Sometimes after a summer day at work you need to relax on a beautiful Kentucky farm and drink some bourbon. That may not always be possible, but The Filson Bourbon Academy can help. They’ve been doing a number of events at the beautiful Oxmoor Farm lately. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the first two Filson Bourbon Salons at Oxmoor Farm, and the ambience enhances the program greatly.
When you first arrive at the mansion on Oxmoor Farm, you drive up a beautiful lane lined with trees. This sets the tone for the program, which is held in the beautiful library of the estate. You then settle into a comfy chair and are handed a glass of bourbon.
Part 2 of the series was all about craft distilling and experimental products. Representing the craft distilleries were Willie Pratt of Michter’s, Brent Goodin from Boundary Oak, and Steve Beam from Limestone Branch.
It’s worth noting that many of the smaller distilleries just starting up are making a white product first- in the case of Boundary Oak and Limestone Branch it was moonshine. Limestone Branch is now starting to release an oaked version of their moonshine, but they are known for their Sugar Shine and Moonpie Moonshine. Boundary Oak is known for their Kentucky Moonshine. Since bourbon takes so long to age, most of the smaller places have to focus their efforts on making something that can be market-ready sooner than the average 7 years that go into a bottle of bourbon these days. Bourbon is always a possibility for the future, but for now they are starting with what is arguably an even more historic American product. As Brent Goodin said, “we’re not trying to compete with anyone in Kentucky, we’re trying to compete with everyone else.”
But this can be a risky proposition. According to Mike Veach, there have been more labels approved in the last five years than there were in the 75 years since the end of prohibition, adding that there’s potential for a golden age of bourbon on the horizon. But he cautioned that probably not everyone who is starting up is going to make it and that there’s will potentially be a lot of used distilling equipment on the market in about five years. “It’s easy to sell the first bottle,” noted Veach, “but the second one isn’t as easy.”
Nonetheless, all this production is leading to increased tourism in the state of Kentucky. Michter’s is currently building a small distillery and education center on 8th and Main to meet the demand for bourbon tourism in the state. Steve Beam noted that a lot of people who have been on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are starting to return to check out the craft trail.
The next Filson Bourbon Salon at Oxmoor Farm is scheduled for August 14. The topic will be bourbon families, so be sure to get your tickets early by clicking here. I hope to see you there!