Mint Julep Tours selected by Google to represent Kentucky in economic impact report


Mint Julep Tours is proud to announce that they were selected by Google as the featured small business for the state of Kentucky in their 2014 Economic Impact Report.  The report details Google’s economic impact across the U.S. This list includes state-by-state numbers highlighting companies that use Google every day to grow their business, local economic development and revenues. Mint Julep Tours was selected by Google to serve as Kentucky’s featured business that has an excellent web presence and is utilizing the web effectively to find and connect with customers while building a strong tourism driven economy.  The report can be found at

In 2014, 84% of customers found Mint Julep Tours on the web and with the growth of mobile devices and internet usage; more consumers are online today than ever before. Mint Julep Tours co-founder and owner Sean Higgins cites partnerships as an integral part of the recent growth.  Drawing a comparison to partners such as bourbon distilleries and horse farms, Sean states “We couldn’t have done it without our partners or Google. “You can directly equate at least 30 % of our growth to the tools and advantages that the internet has established.”

Looking towards more growth, Higgins is looking to continue utilizing more online tools. “I hope to provide more of a self-service model as we progress. I’d like to move more to the web to let people get the exclusive experience they want, when they want it” said Higgins,  “Word of mouth is of more value than anything else, and that conversation is now happening on the web”.

In addition to the Google recognition, Mint Julep Tours has recently launched a newly designed website,  The new site is completely mobile-friendly and was created to assist those looking to visit Louisville or Kentucky and explore Bourbon or Horse Country.

As Louisville’s only dedicated tour company focused on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Mint Julep Tours wanted to ensure that those looking to tour the Bluegrass State are able to find the information they need quickly, and across all forms of electronic devices. Thanks to their strong partnership with creative firm, Media Marketers they were able to build upon a strong foundation with a new bolder look and responsive design to provide an optimal viewing environment


Based in Louisville, Kentucky they offer Custom and Public Bourbon Distillery Tours as well as unique Exclusive Experiences, Horse Farm Tours, Culinary Tours, and Louisville City Tours. As a truly one-of-a-kind tour company, Mint Julep Tours also offers transportation and event planning services with a focus on Special Events, Corporate Outings and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties. Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House Hotel on the third floor of the Rivue Tower at 140 North 4th Street Suite 326, Louisville, KY 40202. Full article here.

For more information, visit:, call 502-583-1433 or email

Sugarlands Distilling Company Announces Whiskey Project

Sugarlands Distilling Company, crafters of award winning Sugarlands Shine, has launched a full-scale whiskey program at their distillery in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Sugarlands is creating a series of experimental small-batch aged whiskeys, known as “The Whiskey Project”, employing traditional and modern distilling methods, varieties of barrels for aging, and distinctly unique mash bill recipes.


Standard grains such as corn, rye, and malted barley along with heirloom grains like millet, oats, and sorghum will be used—as well as an array of unique ingredients like hops, smoked and chocolate malts. The company has also begun the long-range production of true, time-honored Tennessee whiskey.

“We have always been extremely passionate about whiskey and have spent our lives appreciating heritage brands and discovering new innovators in the industry,” said head distiller Greg Eidam. “Now it’s our turn to put our best foot forward based on all we have learned, and we want to take everyone along for the ride. That’s what The Whiskey Project is all about.”

With the addition of the whiskey program, Sugarlands Distilling Company is also expanding its production footprint to include more distilling capacity and storage space for future development.

Fans of Sugarlands products can expect to see the first releases of The Whiskey Project series products available for sale in 2016 at the downtown Gatlinburg distillery and in select Tennessee liquor stores and fine bars.

Updates about the the Whiskey Project can be found at and ongoing whiskey discussions can be found on the company’s social media platforms.

Luxco Introduces New Rebel Yell Bourbon Variants


Rebel Yell® Kentucky Straight Bourbon, refashioned for a new era and responding to consumer demand, is adding two new variants to the current family lineup with the launch of Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye and American Whiskey. At 90 proof, both new variants are available nationally in a corked 750ml bottle with screen-printed label graphics to reinforce the independent, rebellious spirit of Rebel Yell.

“Rebel Yell is bridging the gap between its proud heritage and modern tastes with these two new brand innovations,” says Fletcher Buchman, brand manager at Luxco. “With whiskey experiencing category growth and the new generation of bourbon drinkers demanding innovative higher-proof spirits, these offerings add exciting new tastes to the Rebel Yell family.”

Rebel Yell American Whiskey combines 50% of Rebel Yell’s original, time-honored Kentucky Straight Bourbon with 50% straight rye, offering both the smoothness of the wheated bourbon and the spiciness of a rye in perfect combination. The result is 100% American whiskey.

