Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon. With 95 percent of the world’s supply coming from the Commonwealth, it’s no surprise that in Owensboro there is a group just for bourbon fanatics.
The Owensboro Bourbon Society was established by Vince Carida in 2011 to celebrate Kentucky’s liquid treasure.
The society, that meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at O.Z. Tyler Distillery, provides members with an educational and sensory journey through the history of bourbon, the art and science behind the process and the flavors and finishes which make each bourbon unique. Currently, there are about 170 members.
“I wanted to meet like-minded people and come together to celebrate the bourbon heritage of Kentucky and Owensboro,” Carida said about starting the OBS.
Membership costs $100 for the first year and $75 for all subsequent years.
Each Owensboro Bourbon Society member receives an engraved OBS Glencairn whisky glass and a one-year subscription to Bourbon Review magazine. In addition, J’s Liquors offers OBS members a discount on bourbon’s featured at OBS meetings as well as discounts on private barrel selections.
According to kybourbon.com, only Kentucky has the perfect natural mix of climate, conditions and pure limestone water necessary for producing high-quality bourbon, which consists primarily of corn.
“The society is good for Owensboro because it creates a medium for people to learn about bourbon history, the process of making bourbon and creates a social network to meet people that you may not normally have had an opportunity to meet,” Carida said. “For example, two of my members met at the Bourbon Society, started dating and eventually got married.”
In addition to education and tastings, the group has had many legends of the industry come to Owensboro to speak at their meetings. These include:
Bill Samuels, Chairman, Makers Mark
Brent Elliott, Current Master Distiller, Four Roses
Jimmy Russell, Master Distiller, Wild Turkey Bourbon
Chris Morris, Master Distiller, Woodford Reserve
Marianne Eaves, first female Master Distiller ever named in Kentucky
Rob Samuels, President, Makers Mark
Fred Noe, Master Distiller, Jim Beam
Bernie Lubbers, Brand Ambassador, Heaven Hill
Jacob Call, Master Distiller, O.Z. Tyler Distillery
Charles Medley, Former Master Distiller, Medley Distillery
Carida said the society members also select private barrels, where they go to a distillery, taste bourbon out of several barrels and then select the barrel that they would like bottled. These one-of-a-kind bourbons are sold at J’s Liquors and by the glass at The Miller House.
According to kybourbon.com, the drink is revolutionizing Kentucky tourism and pouring much-needed revenue into local communities. Kentucky Bourbon Trail visitors spend between $400 and $1,200 on average during their trip.
Last summer, O.Z. Tyler Distillery joined the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
For 2019, the group is planning a weekend outing to Louisville where they will be visiting Michter’s Distillery and Kentucky Peerless.
The Bourbon Society’s first meeting of the year is on Jan 9. For more information on the Owensboro Bourbon Society or how to join visit their website.