LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It's Derby week and while we plan our mint juleps and bourbon inspired menus, it's only fitting Mayor Greg Fischer started the morning off with a bourbon Bloody Mary at the Brown Hotel as he introduced a new plan to grow Louisville's food and bourbon economy.
Fischer appointed a bourbon and food work group to come up with recommendations in how to become a top destination for local food and bourbon.
"When you combine the bourbon boom and the international culinary reputation that we're going to be in," Fischer said. "I believe and all of our team believes that Louisville really stands to become the world's best food and spirits capital."
The group, divided into Food, Bourbon and Environment committees, recommended six ideas.
The recommendations are:
Create a Bourbon Visitor Center, Preferable on Whiskey Row, that would be the starting point for bourbon enthusiasts and offer cooking and bourbon classes.
Create an annual world-class, uniquely Louisville, signature Bourbon and Food Festival
Create a bourbon certification and recognition system in which the hospitality industry would become certified bourbon experts
Incorporate bourbon and food into Louisville International Airport in a significant way
Create a common marketing strategy for the city around bourbon and food.
Use bourbon to market and sell the city. The city should deliberately court convention and trade shows tied to the spirits industry.
The city is already creating an annual world-class bourbon and food festival with the Bourbon Affair, which will be held May 14 to 18. The event will lead tourists through distilleries in Kentucky then encourage them to come back to Louisville for the nights.
"There will be "cooking demonstrations with bourbon, cocktail competitions, all finalized on Saturday night by a black tie dinner and then even bourbon polo downtown on the waterfront on Sunday," said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers' Association.
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