55156-REBEL-YELL-SMALL-BATCH-RYE-WHISKEY-90-PR-750ML-NORDIC-GLASSThe Small Batch Rye’s high grain bill offers a smooth and spicy flavor with enough backbone to stand up to classic cocktails. This new straight rye starts out rebelliously spicy and ends with a surprisingly smooth and sweet finish.

The brand recently updated its packaging and label. Award-winning Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon dates back to 1849 and is known for its smooth-sipping, softer taste offering hints of honey and butter followed by a warm finish, with a touch of spiciness.

“We are constantly responding to consumer demands with our new products and creating great experiences for bourbon enthusiasts. The Small Batch Rye is spicy with walnut and black pepper notes,” says John Rempe, director of research and development. “And the American Whiskey has notes of oak, caramel and vanilla which tones down the spiciness of the rye to create a mellower, smoother taste.”

The brand is also revamping its loyalty program, Band of Rebels, a fellowship of the most loyal Rebel Yell fans and supporters. The program will offer more engagement with members, an updated welcome kit, exclusive member e-newsletters as well as great gifts and gear. Fans can sign up at

For more information about this product, please visit or

Leather Coleman Coolers


Gear: Coleman coolers have been around for a long time and chances are, like most, you have one laying around that could use an upgrade. The perfect way to do so would be to grab yourself a Coleman leather cooler. They are the same great coolers you’ve used for years but now are available with hand stitched leather covering. The quality of Coleman always speaks for itself and now the look gives it extra appeal.

Venus Spirits Releases Wayward Whiskey Rye


Venus Spirits will launch a second style of Wayward Whiskey, a rye that has been aged for seven months in ten-gallon casks. Rye whiskey was once America’s favorite spirit, but nearly disappeared after prohibition. Wayward Whiskey revels in its resurrection, creating a rye that is defiant in both flavor and spirit.

The 60% rye mash bill is rounded out with organic corn, organic malted barley and organic malted wheat. The spicy character is balanced with sweetness from the corn and grain notes from the malted barley and wheat. Like the single malt that was released in January, Wayward Rye is crafted from start to finish at Venus Spirits distillery, located just off the coast in Santa Cruz, CA. It is double distilled in a hand pounded copper Alembic still and put into charred New American Oak barrels. This first batch of rye was allowed to rest in ten-gallon casks for seven months, the aggressive aging process enhanced by the exposure to coastal conditions.

Wayward Whiskey Rye will be available in limited quantities in the Bay Area as early as next week. It has been bottled at 92 proof, with a suggested retail price of $52 per 750ml bottle. Please visit our website for a list of our retailers and more information on the entire Venus Spirits portfolio, including recent awards and recognition.

About Venus Spirits, LLC

Founded in 2013 by Sean Venus, Venus Spirits is located in Santa Cruz, California. Venus Spirits currently produces certified organic, small-batch Wayward Whiskey, Venus Spirits Gin and Aquavit, and El Ladrón Blue Agave Spirit. Distributed throughout Northern California by Southern Wine & Spirits, these three brands are available at fine locations in Santa Cruz, Monterey and the Bay Area.

About Sean Venus, Founder & Distiller

Sean attended the University of Oregon during the initial renaissance of craft beer, and began working as an assistant brewer at the age of twenty. He held various positions with breweries in Eugene and spent six years with Gordon Biersch Brewing in San Jose, CA. For the next eight years he worked for several organic food companies, cultivating his knowledge of retail sales and distribution.

Inspired by his love for whiskey, Sean made the decision in 2012 to start a craft distillery in Santa Cruz, where he lives with his wife and two children. Distilling began in May of 2014 and Venus Spirits Gin Blend No. 01 launched the following July. Wayward Whiskey Rye will be the sixth spirit to join the Venus Spirits portfolio in less than a year.

Bourbon Authors Featured at Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ Fantasy Camp

For Immediate Release – May 21, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Eight of the country’s most prestigious Bourbon authors will be featured at “Bourbon Under the Rocks,” the opening ceremony for this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair, where they will talk about their books, sign autographs and discuss America’s only native spirit.
“Bourbon isn’t just a drink anymore: it’s also a cookbook, travel guide, entertainment manual, history lesson, cocktail compendium and more,” said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.
“This is a great opportunity to meet these famous Bourbon experts in one setting and get autographed copies of their best-selling books,” Gregory said. “Plus, you get to sample some daring Kentucky Bourbon cocktails in a 100-acre limestone cave. How cool is that?”
The event is Wednesday, June 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Louisville Mega Cavern

Tickets are available at

Books will be available on-site for purchase.
Featured authors will include:
Tim Laird, author of “That’s Entertaining!” and “That’s Entertaining! Cocktails and Appetizers.” Laird, Chief Entertaining Officer for Brown-Forman Corp., is a connoisseur of fine wines, spirits and champagnes, a gourmet chef, and a master at entertaining and execution with more than 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. He is a veteran of television and radio having appeared on The Tonight Show, CNN, FOX News Network, The Today Show and many others. Laird also hosts Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs, Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live and Secrets of Resort Chefs weekly TV shows in Kentucky.

