This is the bonus gift for completing the Urban Bourbon Trail in September. | Courtesy of LCVB
This is the bonus gift for completing the Urban Bourbon Trail in September. | Courtesy of LCVB

It’s true. Bourbonism, a word touted often by Mayor Greg Fischer, gets its own month to shine, as September is known as Bourbon Heritage Month around the country.

While the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival attracts thousands each year to Bardstown from Sept. 12-18, we here in Louisville have no shortage of bourbon events as well.

Some of Louisville’s bars and restaurants have partnered with the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau to offer monthlong specials and events, and the bureau has added more stops to its Urban Bourbon Trail, as well as a new incentive to get those passports stamped during the month of our cherished brown spirit.

The Urban Bourbon Trail, for those not in the know, is a passport of sorts you pick up at various establishments in the city, including the Visitors Center near Fourth Street Live. There are 36 participating bars and restaurants featured in the book now, the latest addition being 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Eatery. The goal is to collect stamps at each bar by enjoying a bourbon or bourbon cocktail — but, of course, drinks are not required for a stamp.

Once you have collected at least six stamps, you can turn your passport in at the Visitors Center and receive a very cool T-shirt and certificate. But as extra incentive for September, those who complete their six get an extra prize — an Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit, because, after all, the Old Fashioned is our city’s signature cocktail as proclaimed by the mayor himself.

The Urban Bourbon Trail T-shirt | Courtesy of LCVB
The Urban Bourbon Trail T-shirt | Courtesy of LCVB

(Last year about this time, I scoured the city for the top Old Fashioneds. I was bestowed a key to the city for my civic duties, and I plan to update the list next month as well.)

Several events are planned throughout September, including drink specials, book signings and a kickoff party on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 8UP. Check out the highlights below.

  • 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Eatery — Kick-off reception planned for Tuesday, Aug. 30, from 5-7 p.m. Includes cocktails and appetizers and a look at the new Urban Bourbon Trail passport.
  • Visitors Center — Hosts author and chef Albert Schmid, author of “The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook,” on Friday, Sept. 2, from 6-8 p.m. Includes bourbon tastings, food and more.
  • Sidebar — Hosts bourbon author Bernie Lubbers on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 6-8 p.m., and includes Heaven Hill flights.
  • Silver Dollar — Offers a historical bourbon flight tasting on Thursday, Sept. 22, with bourbon historian Michael Veach.
  • Haymarket Whiskey Bar — Offers daily happy hour specials and bourbon “in the rocks” tastings.
  • Bourbon Raw — Offers discounted flights each week, including a Friday Flight Fest for $5.
  • Down One Bourbon Bar — Offers bourbon-inspired specials including Manhattan Mondays, Try Rye Tuesdays, Throwback Thursdays and Friday Flight Nights.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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