Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that Churchill Downs Racetrack has entered an agreement with Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon that will solidify the renewal of Woodford Reserve as the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby through 2027. Woodford Reserve has been the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” since 1999 and the presenting sponsor for the past four years.
“We are thrilled to welcome back Woodford Reserve as the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby for the next five years,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “We are pleased to build upon this partnership between two global entities representing Kentucky’s unique culture and unbridled spirit. Brown-Forman’s brand offerings are the ideal complement to the heritage of this time-honored tradition.”
“We are proud to renew this partnership, as it unites together two of Kentucky’s greatest attractions, bourbon and thoroughbreds,” said Lawson Whiting, CEO of Brown-Forman Corporation, owner of Woodford Reserve.
Woodford Reserve commemorated the sponsorship by laying down oak in the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs to be used in a barrel for a very rare bourbon that will celebrate the milestone 150th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2024. The oak will be “seasoned” in the open air for approximately two months, allowing the wood to mature in preparation for the whiskey.
“We are excited for the next five years, and we are honored to continue our partnership with Churchill Downs by creating this very special bottle for Derby 150,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “On the first Saturday in May, no matter where we are, we are all Kentuckians with a glass of Woodford Reserve in hand.”
Woodford Reserve will continue to leverage existing partnerships associated with the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs and the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The extended partnership includes three additional Brown-Forman brands: Old Forester, Finlandia and Herradura.
Old Forester returns as the “Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby” and a sponsor of Thurby, a beloved day of live racing held on the Thursday of Derby week. Premium Finlandia vodka celebrates the Kentucky Oaks as a key ingredient for the signature Oaks Lily cocktail. Herradura tequila cocktails will be available at Churchill Downs throughout Derby week.