Bernie Lubbers, author of “Bourbon Whiskey – Our Native Spirit.” Known more informally as “The Whiskey Professor,” Lubbers is the International Brand Ambassador for Heaven Hill Brands, Inc. Before Bourbon, he spent 20 years traveling the country as a stand-up comedian. As a result, his whiskey tastings are not only informative, but a lot of fun. Lubbers hosts the popular website and is a contributing writer for DrinkWire/ Lubbers lives in Louisville, Ky.

Fred Minnick, author of “Whiskey Women: The Untold Truth About How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey” and the upcoming “Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker.” Ascot-wearing Minnick has been writing for newspapers and magazines since he was 15 and currently contributes to Parade Magazine, USA Today, Scientific American, Whisky Magazine and Whisky Advocate, among others. He has published three books, including the Wall Street Journal bestseller “Camera Boy: An Army Journalist’s War in Iraq” and “Whiskey Women.” He lives in Louisville and can be found at

Susan Reigler, author of “Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide” and co-author of “The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book.” From 1992 to 2007, Reigler was a restaurant critic, beverage columnist and travel writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal. She has been a regional judge for the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards since 1997 and is the current President of the Bourbon Women Association. She has conducted many bourbon tastings to benefit non-profit organizations, written about Bourbon for Malt Advocate and Wine Enthusiast and boasts three other books on Kentucky travel and cuisine. She is co-author of the forthcoming Bourbon Tasting Notebook with Mike Veach.

Noah Rothbaum is the author of the new book, “The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, through 100 Iconic Labels.” He is the former editor-in-chief of and the author of The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink. He has spoken at Tales of the Cocktail, the Rochester Cocktail Revival and the National Restaurant Association Show.

Albert Schmid, author of “The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook,” has worked as an executive chef and currently is a Professor and the Director of the Hotel-Restaurant Management and Hospitality Management Departments at Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Management Schmid lives in Louisville and also is the author of “The Hospitality Manager’s Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits” and “The Old Fashioned: An Essential Guide to the Original Whiskey Cocktail!”

Mike Veach, author of “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage,” is a 2006 member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame and currently works as the acclaimed Bourbon historian at The Filson Historical Society in Louisville. Veach can often be found conducting tasting and history events for a variety of charitable organizations and educating hospitality groups through The Filson’s Bourbon Academy. A native of Louisville, he is co-author of the forthcoming Bourbon Tasting Notebook with Susan Reigler.

Molly Wellmann, author of “Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s Guide to Classic Drinks for Morning, Noon & Night.” Wellmann is a self-taught mixologist in Cincinnati who has immersed herself in the history and proper preparation of classic cocktails. She is co-owner of Japp’s, Neons Unplugged and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar. The Cincinnati native uses classic cocktails as a base for creating new and innovative drinks containing simple syrups, bitters, liquors and fresh juices she makes herself – and has been voted Best Mixologist/Bartender for CityBeat magazine the last five years.

The Kentucky Bourbon Affair is a five-day Bourbon fantasy camp that will be held June 3-7, featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes tours and events at the most famous Bourbon distilleries in the world. It’s the only whiskey event created and executed by the distilleries themselves.
The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official Host City sponsor, showcasing the city’s unique urban Bourbon experiences and burgeoning culinary scene.
Kentucky Proud is sponsoring farm-fresh ingredients from savory Bourbon-inspired food pairings to cocktail components and even an on-site farmer’s market.
And, the Kentucky Bourbon Affair will benefit three groups involving retired racehorses, forestry research and a support fund for employees of a recent distillery accident.
“The Kentucky Bourbon Affair is a classic, unforgettable Bourbon lover’s dream. It’s a great escape to experience the art and science of crafting the world’s finest whiskey, our genteel Southern hospitality and Louisville’s passionate spirit. Get your tickets today.”

Michter’s Releases Limited Production US*1 Barrel Rye


This Spring will mark the first time that Michter’s Distillery, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is releasing its US*1 Barrel Strength Rye. The release will be on a limited basis.

A Kentucky Straight Rye, Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye is bottled at barrel strength rather than the 84.8 proof alcohol level of Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Rye. The barrel entry proof for the product was 103 proof, a strength that Michter’s believes will yield a richer, smoother product than a higher entry proof would. After aging, the barrel proof for the majority of barrels of this first release ranged between 108 proof to 110.8 proof. The single highest proof barrel reached a strength of 113 proof.

“Whenever we would sample right out of the US*1 Rye barrels, we loved the whiskey. We thought that our loyal US*1 Single Barrel Rye customers would enjoy tasting some at barrel strength,” said Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco.

