Inaugural Bourbon & Beyond Festival reports first weekend a massive success


Over 50,000 Festivalgoers Came To Experience America’s Biggest Bourbon Festival Along With Headliners Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder And Steve Miller Band.

September 28, 2017, LOUISVILLE, KY — Danny Wimmer Presents is thrilled to announce the results from the first Bourbon & Beyond in Louisville, KY, where 50,000 attendees from around the country came to partake in this one-of-a kind festival on September 23rd and 24th. An incredible celebration of legendary musicians, award winning bourbons, master distillers, chefs, bartenders, and many other artisans, the weekend was an unforgettable showcase of the craftsmanship, soul and spirit of Louisville. As Stevie Nicks proclaimed from stage, “Welcome to THE Bourbon festival!,” and a bourbon-filled festival it was!

“In creating Bourbon & Beyond, one of the things I wanted to highlight is the similarity of the handcraftsmanship required to be a master distiller, great chef and performing musician. This festival is a celebration of that artistry and craftsmanship,” says festival creator Danny Wimmer. “I also wanted to create a platform to showcase what I discovered when I first came to Louisville: an authentic mix of Southern charm and cosmopolitan sophistication, wrapped in an unparalleled civic pride. Several years in the making, this festival only happened through the collaboration of the citizens of this great city. As we head into this weekend’s Louder Than Life, we are already planning 2018’s Bourbon & Beyond, and will strive to further deliver on the promise we first made to Mayor Fischer—to build a one-of-a-kind, world class event that reflects the culture, hospitality and uniqueness of Louisville.”

Bourbon & Beyond offered attendees a full weekend of immersive experiences, including: The Big Bourbon Bar presented by the Louisville Courier-Journal, where over 30 brands from Angel’s Envy to Woodford Reserve showcased their world-renowned bourbons. The Workshops, featuring interactive tastings and insightful talks from Bourbon Experts such as seventh-generation and eighth-generation Beam family Master Distillers Fred Noe and Freddie Noe, Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Distillery, and Master Distiller Denny Potter of Heaven Hill Distillery, to name a few. The Mash Stage, where Top Chefs like Tom Colicchio, Edward Lee and Carla Hall, alongside Bourbon Masters such as Marianne Barnes of Castle & Key Distillery and Julian P. Van Winkle III of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, performed live demos and panels, and over 40 different local restaurants, vendors, and chefs presented delicious dishes and treats throughout the two days to hungry attendees.

“In bourbon, we’ve always talked about the master distillers being rock stars, but nobody expected them to get headline billing over actual rock stars,” said Fred Minnick, bourbon authority and author of Bourbon: The Rise, Fall & Rebirth of An American Whiskey. “Bourbon & Beyond was an historic moment that resonated with bourbon fans and converted vodka drinkers into bourbon lovers.”

Chef Edward Lee speaks to the food: “What made Bourbon & Beyond such a success in year one was not only the incredible music, but also the fact that the Louisville chef community came together with passion and dedication to put on an amazing display of culinary talent. Everywhere you looked there was amazing food”.

“After participating in Bourbon & Beyond this weekend I can say that this will soon be one of the most anticipated events for bourbon, music and food lovers in the country,” says Wes Henderson of Angel’s Envy. “The B&B Supper Club featuring Tom Colicchio was an amazing experience at Bourbon & Beyond. The execution of the event was flawless, and I am so pleased that Danny Wimmer Presents had the vision and resources to bring this experience to life.”

Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson of Michter’s Distillery echoed the sentiment in “It was another great example of people’s passion about Kentucky bourbon. At the Big Bourbon Bar, we had great cocktails prepared by wonderful local bar talent… demonstrating their commitment to a quality beverage experience.”

These food and spirit masters joined nearly 30 world-class music artists who took control of three different stages throughout Champions Park, including Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, Steve Miller Band, Band of Horses, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark Jr., Paul Rodgers, Amos Lee, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, G. Love & Special Sauce, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, ZZ Ward, Nikki Lane, Shawn James & The Shapeshifters, Fantastic Negrito, Kiefer Sutherland, Dave Cavalier, bluegrass favorites curated by The Bluegrass Situation, and more. These artists offered festivalgoers an outstanding showcase of their extraordinary musical talents and kept the party going all day and night.

The inaugural Bourbon & Beyond was not only a celebration of the best musicians, artisans, bourbons and chefs, but a further testament to Danny Wimmer Presents’ love for Louisville, which the team now calls its second home.

Read the entire press release here.