Just as the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival geared up for another successful run last Tuesday, Gov. Matt Bevin helped kick off events by praising the $8.5 billion industry for its incredible impact on the state’s economy and boost in tourism.

According to data compiled by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, there are now more than 6.8 million barrels of whiskey aging in Kentucky — which equals about 1.5 barrels for every one of us — the highest inventory in 44 years.

Insider was able to sneak away to Bardstown to attend a few of the Bourbon Festival events, and below is our gallery of the fun, famous faces and fabulous finds we encountered. The seven-day festival offered events for everyone’s tastes — from barrel-rolling competitions to sampling bourbon in fancy attire to an arts and crafts fair on the festival lawn.

If you’ve never been, we suggest making it a point to get out there next year. The quaint and charming city of Bardstown is the perfect backdrop to a festival that touts heritage, honor and craft.

We also swung by the new Bardstown Bourbon Co., which just last week announced that it was partnering with Louisville’s Copper & Kings American Brandy for a new bourbon. We took a tour with master distiller Steve Nally and sampled the two new whiskeys. Those photos are below as well.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). 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."