. Kids Can NOLA is a not-for-profit organization created to benefit the educational, medical, and general welfare of children in the metro New Orleans area.
To purchase tickets and to find more information about this year’s New Orleans Bourbon Festival, along with a complete schedule of events, check out neworleansbourbonfestival.com.
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...