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St. Louis Bourbon Festival

Proceeds Benefit St. Louis Hero Network For First Responders

Here's to the best key for unlocking friendship:  bourbon!

This year's St. Louis Bourbon Festival will be held Oct. 21 at The Lemp Grand Hall and Lofts, 3500 Lemp Ave., from 5-9 p.m. The inaugural festival was hosted on Oct. 1, 2021, with co-founders James Thomas and Andrew Chostner. 

"The Festival was born out of a desire to showcase the amazing history of our city and its love for our native spirit. It was created to educate consumers, give back to our community through charity, and foster what we call fellowship in the spirit," James says. "We hope to build on last year’s sold-out event and make this year’s festival one of the most interactive festivals in the entire country.”

The event is hosted by St. Louis Bourbon Society members, with the 2022 auction/raffle proceeds benefiting St. Louis Hero Network for First Responders, a nonprofit marketplace that supports local first responders and military families by promoting their businesses. James says the festival is an event for those 21 years old and older and will include tastings among a selection of 450-plus bourbons, whiskeys and scotches from all over the world.

Andrew adds that the festival also includes live music, food trucks, custom cocktails, Bourbon Celebrity Meet and Greets, premium tastings and other fun experiences -- all for a great cause.

"This year’s musical guests will feature the sounds of Miss Jubilee & The Yas Yas Boys, a local group performing low-down blues, hokum and hot jazz from the 1920s and 1930s, along with Adrianna Marie & Her Groovecutters serving up swing sounds of the 1940s and 1950s," says Andrew.

Additionally, this year's festival was expanded to an indoor/outdoor layout with additional buildings and craft vendors to explore on Cherokee Street. The Lemp Mansion, built in the 1860s and purchased by William Lemp as a brewery office and residence, offers an interesting backdrop to this event. The site of multiple tragedies, the brewery was sold in 1922.

Founded in 2016, the St. Louis Bourbon Society grew from a group of a few hundred people who wanted to discuss bourbon and drink together into one of the most expansive bourbon groups in the United States with nearly 12,000 enthusiasts. However, The St. Louis Bourbon Society does a lot more than just large-scale events. "We offer monthly educational tastings and social gatherings around St. Louis. We host cocktail classes, and partner with local restaurants and establishments to create unique spirit-centered dinners, including private corporate events. We also work with several local spirits stores to collaborate on unique, private barrels for our group," James says. 

One core element of the group is assisting charitable organizations with events around the city, he says.

Festival attendees can enjoy the finest bourbons and whiskeys from some of the nation’s top distilleries, such as Ardent Spirits, Balcones Distilling, Barton 1792 Distillery, Blacksmith Distillery, Breckenridge Distillery, Brown-Forman, Buffalo Trace, Bulleit, Cedar Ridge Distillery, Chattanooga Whiskey, Duke, Evan Williams, Fistful of Bourbon, Four Roses, Frey Ranch, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Hudson Whiskey NY, Jack Daniel's, Jameson, Jim Beam, Limestone Beach Distillery, Louisville Distilling Company, Lux Row Distillery, Makers Mark, Michter's Distillery, MGP, New Riff Distillery, Old Elk, Legends Spirits, Old Forester, Ole Smoky Moonshine, Penelope Bourbon, Slow & Low, Spirits of St. Louis, Stumpy's Spirits, Suntory, Switchgrass Spirits, Uncle Nearest, Walker's Cay, Wilderness Trail Distillery, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve Distillery and Wood Hat Spirits.

VIP ticket experiences -- which already were sold out at press time -- grant access to the exclusive VIP lounge area in the Lemp Lofts at which there will be tastings, specialty cocktails, exclusive interactive events and unique products. Those ticket holders also receive 1-hour early access to the event, along with a private VIP bar serving up signature cocktails from some of St. Louis' most talented mixologists.

Festival tickets for general admission, which can be purchased online, are $90 each plus $8.06 sales tax. Designated Driver tickets with event access, but no alcohol provided, are $45 each plus $4.03 sales tax. On-site parking costs $20 plus $1.79 sales tax. Note that the Hyatt Regency hotel in Downtown St. Louis at the Arch may offer a special rate for staying there during the festival, and society members will have a shuttle running to and from the hotel to help with transportation. 

Presenters at this year's festival will include some of the most recognized names in the bourbon industry, including whiskey author Fred Minnick, Bourbon Hall of Fame member and co-creator of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail; Peggy Now Stevens, bourbon historian; Michael Veach, Hall of Fame member; Steven Beam, Limestone branch master distiller; Victoria Eady Butler, the first female master blender of the year; Bo Garret, former guitarist from Montgomery Gentry; and Wild Turkey ambassador Greg Metze, the 40-year master from MGP and now Old Elk in Colorado.

New for the 2022 St. Louis Bourbon Festival will be hosting individual premium tasting sessions inside the hauntingly famous Lemp Mansion. These private tasting sessions will focus on history, distillation/barreling, blending/finishing, cocktail creation, culinary pairings and other popular topics in the world of bourbon.