Kentucky’s two-century-old bourbon tradition offers not only a wonderful array of distilled spirits, but also great destinations for travelers and inspiration for Kentucky artisans. On display now through July 5 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, is the exhibit “Kentucky Bourbon: Distillation and Inspiration.”

Nearly two hundred years after it was first distilled in Kentucky, bourbon whiskey was recognized as a distinctly American product by Congress in 1964. Today more than 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is distilled and aged in Kentucky. There are more barrels of bourbon aging in Kentucky than there are people and horses living in the Commonwealth.

This exhibit at the Kentucky Artisan Center gives visitors a glimpse into the world of bourbon with text panels and photographs depicting Kentucky bourbon’s history, processes, production today, and terms and definitions. Visitors can learn about everything from the “mash bill” or recipe, to the effect of bourbon’s being stored in charred white oak barrels. The exhibit informs visitors about distilleries that are open for guided tours and is a great introduction to this unique Kentucky product.

Kentucky bourbon has also inspired artists and food producers to create a wide range of bourbon-themed gifts and products, including a selection of furniture inspired by used bourbon barrels. The exhibit features Jason Cohen’s elegantly curved recycled bourbon-barrel chairs, stools and tables, and Karine and Matthew Maynard’s distinctive furniture that combines recycled bourbon-barrel wood with forged steel.

Photos left to right: Bourbon-barrel bar table and stools by Jason Cohen; a variety of books and bourbon food products on display; Bourbon-barrel bar table and stools by Karine and Matthew Maynard

Also showcased are many other unique bourbon products regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. Foods include specialty sauces, seasonings, candy, mixes and more.  In addition, the Center offers bourbon cook books, candles and history books. Kentucky bourbon adds a unique flavor, aroma and exciting taste to many foods and recipes.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and its cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The center currently features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. A special exhibit, “Repurposed & Recycled: Works by Kentucky Artisans,” is on display through Sept. 6. For more information about the center’s events call 859-985-5448, visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kentucky.artisan.center, or go to the center’s website at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



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