Fischer wants bourbon visitors center downtown

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by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 7:29 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- The perfect complement to Louisville's trendy restaurant scene?

Just add bourbon.

Mayor Greg Fischer is calling on local food and drink visionaries to transform top national reviews for the Louisville restaurant scene and Kentucky's signature spirit into a bigger winning combination for Louisville.

Speaking from behind the bar at Bourbon Bistro on Frankfort Avenue, Fischer called upon a working group of local leaders to help form his vision for a bourbon visitors center in downtown Louisville.

"This is the capital," agreed Stacey Yates, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau Vice-President.  "This is where bourbon is born. We should be doing something with this."

Yates dreamed up the idea of an Urban Bourbon Trail of select bars and restaurants six years ago. 

"It really was a perfect storm," Yates said.  "Of consumption, demand going up for this product as we were telling this story of where it's made and, 'Oh you might want to visit it.'"

Yates serves on the working group tasked by the mayor to converge the culinary and distilling successes.

In November, the opening of the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Main Street marked the first of five such projects planned downtown in the next two years.

This next step is a coordination of those efforts, compared by the mayor's office to Napa Valley and wine or champagne in Riems, France. 

Just as 95 percent of the world's bourbon is made in Kentucky, only the bubbly made in that part of France can call itself "champagne."
 
"Every city is looking for something that makes them stand out," Yates said.  "As authentic - as unique."

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is launching a new culinary website, culinarylouisville.com, to market Louisville's restaurants and bars as tourist destinations.
 

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