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Higher Proof Expo

The 2018 Higher Proof Expo will take place on Saturday, June 9th
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Omni Louisville, 400 S 2nd St, Louisville, KY 40202
$150 (lunch included)

Introduced as part of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair in 2017, the Higher Proof Expo was one of the highest rated experiences of the entire week. Back for another year, HPEX attendees will be treated to Bourbon-centric educational and tasting sessions led by top industry professionals. Between sessions, you’re invited to peruse pop-up shops to sample and experience what Louisville has to offer. A ticket to the Higher Proof Expo includes access to 4 sessions throughout the day and is the perfect way to segue into the evening’s activities!


Once you secure your HPEX ticket, you’ll receive a link to make your course selections. Classes will fill up quickly, so don’t wait too long!


Get Tickets

SESSION 1 | 9:30 – 10:30 AM

 

THE MB ROLAND HEMPED BOURBON EXPERIENCE

Hang out with MB Roland as they introduce attendees to the world’s first-ever hemped Bourbon. MB Roland co-founders Paul and Merry Beth Tomaszewski will tell the story of hemp production and farming in Kentucky, hemp seed information, and how small grains impact flavor. In addition to tasting the hemped Bourbon, attendees of this session will sample MB Roland’s standard and wheated Bourbons, and leave with an understanding of how something so small can have such a big impact on a Bourbon.

Speakers: Paul Tomaszewski, MB Roland Co-founder and Master Distiller; Merry Beth (Roland) Tomaszewski, Co-founder and Vice President

 

PAIRING BOURBON WITH MUSIC

We use all of our senses for bourbon tasting. Except hearing. That is until now. No, you won't hear your bourbon talking to you, but have you ever noticed how things just taste differently with the right tune? Bourbon author and music lover Fred Minnick shares his techniques of pairing various music genres with different bourbons. Before this class is over, you'll be pairing head banging and orchestrating with Booker's and Larceny without even knowing.

Speaker: Fred Minnick, Bourbon Author & Bourbon Curator for Bourbon & Beyond

 

SINGLE BARREL BOURBON SELECTIONS: AN INSIDER'S LOOK AT EACH DISTILLERY'S PROCESS

Explore the single barrel selection programs offered by Heritage distillers with Chris Zaborowski, Executive Bourbon Steward and owner of Westport Whiskey & Wine. You will be able to taste and evaluate the carefully chosen flavor profiles distinctive to each barrel. Throughout your tasting, Chris will share tips about how to secure a selection date and the process to choose the perfect barrel.

Speaker: Chris Zabrowski, Owner, Westport Whiskey & Wine

 

WINE FOR THE BOURBON LOVER

Who says you can’t love both? Open up your palate and discover the complementary flavors in wine and Bourbon. Master Sommelier and Executive Bourbon Steward Scott Harper invites you to explore the similar flavor profiles of wine and Bourbon and guides you on proper selection of Bourbon according to wine preference. Train your palate to detect subtleties and connect profiles, and enjoy a whole new way to experience Bourbon as you pair it with white and red wines.

Speaker: Scott Harper, Master Sommelier & Managing Partner of Cuvee Wine Table and Bristol Bar & Grille

 

WOODFORD RESERVE PROPIETARY BATCH PROCESSING - FULL

If you’re seeking some inside information on what makes a globally successful brand, and how consistency of quality is managed on such a massive scale, this workshop is the one for you. Join the team behind Woodford Reserve as they pull back the curtain on their proprietary batching process. Attendees will taste samples from multiple barrels and leave with the skills to craft a Woodford Reserve batch of consistent quality.

Speakers: Chris Morris, Woodford Reserve Master Distiller; Elizabeth McCall, Assistant Master Distiller

 

SESSION 2 | 10:45 – 11:45 AM

 

COMPLEMENTING, CONTRASTING, & ENHANCING FLAVOR THROUGH WHISKEY & FOOD PAIRING

This presentation is an instruction on food pairing with whiskey and how whiskey can complement, contrast, enhance and compound flavor. Attendees will sample various country hams from different producers, various chocolates and confections, and selected Michter’s whiskies and cocktails. This program is designed to be fun and engaging, and the team at Michter’s wants people to walk away with the ideas and confidence to create experiences in their own homes with friends and family.

