Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour expands to 20 distilleries

The new prize for completing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour | Courtesy of Kentucky Distillers’ Association

With more than a million people pouring into to Kentucky each year to experience all things bourbon, it’s vital to have maps and plans and itineraries and a general idea of how the state is laid out. One organization that helps provide all that information is the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the entity behind the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Craft Tour.

This week, the KDA announced that it was expanding its Craft Tour, which began in 2012, to 20 distilleries, which are divided into four regions: Northern, Central, Western and Bluegrass.

The 70-page passport that details the directions, guidelines and tips to these distilleries will now cost $3, but those who complete it — collecting stamps at each stop — will receive an extra special gift: a custom-designed barrel stave to display the coins of each region, along with an official Bourbon Trail tasting glass.

The money from the sale of the passports will help further KDA’s mission of representing member distilleries and creating a better drinking culture.

Some of the craft distilleries include Kentucky Peerless, Jeptha Creed, New Riff, Wilderness Trail, James E. Pepper and many more. You can pick up a passport at any of the 20 craft distilleries. —Sara Havens

More summer releases: 1792 12 Year, Michter’s Rye 10 Year, King of Kentucky

This summer is about to become epic in terms of bourbon releases — but only if you’re lucky enough to score one of these new bottles.

Makers 101Let’s start with the news that Maker’s Mark will (finally) be releasing Maker’s 101, proofed at — you guessed it — 101 proof. Last year this unicorn could only be found in international duty-free airport stores, but now, starting July 3, you can get it at the distillery in Loretto, Ky.

This new release falls between regular Maker’s Mark, at 90 proof, and Maker’s Cask Strength, 108 to 114 proof. So why come out with a new bottle just for a different proof? Because even the same bourbon at various proofs tastes different.

And it’s the way Bill Samuels Sr. would serve it to his guests who were lucky enough to be invited over for dinner.

So if the maker preferred to drink it this way, then we probably will, too. And if not, the other two options will still be available. Maker’s Mark 101 will retail for $49.99 at the distillery.

1792 12 Year BottleNext let’s welcome the 1792 12 Year Bourbon, a new expression for the Barton 1792 Distillery and one that’ll surely be clamored for, as it’s also a limited-edition release.

Many believe a 12-year-old bourbon is in its prime. Sometimes that’s the case, as with the infamous Weller 12, but it all depends on a variety of factors, including mash bill, where the barrel ages in the warehouse and so much more.

We’ll take 1792 Master Distiller Danny Kahn’s word for it, as he describes the bourbon as super complex — sweet and creamy up front, followed by an oaky smokiness.

“The subtle smokiness of the oak married to the slightly spicy rye flavors and the complex aromas are a nod to what one should expect from a well-matured bourbon,” he described in a news release. “Each time I take it in, I find more and more beautiful interactions.”

The bourbon is bottled at 96.6 proof and will retail for $49.99.

Michter's 10 Year RyeNext up is Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Rye, the first release by new Master Distiller Dan McKee, who took over for Pam Heilmann this spring. For this annual gem, McKee worked alongside Andrea Wilson, master of maturation, to select the right barrels for the highly anticipated whiskey.

“In my years at Michter’s, I’ve seen how incredibly focused our previous master distillers Pam Heilmann and Willie Pratt have been on waiting to release whiskey till it was just right,” said McKee in a news release. “I will continue that tradition of only releasing whiskey that makes us extremely proud.”

Because Michter’s whiskey is so limited, this will probably be the only bottling of the 10 Year Rye this year. A 750ml bottle will retail for $160 and be released in July.

King of KentuckyLastly, it’s the second edition of Brown-Forman’s King of Kentucky, a 15-year-old bourbon that pays homage to a prior brand started in 1881 and acquired by B-F in 1936.

The re-release debuted in 2018 and sold quickly, and rightly so — the juice tastes phenomenal and is in extremely limited quantities for a distillery that heat-cycles its barrels. (Heat-cycling increases evaporation.)

This batch includes barrels from two different production dates and will be bottled at a hefty 131.3 proof. The hand-labeled bottles will retail for $249.99, and there will, sadly, only be 2,000 bottles in this second edition release. —Sara Havens

Trauma training pilot shows promise in JCPS

Trauma-informed training in a handful of Jefferson County elementary schools showed promise, officials revealed Tuesday.

Trauma can manifest as behavioral issues in kids, potentially compounding the problems disadvantaged students face.

The Bounce program, funded by a six-year $300,000 grant from Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and supported by a coalition of community groups, trained JCPS teachers in three elementary schools on how to identify and handle student trauma.

Results show fewer behavior referrals and suspensions, higher teacher retention and more students feeling as if they belonged in their classroom, program officials said.

JCPS is rolling out trauma-informed care training across the district, but some elementary schools received training early due to the Bounce program.

Trauma-informed practices, which challenge teachers to think about the root causes of student behavior, can take time to work. Bounce’s findings may suggest what is possible in the coming years as the district’s larger work takes hold.

