New Orleans Bourbon Festival Debuts In March, To Benefit St. Michael Special School

NEW ORLEANS – Bourbon lovers can join together and celebrate at the first annual New Orleans Bourbon Festival, Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26, with food, spirits and culture at the Sugar Mill, 1021 Convention Center Blvd., and the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center, 859 Convention Center Blvd.

         Festivities will include a marketplace featuring an array of Bourbon-centric products; two grand tasting events from the world’s finest distilleries; live panels with some of the greatest names in the Bourbon industry and a Bourbon jazz brunch. Central to this year’s kick-off event is attention on “Women in Bourbon,” one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. A portion of the festival proceeds will benefit St. Michael Special School; an educational facility that teaches students ages six through adulthood with special needs.

         Bourbon lovers can pre-game on Thursday, March 23 at one of five exclusive four-course pairing dinners being offered as part of the Legends of Bourbon Series. Dinners will be hosted by the best Master Distillers in the country at some of New Orleans top restaurants – Fred Booker Noe III of Jim Beam at The Foundation Room at The House of Blues; Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey & Russell’s Reserve at The Bourbon House; Trey Zoeller of Jefferson’s Bourbon at Salon by Sucre; Diageo Brands at Morton's Steakhouse; and Heaven Hill at Kenton’s.

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         Dinners are $130 per person, all-inclusive, and feature Bourbon pairings with each course, as well as an amuse-bouche and welcome cocktail. Guests of the Jim Beam, Jefferson’s Bourbon and Wild Turkey dinners will receive a complimentary signed bottle of Bourbon.

         A two-day grand tasting will be held on Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, from 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. VIP doors open at 6:30 p.m. Festival goers and Bourbon aficionados can roam about an outdoor marketplace adorned with Bourbon-centric products; taste the finest Bourbon in the world like Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Eagle Rare and Sazerac; and nosh on New Orleans best bites by 20 local restaurants including Salon by Sucre, Primitivo and Food & Wine’s 2016 “Best New Chef” Michael Guilotta’s recently-opened Maypop.

         Live entertainment will be provided by local jazz pianist Matt Lemmler.

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         On Saturday, March 25, starting at 9:00 a.m., live panels will be held all day at the Marriott, with speakers including Trey Zoeller, Founder of Jefferson’s Bourbon; Fred Booker Noe III of Jim Beam; and Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey Distillery. The featured “Women in Bourbon” panel will bring out some of the industry’s most recognized females including Carla Carlton – The Bourbon Babe; Susan Reigler – author, professor and executive Bourbon steward; and Peggy Noe Stevens – master taster, author and brand strategist.

         View a full list of available seminars here

         Rounding out the weekend will be an awards brunch on Sunday, March 26.  Beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Marriott, the celebratory brunch will announce winners of the Bourbon tasting and will feature craft cocktails, culinary delights and live music from the New Orleans Jazz Revival Band.

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