Speakers: Pam Heilmann, Michter's Master Distiller; Andrea Wilson, Master of Maturation; Steve Coomes, author of Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke; Kelly Ramsey, Art Eatables Chocolatier and Confectioner

 

SINGLE BARREL BOURBON SELECTIONS: AN INSIDER'S LOOK AT EACH DISTILLERY'S PROCESS

Explore the single barrel selection programs offered by Heritage distillers with Chris Zaborowski, Executive Bourbon Steward and owner of Westport Whiskey & Wine. You will be able to taste and evaluate the carefully chosen flavor profiles distinctive to each barrel. Throughout your tasting, Chris will share tips about how to secure a selection date and the process to choose the perfect barrel.

Speaker: Chris Zabrowski, Owner, Westport Whiskey & Wine

 

THE STAVE IS THE RAVE: HOW TO DISSECT BARREL FLAVORS FOR ADVANCED FOOD PAIRINGS

There are many flavor influences for Bourbon from grains to glass. And many people think the Bourbon barrel is the same from distillery to distillery, but Peggy Noe Stevens will debunk that myth as she educates and entertains guests in The Stave is the Rave. This seminar will take a deep dive in what to look for in maturation of a whiskey and the flavor effects of wood, toast, char and proof when it comes to pairing food. The barrel is the star in uncovering unique flavors from the carmelization of the wood to the smoky blister of the char, guests will be fascinated by this dissection and education, and their palates pleased with the food that goes with it.

Speaker: Peggy Noe Stevens, Bourbon Master Taster & Founder of Bourbon Women



USING MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY TO MAKE THE WORLD’S BEST BOURBON WHISKIES. A simple look into a very complex process.

We have all heard about what grains are used to make Bourbon and that yeast and water are important. But how often do you hear about using High Performance Liquid Chromatography to examine sugar, alcohol and organic acid profiles during fermentation, or get to talk about how bacteria influence Bourbon flavor? Well, now is your chance! Dive into the microbiology and biochemistry of Kentucky Bourbon production with Dr. Pat Heist, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-owner of Wilderness Trail Distillery. Take a simplified look at Bourbon production through the eyes of a microbiologist in this entertaining and informative session, while improving your Bourbon IQ – it’s the most fun you’ll ever have in science class!

Speaker: Pat Heist, Co-founder of Wilderness Trail and Ferm Solutions

 

WINE FOR THE BOURBON LOVER

Who says you can’t love both? Open up your palate and discover the complementary flavors in wine and Bourbon. Master Sommelier and Executive Bourbon Steward Scott Harper invites you to explore the similar flavor profiles of wine and Bourbon and guides you on proper selection of Bourbon according to wine preference. Train your palate to detect subtleties and connect profiles, and enjoy a whole new way to experience Bourbon as you pair it with white and red wines.

Speaker: Scott Harper, Master Sommelier & Managing Partner of Cuvee Wine Table and Bristol Bar & Grille

 

LUNCH & EXPO HALL | 11:45 – 1:00 PM

 

SESSION 3 | 1:00 – 2:00 PM

 

COMPLEMENTING, CONTRASTING, & ENHANCING FLAVOR THROUGH WHISKEY & FOOD PAIRING

This presentation is an instruction on food pairing with whiskey and how whiskey can complement, contrast, enhance and compound flavor. Attendees will sample various country hams from different producers, various chocolates and confections, and selected Michter’s whiskies and cocktails. This program is designed to be fun and engaging, and the team at Michter’s wants people to walk away with the ideas and confidence to create experiences in their own homes with friends and family.

Speakers: Pam Heilmann, Michter's Master Distiller; Andrea Wilson, Master of Maturation; Steve Coomes, author of Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke; Kelly Ramsey, Art Eatables Chocolatier and Confectioner

 

THE MB ROLAND HEMPED BOURBON EXPERIENCE

Hang out with MB Roland as they introduce attendees to the world’s first-ever hemped Bourbon. MB Roland co-founders Paul and Merry Beth Tomaszewski will tell the story of hemp production and farming in Kentucky, hemp seed information, and how small grains impact flavor. In addition to tasting the hemped Bourbon, attendees of this session will sample MB Roland’s standard and wheated Bourbons, and leave with an understanding of how something so small can have such a big impact on a Bourbon.

Speakers: Paul Tomaszewski, MB Roland Co-founder and Master Distiller; Merry Beth (Roland) Tomaszewski, Co-founder and Vice President

 

PAIRING BOURBON WITH MUSIC

We use all of our senses for bourbon tasting. Except hearing. That is until now. No, you won't hear your bourbon talking to you, but have you ever noticed how things just taste differently with the right tune? Bourbon author and music lover Fred Minnick shares his techniques of pairing various music genres with different bourbons. Before this class is over, you'll be pairing head banging and orchestrating with Booker's and Larceny without even knowing.