Michter’s has a rich legacy of offering traditional American whiskeys of uncompromising quality. With each type of whiskey aged to its peak maturity, Michter’s highly acclaimed portfolio includes single barrel rye, small batch American whiskey, sour mash whiskey, single barrel bourbon, and small batch bourbon.

Michter’s US*1 Barrel Strength Rye is offered in the U.S. at a suggested retail price of $75 per 750ml bottle

Catoctin Creek Distillery Awarded 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence


Recognized as a Top Performing Attraction as Reviewed by Travelers on the World’s Largest Travel Site

Purcellville, Virginia – May 20, 2015 – Catoctin Creek Distillery today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Certificate of Excellence winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at Catoctin Creek, and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Hannah Blymier, Tasting Room Manager at Catoctin Creek. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s own customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional hospitality businesses that have received consistent praise and recognition by travelers on the site,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive increasing hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

About Catoctin Creek Distilling Company: Catoctin Creek Distilling Company (120 West Main Street, Purcellville, VA 20132; Phone: 540-751-8404; Twitter: @CatoctinCreek) is the first distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia since before prohibition. Certified organic and kosher, and family owned and operated, Catoctin Creek produces premium Virginia spirits: rye whisky and gin from organic sources, and seasonal brandy from Virginia wines. For media-related inquiries, please contact Kyle Schmitz at or for more information on Catoctin Creek Distilling Company please visit

About TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 225 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.9 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 45 countries worldwide. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

Forecastle Announces Full Bourbon Lodge Lineup


The Forecastle Festival, Louisville’s three-day music, art and environmental activism festival, is bringing back its Kentucky Bourbon Trail® outpost, The Bourbon Lodge, with a unique lineup of bourbon offerings, education, bourbon-inspired cuisine, and the return of the charitable partnership, Bourbon Cares. Wall Street Journal best-selling author Fred Minnick hailed Forecastle Festival as “bourbon’s most important festival for new consumers,” in 2013, praising its creation of “future connoisseurs.”

Set to take place July 17-19, 2015, Forecastle will feature a diverse collection of Kentucky bourbon brands uniting to offer dozens of bourbon selections within the Bourbon Lodge, including those from Bulleit, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Michter’s, Old Forester, Town Branch, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve, alongside special craft brandy selections from Cooper and Kings. The full list of more than 30 unique selections can be found at

Forecastle will once again feature the Bourbon Cares program, presented by Liquor Barn. This charity fundraiser joins together bourbon brands with Forecastle bands to feature special single-barrel selections, available only in the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge. Pairing members of My Morning Jacket with Old Forester, Houndmouth with Woodford Reserve, Shovels & Rope with Four Roses and Twin Limb with Wild Turkey, master distillers will hand-select a barrel to be sold exclusively in the Lodge. The program benefits 501(c)(3) organization The Forecastle Foundation, the festival’s environmental activism arm. One dollar from each Bourbon Cares selection purchased in the Bourbon Lodge and 50 percent of profits from Bourbon Cares bottle sales (available exclusively at Liquor Barn’s Springhurst location) will benefit the organization.

Fireside Chats, presented by Liquor Barn, also return to the Bourbon Lodge stage in 2015, showcasing a special Bourbon Cares presentation from Forecastle Festival and Foundation Founder JK McKnight along with an intimate fan meet-and-greet opportunity with members of My Morning Jacket, Houndmouth, and Twin Limb.

Other Fireside Chats, featuring a wide variety of bourbon experts, will cover the Bourbon Purchasing Process, Bourbon Trivia, the Barrel-Aging Process, Ryes & Shine, and many more. Full details and descriptions can be found at

Named an Eater Young Guns Semifinalist in 2015, Ryan Rogers brings his acclaimed Feast BBQ creations plus a menu of bourbon-inspired cuisine to the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge. Since its inception in 2012, Feast has garnered its share of local and national press including Travel & Leisure Magazine, The Guardian and the Chicago Tribune, cementing its rightful claim as one of the best BBQ joints around.

Bourbon Lodge members will have exclusive access to RSVP for an opportunity to attend an intimate brunch at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience catered by world-renowned chef Edward Lee. Details will be sent to all Bourbon Lodge members and VIP attendees that purchase memberships or VIP tickets by Monday, June 1, available now at Forecastle Festival .

The festival will also welcome back the beloved Gonzo Bar, dedicated to internationally-acclaimed author and Kentucky bourbon aficionado, Hunter S. Thompson, whose posthumous 78th birthday would have fallen on the second day of Forecastle. The Hunter-themed bourbon bar presented by White Clay Consulting will offer a variety of bourbons and specialty cocktails inspired by the iconic writer.

Full Bourbon Lodge details including pricing, membership and more, can be found at Forecastle Festival.