Move over Kentucky. Tennessee is showcasing its brown spirit this weekend.
by Kayla Smith
Midtown Wine and Spirits will be presenting the inaugural Nashville Whiskey Festival this weekend. Many cities have whiskey festivals, and Kentucky of course has its Bourbon Festival and trail. But since Tennessee is one of the highest consumer states for brown goods, Midtown Owner Paul Patel decided that Nashville needed its own.
Kicking off on Thursday, September 20, at Tennessee State Museum, the festival begins with a VIP Tasting and Symposium from 6-8 p.m., hosted by Harlen Wheatley, master distiller from Buffalo Trace. Wheatley will guide guests through tastings of nine of the world’s best bourbons and the story behind each of them, while Porter Road Butcher provides hors d’oeuvres made with his bourbon.
It’s back to the museum on Friday night for “Women and Whiskey,”hosted by three of whiskey’s female pioneers: Troy Ball, master distiller of Troy and Sons, Hollis Bulleit, daughter of Bulleit master distiller Tom Bulleit, and Britt Chavanne from KBD/Willett Distilling Company. Participants will get to sample these ladies’ wares, participate in a Q&A session and vote for their favorite cocktail.
“Whiskey is always associated as a man’s product,” says Patel. “Women and Whiskey will provide a unique opportunity to experience the product as something women love too.”
Saturday is the main day of the festival, with seminars and tasting at War Memorial Auditorium lasting from 1-6 p.m. There will be 38 distilleries present and three seminars – the last of which will be hosted by master distillers Fred Noe, of Jim Beam, and Jimmy Russell, of Wild Turkey.
If the festival is starting to sound like a boozefest, Patel says that’s not the case. “It’s not just about drinking,” he adds. “It’s about education. Customers will taste different products and get the chance to talk to distillers and really learn about them.”
General tasting tickets are $75. See the full schedule and ticket information on the festival website.