Speaker: Fred Minnick, Bourbon Author & Bourbon Curator for Bourbon & Beyond

 

THE STAVE IS THE RAVE: HOW TO DISSECT BARREL FLAVORS FOR ADVANCED FOOD PAIRINGS

There are many flavor influences for Bourbon from grains to glass. And many people think the Bourbon barrel is the same from distillery to distillery, but Peggy Noe Stevens will debunk that myth as she educates and entertains guests in The Stave is the Rave. This seminar will take a deep dive in what to look for in maturation of a whiskey and the flavor effects of wood, toast, char and proof when it comes to pairing food. The barrel is the star in uncovering unique flavors from the carmelization of the wood to the smoky blister of the char, guests will be fascinated by this dissection and education, and their palates pleased with the food that goes with it.

Speaker: Peggy Noe Stevens, Bourbon Master Taster & Founder of Bourbon Women

 

SESSION 4 | 2:15 – 3:15

 

DEVELOP A WHISKEY BRAND CONCEPT IN 50 MINUTES

This seminar is custom-made for anyone who likes to dream big! Guests will learn directly from industry insiders the steps toward creating and launching a successful Bourbon brand – how to develop a brand (by way of sourcing bourbon), laying down “new make,” barrel selection and understanding, aging, distributing, bottling material selection, and marketing of the product. Attendees will sample mutiple products from barrel strength wine finish to bottled wine finish, as well as new make and aged Bourbon.

Speakers: Jade Peterson, Kentucky Artisan Distillery Head Distiller; Jeremy Dever, KAD Operations & Communications Director; William Hornaday, Kelvin Cooperage, General Manager; Liz Ratliff, KAD Visitor Center Manager

 

JOURNEY THROUGH THE BARREL

Attend this session if you want to gain a deeper understanding of how Bourbon changes over time in a barrel. Hearing it is one thing, but being able to taste the same mash bills at various stages of the maturation process will provide you with an even deeper understanding of the importance of patience in the industry. Jeptha Creed Master Distiller Joyce Nethery, and Head Distiller, Dave Carpenter, will guide you through tastings of their new make in a wheat mash bill and a rye mash bill. Then, you’ll taste those mash bills at six-months and one-year old so you can experience for yourselves the changes that take place over time in a new oak barrel.

Speakers: Joyce Nethery, Jeptha Creed Master Distiller; Dave Carpenter, Head Distiller

 

ON THE ROCKS - FULL

The presentation will be a science lover’s dream! For any fan dying to understand more about the Bourbon industry, this presentation will be an opportunity for enthusiasts to understand what “on the rocks” really means. Diageo NA’s National Whiskey Educator, Doug Kragel, will take guests through a heavy understanding of why ice matters – and to some, why it might not. Different styles of ice will be the focus: crushed, cubed, spherical, etc. How does it change the flavor profile? What type of ice do you really prefer? Has “on the rocks” been all wrong the whole time! A fun demo with a lot to take home!

Speaker: Doug Kragel, Diageo Reserve Portfolio, National Educator of North American Whiskey

 

POT DISTILLATION WITH A THUMPER: TRADITIONAL METHODS OF BOURBON PRODUCTION

We will discuss how bourbon was traditionally made in Kentucky, on pot stills. Discussions will include the basics of pot distillation (We will bring a 100 year old Neeley moonshine still with us to show the audience the in’s and out’s of a pot still), how and why to use a thumper, and some tricks associated with a thumper. Samples will be provided of both pot distilled with a thumper attached new make vs column distilled new make. We will also provide some aged pot distilled samples.

Speakers: Royce Neeley, Owner Neeley Family Distillery; Marc Dottore, Owner Dueling Grounds Distillery

 

SOMETHING HAD TO GO WRONG: A DECADE OF EXPERIMENTS

Join Corsair Artisan Distillery Senior Head Distiller, Clay Smith, as he pulls back the curtain on what life is really like in the Bourbon business. Attendees will be treated to a rare look at the inner-workings of a 10-year old Craft Distillery, their products, methods and people. Clay will also guide attendees through tastings of Corsair products that have never been released to the public, as well as some that are part of their 10-year anniversary release.

Speaker: Clay Smith, Corsair Artisan Distillery, Senior Head Distiller

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Contact Us

The Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ is operated by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which promotes, protects and elevates Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Call or email

Organizers - Phone

(502) 727-0008

Organizers - Email

affair@kybourbon.com

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(866) 577-3722

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Additional Questions?

Click on the FAQ button for help with general questions about the event.

FAQ