Experience Bourbon at Forecastle Music Festival

By Megan McCardwell

The 2018 Forecastle Music Festival was at Waterfront Park in Louisville, KY July 13 through 15. The three-day festival included arts, food, music from big name bands like Chris Stapleton, T-Pain, Arcade Fire, and Modest Mouse, and some of the finest bourbons in the Bluegrass State.

The Bourbon Lodge at Forecastle Music Festival. (Photo by Megan McCardwell)

When hosting a summer festival in Kentucky, including bourbon on your entertainment lineup is a must. The Bluegrass State is home to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, established in 1999, which includes 13 stops at signature distilleries dedicated to preserving the tradition and craftsmanship of bourbon. 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is produced in Kentucky, so you have to give credit where credit is due.

For six years, Forecastle has partnered with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to offer an exclusive and truly immersive experience — The Forecastle Bourbon Lodge. Festival goers were able to purchase memberships to the Bourbon Lodge in addition to their Forecastle passes. The membership gave fans access to the Lodge in addition to 15 tickets to be used to purchase food or drinks inside, and a commemorative Bourbon Lodge steel mug that granted re-entry to the Lodge throughout the weekend.

The Flight and Rarities Bar inside the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge. (Photo by Megan McCardwell)

The Bourbon Lodge provided an array of bourbon offerings from Bulleit, Four Roses, Jim Bean, Knob Creek, Larceny, Maker’s Mark, Old Forester, Wild Turkey, Willett, and Woodford Reserve. Brands crafted signature cocktails exclusively available in the Lodge at the new Rarities Bar, and also catered to bourbon lovers who can’t decide on just one. The Rarities Bar also doubled as the Flight Bar, where members could choose a flight of three different bourbons to enjoy. Prefer a classic cocktail like a Mint Julep or a Manhattan? The Mixology Station inside the Lodge was also available to turn your bourbon of choice into a handcrafted cocktail. All of theses amenities were presented by Liquor Barn.

Even outside the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge, there was no shortage of bourbon entertainment. Forecastle also featured a unique bar experience commemorating the legacy of Gonzo journalist and Kentucky bourbon aficionado, Hunter S. Thompson. The Gonzo Bar, presented by White Clay, offered a variety of bourbons and specialty cocktails inspired by the iconic writer. Each day, Liquor Barn presented Fireside Chats spotlighting bourbon industry topics and innovators. Some topics included “Forward Thinking / Forward Drinking: Sustainability & Technology in the Bourbon Industry,” “Women & Whiskey,” and “DIY Cocktails & Home Bourbon Bar Essentials.”

Fireside Chats at Forecastle Music Festival. (Photo by Megan McCardwell)

Forecastle has spent years consistently supporting local artists in the music industry, and with Kentucky being the epicenter of bourbon, it shows no hesitation toward supporting the bourbon industry and aficionados that attend the festival.

Forecastle was founded in 2002 by Louisville native JK McKnight. Over the years it has grown from a small, community event to one of the nation’s most anticipated summer festivals. Tens of thousands of music lovers and fans travel to Louisville’s 85-acre Waterfront Park each year.


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