Bourbon and bluegrass fans are invited to attend the first-annual Bonded Spirit Bluegrass Festival from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 at Smoke Justis in Covington, Ky. Brought together in partnership with meetNKY and The B-Line®, the festival celebrates the spirit of the Bottled-in-Bond (BIB) Act of 1897, a bourbon purity law, and features a cocktail competition, food and a live music lineup featuring Grammy-nominated bluegrass artists Sister Sadie and The Goodwin Brothers.

“Everyone knows Kentucky has a rich history rooted in bourbon but what many don’t know is Northern Kentucky’s role in that history,” said president and CEO of meetNKY, Julie Kirkpatrick. “The Bonded Spirit Bluegrass Festival is the perfect way to celebrate the Bottled-in-Bond Act, which Covington’s very own John G. Carlisle was instrumental in passing in 1897. We partnered with our friends at Smoke Justis— a B-Line location — to bring together the perfect collision of bourbon and bluegrass to draw visitors to our region and give them and locals another fun thing to do that weekend in addition to Bockfest.”

Before the passing of the BIB Act in 1897— which was one of America’s first consumer protection acts, even predating the Food & Drug Act— much of the whiskey produced nationwide often included harmful additives like iodine, tobacco and even paint thinner. This Act ensures quality. To be classified as Bottled in Bond, BIB distillers are required to put their products into federally bonded warehouses for at least four years and bottle at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume). Additionally, owners must stipulate on the labels of their bottles where the whiskey is distilled and where it was bottled, if not at the same location where it’s distilled.

In the spirit of celebration, the festival also hosts a competition to crown the best BIB cocktail, enlisting bartenders from across the Commonwealth to showcase creativity and highlight the unique qualities of BIB spirits. Bartender contestants will represent Second Sight Spirits and Rich’s Proper from Northern Kentucky, Old Bourbon County (OBC) Kitchen and The Manchester Hotel from Lexington, Ky. and 21c Proof on Main and Goodfella’s from Louisville, Ky. All participating bars were selected to participate by The Bourbon Review.

The music lineup includes Grammy-nominated acts, Sister Sadie and The Goodwin Brothers, as well as regional musical group Moonshine Drive. Doors open at 5 p.m., with Moonshine Drive taking the stage at 5:30 p.m., followed by Sister Sadie at 7 p.m. and The Goodwin Brothers at 8:30 p.m.

“Covington owns the unique Bottled-in-Bond aspect of bourbon’s long-standing history in this country,” said Smoke Justis founder, Richard Dickmann. “Smoke Justis looks forward to celebrating bourbon and bluegrass with whiskey enthusiasts from all over against the backdrop of our iconic Roebling Bridge.”

Those interested in learning more and purchasing tickets can at Guests must be 21 to attend.


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Owner/President at The Bourbon Flight, LLC | + posts