NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The annual New Orleans Bourbon Festival is back in its fourth year celebrating American-made whiskies paired with the best of The Crescent City’s cuisine, in a multi-day festival kicking off with a bartender competition, followed by a seminar series, and concluding with two grand tastings. The festival will take place Wednesday, March 23, through Saturday, March 26, at select locales across the city.
The four-day festival provides attendees – from brown spirit enthusiasts to connoisseurs – with a bevy of exclusive opportunities to taste, learn about and enjoy exceptional American-made whiskies from across the country amidst likeminded imbibers plus masters of their craft, complimented by some of the best of the city’s restaurants and surrounded by the charm and culture of New Orleans.
“We’re thrilled to be back and better than ever before,” said New Orleans Bourbon Festival Co-Founder and Executive Director Tracy Napolitano. “Despite everything that’s happened over the past few years, 2022 is going to be the best bourbon festival we’ve put on yet.”
The festival kicks off with the Bourbon Brawl, a bartender competition with a lineup of the city’s best mixologists, on Wednesday, March 23, from 7 – 10 p.m. at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. The annual competition, sponsored by Jim Beam, is hosted by Bobby Gleason, Beam Suntory’s Master Mixologist. Bartenders will be shaking up amazing concoctions in a “Chopped” style competition and competing for various prizes, including a grand prize trip to Kentucky. Bartenders looking to compete in the competition can sign up by emailing information and a signature cocktail recipe to TheBartenderBrawl@gmail.com. The final day to sign up is March 16, 2022. This is a free event and is open to the public.
On Thursday, March 24, from 10 p.m. to midnight, New Orleans Bourbon Festival VIP ticket holders are invited to the New Orleans Marriott, located on Canal Street, this year’s festival headquarters and the host of the judging and awards ceremonies, for a 1920s-themed welcome reception sponsored by Old Forrester, boasting live music, pop-up burlesque, magic and casino style gaming, and more.
The two-day seminar series taking place on Friday and Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm will also be hosted at the New Orleans Marriott. The seminar series boasts master classes with the country’s foremost whiskey experts as well as seasoned industry vets and includes two full days of cocktail classes, guided tastings, bourbon history, master distiller talks, discussion panels, food pairing workshops, and more. Highlights include the Women in Whiskey panel with Lisa Wicker, Master Distiller at Widow Jane Distillery, Victoria Butler of Uncle Nearest, the first African American woman Master Blender and Marianne Eaves, Kentucky’s first woman Master Distiller; a discussion with Michael Veach, the country’s leading bourbon historian and member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame; and a whiskey and cigar pairing class with Maggie Kimberl, acclaimed spirits writer and Content Editor of American Whiskey Magazine.
Tickets for the two-day seminar series are $129 (+fees) and are available for purchase here. Single day tickets are also available for Friday and Saturday at $59/person.
The festival will culminate in two grand tastings, Friday and Saturday night from 8-11 p.m., at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, located in the historic Warehouse Arts District. Attendees will enjoy pours from some of the country’s finest distilleries, including selections from Four Roses, Beam Suntory, Woodford Reserve, Coopers’ Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Old Forrester, Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Knob Creek. Single Barrel Sponsors include Sagamore Spirit Rye, Heaven Hill Distillery, The Mountain Valley; while small batch sponsors include Wyoming Whiskey, Noble Oak, Edrington, Penelope Bourbon and more. Additional sponsors include PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans, Bourbon and Biscuits, among others.
The walkaround grand tastings will also feature foods from well-known New Orleans restaurants, live classical jazz music, plus an outdoor bourbon lounge sponsored by Diageo.
Tickets for each grand tasting are $109/person and can be purchased here. There is a designated driver (food only) ticket as well for $59. Ultimate bourbon lovers can go all in on a VIP ticket, which includes Friday and Saturday’s seminars, plus early entry to both grand tastings and the Thursday VIP party for $329.
Proceeds of the festival will be donated Kids Can NOLA, the permanent charitable beneficiary of the New Orleans Bourbon Festival. Kids Can NOLA is a not-for-profit organization created to benefit the educational, medical, and general welfare of children in the metro New Orleans area.
To purchase tickets and to find more information about this year’s New Orleans Bourbon Festival, along with a complete schedule of events, go to neworleansbourbonfestival.com