Cost: $25 (Saturday main event), $125 (Friday Oak Toast dinner), $75 (Oak Toast brunch)
More info: www.picatic.com/oaktoast
Over 600 people last year attended Oak, Toast, and Two Aging Barrels, an inaugural bourbon-based festival held in MainStrasse Village, Covington, Ky., and organizers are hoping to double that number this year.
“For a community that has such interest in the spirit, we saw a void in the area for a large-scale, bourbon-based event,” said Molly Wellmann, owner of Wellmann Brands, which owns, among other establishments, the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar (OKBB) in Covington. “We just thought it’d be an exciting opportunity. We want to reach bourbon drinkers of all ages and experience levels. Last year was our first time hosting such a large-scale event with so many moving parts. We learned a lot.”
Compared to last year, Wellmann said this weekend’s festival will basically feature more of everything. While Friday night and Sunday afternoon will respectively feature a dinner by Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar and brunch by Commonwealth Bistro (both specially priced and with limited seating), the main event is Saturday. As soon as patrons arrive, they’ll receive a swag bag that includes a guide to the various tasting stations, toast sessions and the OKBB Craft Cocktail bar. The Melt Eclectic Café will provide “walkable/handheld” food options that complement the bourbon.
“The idea is to mark the ones you like on the guide so you can remember them for later,” Wellmann said.
There’ll be a total of 50 selections by 16 brands of bourbon, bourbon whiskey, and bourbon-barrel aged products such as wine, brandy, vodka, and gin. There will also be bourbon barrel-aged beers and ciders by Rhinegeist and wines from Louisville’s Old 502 Winery, as well.
In addition to being a tasting event, Oak, Toast and Two Aging Barrels is also an educational event. There’ll be a live performance where the history of bourbon is relayed through bluegrass music, demonstrations and books by bourbon historians that trace Kentucky bourbon whiskey from the 1790s Whiskey Rebellion to the present day, exploring how bourbon was made and sold, the technology behind its production, separating fact from myth and offering a new theory on the age-old, controversial question over where bourbon originated (Kentucky or New Orleans?).