10 Best Whiskey Festivals for Whisky Lovers
Whiskey fans like you already know that Tennessee is one of the central places of the best whiskey in America. Have you ever attended a whiskey festival here in Tennessee or nearby southern states?
Many of them exist year-round and give you access to whiskey brands you've perhaps never tried. Let's take a look at ten of the best ones, most of which take place in late summer and through late fall.
Tennessee Whiskey Festival - October 23, 2021 - Historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Gardens
This festival describes itself as Whiskey Heaven, and it's spot on! The Tennessee Whiskey Festival kicks off its seventh annual event this year.
While you can find just about any type of the best Tennessee whiskey at this festival, they're starting to expand their offerings. This year, they'll be showcasing some craft-distilled brands from other regions within the state, giving you a chance to broaden your whiskey tasting horizons.
Thanks to literally hundreds of whiskey brands in Tennessee alone, you're sure to find something you've never tried before.
A Whiskey Supper Experience is being planned for this year's event. It's going to feature award-winning pitmaster, Bryan Furman. All the food is curated and features top whiskey brands.
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival® - Sept. 14-18, 2022 - Bardstown, KY
During this year's Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September, the event celebrated its 30th anniversary. Despite being past the time to attend this year, next year's date in 2022 is already set.
Organizers pull out all the stops when it comes to activity here. They hold a master distillers' auction, sell merchandise, and hold a bourbon barrel relay.
You'll need to wear wristbands to taste each offering at each distillery booth. A new bar opened on the Great Lawn recently where mixologists offer mixed drinks.
Bacon, Bourbon & Brew Festival - July 8-11, 2021 - Newport, KY
Your love for bacon is perhaps equal to that of bourbon. If so, you'll love the Bacon, Bourbon & Brew Festival. It's an annual event, and the most recent was held last July.
The greatest aspect of this festival is how family-friendly it is. Still, only adults can drink while attending. (Sorry, kids!)
Each year, the festival offers a unique food menu where attendees can partake in food made entirely of either bacon, bourbon, or beer. Yes, it's the three B's of heaven!
Vendors can request space here in advance. Attendees often enjoy the Bourbon Bar with limited bourbons.
Bourbon & Moonshine Festival - July 10, 2021 - Slade, KY
If you're looking for a newer whiskey festival, look no further than this one. It's located near the Red River Gorge and just kicked off its inaugural year last July 10.
Any of you living in Kentucky long enough know moonshine is a big part of the culture. At this festival, you'll find one of the only events devoted to moonshine, along with everything bourbon.
During this year's first event, the great-grandson of Hank Williams, Hank Williams IV, performed, despite a rain cancellation. Take time to visit here next summer because more distilleries than ever are sure to attend.
New Orleans Bourbon Festival - Aug. 18-22, 2021 - New Orleans, LA
There isn't a doubt that New Orleans is the true capital of whiskey. You have to attend the New Orleans Bourbon Festival once in your life, with the most recent held in August.
Their main event themes are to mix bourbon with great cuisine in local bars and restaurants. At the same time, some of the finest distilleries in the area set up their own booths.
Bourbon experts are also invited to speak here. This year, a standout speaker theme was "Women in Bourbon," showing how local women continue to make significant gains as bourbon entrepreneurs.
Whiskey Business - Aug. 20, 2021 – San Antonio, TX
Let's not forget about Texas as a major bourbon state. Whiskey Business in San Antonio was held at The Witte Museum last summer. This festival is perhaps one of the most diverse since it offers a chance to taste numerous local brands of bourbon, whiskies, and scotches.
Everyone who attended this year also had a chance to enjoy single malts from Scotland. Yes, many of these festivals reach out across the globe when doing sipping sessions.
Still, Whiskey Business does a lot to represent local distilleries year after year with a diverse libation list.
Railbird Festival - Aug. 28, 2021 - Lexington, KY
The Railbird Festival just held its second annual event in August, with plans to continue indefinitely. You could call this more of a music fest based on how large the audiences are for the music performances. Bourbon is just on the side, yet still a major specialty.
Go into The Rickhouse for a taste of all the bourbon vendors who show up each year. Sip & Savor is a part of the festival, allowing you to partake in amazing cuisine washed down with your favorite whiskey.
Lucky Day Plaza is nearby, where you can do horse-betting while attending.
Wings & Whiskey Crawl - Sept. 18, 2021 – Louisville, KY
Kentucky is once again represented in the Wings & Whiskey Crawl, an event combining your favorite chicken wings with glasses of bourbon. That combination is unbeatable, believe us.
These events are held in different parts of the country throughout the year, with Louisville hosting them back in September. Wings eating contests are a mainstay, as is an open ticket to imbibe as much whiskey as you want in participating bars.
You'll usually find discounts on drinks when you attend.
Bourbon on the Banks Festival - Oct. 22-23, 2021 - Frankfort, KY
One whiskey festival is yet to happen. Bourbon on the Banks is very diverse in what it offers. It has a rare and collectible bourbon auction, street performers, a pub stroll, and various local tours of Frankfort.
Don't forget to take in the After Party as well at the close of the festival. Bourbon is flowing everywhere here, and it's a lot to take in during just one weekend.
Bourbon Classic 2021 - Nov. 3-6, 2021 - Louisville, KY
Yet another whiskey festival is coming up. Bourbon Classic is an additional festival combining the riches of cuisine with libations. They call it the holy trinity of drink and food fests.
It's true based on their famous Cocktail and Culinary Challenge. Bourbon University is also a crowd-pleaser, giving you an education about how bourbon is made.
Rounding out this festival is TASTE, giving you a chance to sample rare types of bourbon from more local distillery owners.
Many of these bourbon festivals are so close to one another that you could attend multiple ones each summer within a short distance. Give them a try this fall or next summer since they help support the local community.
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