Picture, if you will, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer stripped to the waist and covered in baby oil. Now picture Bardstown Mayor Bill Sheckles in the same condition. There are the bright lights, the big ring and the title on the line in an important smack down: the title of Bourbon Capitol of the World.
To be honest, that would have been a better set up and OVW would have enjoyed hosting. However, here’s how the quaint controversy began instead. Mayor Fischer attended the opening of the Evan Williams Experience, 528 W. Main Street. Henceforth he declared Louisville the Bourbon Capitol of the World. Not long after, Mayor Sheckles phoned. While only the NSA knows the context of that call, we can infer that there was a problem.
Why the fuss? What is bourbon anyway?
The sour mash corn whiskey that carries the name bourbon has been around since the 1700’s, and while you can distill it anywhere real bourbon comes from Kentucky.
Going back further, bourbon actually predates Kentucky in Bourbon County, Virginia during the post Revolutionary War period. When that land was assigned to become the Bluegrass State, 34 now-contemporary counties in eastern Kentucky became the bourbon region.
The title migrated west as the largest distillers of the spirit headquartered themselves in Nelson County and it’s largest city Bardstown. That city enjoys the fire water so much that every September it hosts an annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Given that context, that long distance call to Chris Poynter in the mayor’s office was a foregone conclusion.
On Friday, Mayor Fischer made a trip to see Mayor Sheckles. Rather than taping their hands and putting on the gloves, Fischer came bearing a gift: a special mayor’s bourbon with the photographs of both Fischer and Sheckles. They’ve both come to an understanding that the burgeoning bourbon market is good for both cities.
And why not? Bourbon is the fastest growing of all the distilled spirits. Neither hizzonor gave the crown to the other. Rather, they called a truce and will continue to reap the rewards of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Photo by: r. classen/Shutterstock