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Kentucky Bourbon Festival Goes Virtual For 2020

The ongoing saga that is the global coronavirus pandemic has brought havoc this year to much of the global whisk(e)y industry, signature events for both trade and consumers included. One of the latest to be impacted in this way is the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival which, for its 29th edition, will be going virtual October 15-18.

With twenty-eight years of “bourbon tradition and festival know-how,” the 2020 Kentucky Bourbon Festival, according to those behind it, will put an “increased emphasis on everything bourbon and spirits – with a virtual twist. Organizers still promise a unique and exciting bourbon experience that attendees will not get anywhere else, except from Bardstown, Kentucky.”

Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2020
Filming an episode for the 2020 Kentucky Bourbon Festival (image via Kentucky Bourbon Festival)

What this means from a practical level is that “nearly 20 live and recorded ‘’Spirits Education Sessions’ can be viewed online throughout the weekend. All will require free registration to attend. Viewers will enjoy virtual sessions that include: The Art of Whiskey Making (a four-part series featuring multiple master distillers teaching the particulars of bourbon making); the Bottled-in-Bond Happy Hour, where we’ll toast this landmark law, its great whiskeys and cocktails made with them; Cocktail Quickies (between-session breaks in which mixologists give rapid-fire lessons on cocktails you can make at home); and a new Bourbon Legends Series, in which some of the industry’s most famous families will share hilarious and heartwarming stories.

“All sessions will encourage participants to buy their bourbons and cocktail ingredients in advance and ‘play along at home.’ The weekend’s festivities will culminate with the action-packed World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay.”

“Over the course of the last couple of months, we have been working diligently on the best plan to ensure the health and safety of our attendees, distillery partners, volunteers, and staff,” said KBF Board of Directors Chairman David Mandell in a prepared statement. “At this time, we know it’s the right decision to move to a new type of bourbon celebration by going virtual. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Bardstown for our 30th Anniversary next year.”

A list of virtual festival events is set to be posted at the festival’s website, where those interested can sign up online to attend any or all the complimentary sessions. More details on pricing for VIP packages, including promotions with the 30th Anniversary KBF in 2021, will be provided at a later date.

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