JCPS saw a double-digit drop in suspensions across the district this school year, but minimal change in behavior referrals. —Olivia Krauth

Survey shows fast-food customer satisfaction declining

KFC store
KFC and Papa John’s were just above average in the ACSI study, each with a score of 80. | Courtesy of KFC

Statistics from the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows fast-food diners aren’t as happy this year as last; Yum Brands restaurants were near or below average.

The numbers, based on interviews with roughly 300,000 consumers, show Chik-Fil-A ahead by a wide margin with an overall satisfaction score of 86 percent in the “limited-service restaurants” category.

By comparison, Pizza Hut (80), the top-scoring Yum restaurant chain, is in a four-way tie for fifth place with another Louisville-based brand, Papa John’s. Arby’s and Chipotle are the other two brands that scored 80 in the survey.

KFC (78) comes in tied at No. 12 with Dunkin’ Donuts, while Taco Bell is near the bottom with a score of 74. McDonald’s is at the bottom of the top 20 with a score of 69. It should be noted that KFC and Taco Bell both have so far this year increased their score by one point each over 2018.

There’s better news for Louisville-based chains in the full-service category. Texas Roadhouse edges out Cracker Barrel in that category by a single point with a score of 83, flat from 2018 to 2019. The top 20 in that category is rounded out by Denny’s with a 77.

Overall, restaurant satisfaction across both channels decreased by about .6% over the course of the study. Criteria include accuracy of food order, menu variety, staff, food quality, restaurant cleanliness and other aspects of a dining experience.—Kevin Gibson

New information system to aid Kentucky emergency room physicians

Picture of a stethoscope
Courtesy of Pixabay and Bruno Glatsch

A $250,000 grant from the Anthem Foundation will help make it possible for emergency department physicians across the state to take advantage of software to make faster decisions, address complex patients and possibly reduce avoidable readmissions.

Through the grant, the Kentucky Hospital Association will be able to provide member hospitals with EDie software, according to a news release from KHA and Anthem. Ten Kentucky hospitals already have adopted the software by Collective Medical Technologies and 28 more are in the process of doing so.

Hospitals that use the software will have access to data provided by each other as well as data from hospitals in other states and substance use disorder facilities, skilled nursing facilities and specialty clinics across the country, according to the release.

A report is produced that shows things like patient history, medical providers, visit summaries, security events and drug allergies.

“One particularly powerful application of this technology is in fighting Kentucky’s opioid epidemic,” KHA President Nancy Galvagni said in the release. “Emergency room hopping is a serious obstacle in helping people suffering from addiction and this software can tell a treating physician if the patient has a history of ER visits for pain treatment. EDie can be the difference between enabling addiction and treating it.”—Darla Carter

Town of Clarksville to buy hotel near I-65 for undisclosed development

America's Best Suites
The Town of Clarksville has purchased America’s Best Inn and Suites in Clarksville for an undisclosed development. | Google photo

America’s Best Inn and Suites, a long-time staple in Clarksville for long-term hotel stays, is being purchased by the Town of Clarksville.

The 20-acre site features a 150-room hotel that offers discounts on long-term stays. According to a report by the News and Tribune, the town is buying the property for $3.5 million. Residents are being asked to leave no later than July 15.

A statement from the town didn’t specify what the property will be used for, but did suggest the hotel will be demolished, calling it a “gateway for the community.”

The unattributed statement continues that, “Future development in this portion of Eastern Blvd [sic] could include new commercial, hospitality, recreational and residential uses.”

Patrons of the hotel, which offers standard, low-priced rooms by the night, is well known as a place where people, including families, use as transitional residences. Some live there semi-permanently. The town is “encouraging” those people work with the Homeless Coalition of Southern Indiana for assistance with finding housing or shelter.

“The Town of Clarksville has and will continue to coordinate with Southern Indiana’s appropriate local public agencies and not-for-profit organizations to provide outreach and coordination of existing services for the long-term hotel occupants,” the statement says.

The town said it will make an official announcement on planned use for the property “in the coming months.”

Homeless Coalition of Southern Indiana executive director Keeley Stingil told Insider about 100 people will be displaced as a result of the sale of the property. She said earlier this week about 40 service providers and volunteers convened to come up with a seven-step plan to help tackle the issue and prevent the former hotel residents from being homeless.

“At this point, surveys have been completed, and teams are actively seeking landlords to assess available units,” Stingil said. -Kevin Gibson

In Brief

Louisville Forward announced that it had joined the Open Mobility Foundation “to make sure emerging transportation technology benefits our communities.”

Chris Turner, a former PepsiCo executive, will become the chief financial officer of Yum Brands, effective Aug. 8, the company said, reporting to CEO Greg Creed.

The Food Literacy Project’s South Points Farmers’ Market at 4148 Taylor Blvd. is once again taking part in Kentucky Double Dollars, a program that allows low-income families to double their purchasing power when buying things like Kentucky-grown fruits and vegetables.

A U.S. bill to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, from 18 to 21 was approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) this week. Sponsors of the Tobacco-Free Youth Act include U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.