How to navigate the St. Louis Bourbon Festival

How to navigate the St. Louis Bourbon Festival

If you are over of bourbon, next weekend is your Super Bowl.¬† The St. Louis Bourbon Festival features 450+ Bourbons, Whiskeys, and Scotches from all over the world! This year’s festival has been expanded to an indoor/outdoor layout with additional buildings and spaces added to explore on Cherokee Street.

The festival will also include Live Music, Food Trucks, a Silent Auction, Custom Cocktails, Bourbon Celebrity Meet and Greets, Premium Tastings and many more experiences that are sure to make for an exciting evening of Bourbon fellowship to benefit a great cause!

Understanding a Whiskey Festival 

This is not a cocktail party, although many do feature cocktails. Instead, a Whiskey or Bourbon festival is a chance to try a variety of different brands all in one event.

“The Whiskey and Bourbon category has exploded with so many new brands, no one would buy them all to just try them,” said Drew¬†Chostner, Co-Founder of the St Louis Bourbon Society. “Enthusiasts can come to a festival and pick which brands they have been seeking out and try a sample before making a decision to buy at a store.”

Navigating the St. Louis Bourbon Festival 

Imagining a beer festival with breweries set up side by side, pouring beer is pretty close to this experience. The difference is you will sip on a taster of whiskey as opposed to a full or half or even a quarter pour of beer.

Going into any drinking festival with a plan is advised. For example, focus on brands you have not tried, or a style or a state from where the distillery is located. This festival will provide with as many creative options as you can come up with, due to sheer volume.

“In 2021 we had 75 different vendors in attendance, in 2022 we expect over 125,” said Costner. “That makes the St Louis Bourbon Festival one of the largest in the US for brand variety.¬† In attendance will be everything from heritage brands such as Buffalo Trace to brand new brands in the MO market like Red Line Whiskey.”

A plan is good to have, but also prepare yourself as well. Even with smaller sips of whiskey, the juice can do a number on you if you’re not prepared.

  1. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes, the festival has expanded from one building to now larger than a full city block of indoor and outdoor spaces.
  2. Eat a full meal and be sure to hydrate.  If you missed dinner, there are 5 excellent food trucks on-site to get your fill.
  3. Festivals are marathons, not a sprint, be tactical about what samples you want to try.  Grab a free guide at check-in for specific brands you want to see.
  4. Consider Uber or Lyft for a ride, parking is limited to city streets.
  5. Pace yourself and have fun!

Educational Tastings

Next year I promise to write this a month or more before the event because the following sells out fast. Aside from the sampling, the Bourbon Festival offers 15 educational tastings by some of the top bourbon authorities in the world.

The presenter tastings are a separate add-on ticket to the entry GA or VIP tickets.  They can be purchased at while they last.  Space is limited. The 6 pm tastings do include the famous Lemp Mansion Fried Chicken Dinner.

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