It’s Forecastle Time, Y’all!

by Kentucky for Kentucky |

The 15th annual Forecastle Festival — July 14-16 at Louisville’s Waterfront Park — steps up its bourbon game with rare pours of Kentucky’s finest.


The 15th annual Forecastle Festival kicks off July 14–16 in Louisville’s Waterfront Park and we are pumped!


We’ll be setting up shop all weekend with fresh Kentucky gear for all your festival needs. Also stop by the Kentucky for Kentucky tent (look for the flag) to take part in The Forecastle Derby and a chance to win some sweet swag. All winners will be entered into the Winner’s Circle raffle with a shot at winning a pair of VIP weekend passes to Forecastle 2018.

Otherwise we’ll be out roaming the festival grounds; checking out the goods in Kentucky Landing; cooling off in the fountain; enjoying sets from the likes of Sturgill Simpson, Twin Limb, Cage the Elephant and so many more awesome artists; and getting down with all of you beautiful people.


There’s also a 100 percent chance that we’ll be dipping into the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge for a nip of Kentucky’s finest over the course of the weekend. In case you hadn’t noticed, Forecastle hosts a full-fledged bourbon festival smack dab in the middle of a giant music and arts festival.


We checked in with Forecastle founder and bourbon aficionado J.K. McKnight to see what’s new this year, and it turns out they’re pulling out all the stops for Forecastle No. 15.


“When we get to a big anniversary year, it’s definitely time to do something different,” McKnight says. “And this year we’re really stepping up the bourbon component, along with one of the biggest music lineups we’ve ever done.”


In addition to an impressive array of bourbons from some of Kentucky’s top brands — as well as a mixology station, chef-made bites and other perks — the Bourbon Lodge will also introduce a Rarities Bar stocked with some of the most sought-after pours in the state. Check out the list here.


McKnight worked closely with Liquor Barn category director Brad Williams to curate the selection, as well as to personally select barrel picks and blends that will be offered as Liquor Barn Private Barrel Selections. The Rarities Bar pouring schedule will pair closely with related Fireside Chats, so check out the schedule for an idea of what might be pouring right after any of these bourbon-related talks from some of the industry’s top experts.


The Bourbon Lodge debuted at the 10th Forecastle Festival in 2012 and, believe it or not, McKnight says many folks didn’t think it would fly.

Kentucky without bourbon is like the ocean without water.

“Early on, people in the industry told me there was no way people would go inside a tent like that in the middle of summer and drink bourbon,” he says. “We knew within a half-hour of gates opening that not only was it going to work, but we were going to blow through all the product we estimated that we would need for the weekend in the first day.”


Thankfully festival organizers now have a better idea of just how thirsty fans are for a taste of Kentucky bourbon, and for knowledge about the distillation and aging process.


“When you look at our audience — from 2,400 cities, 49 states and 13 countries — we’re bringing in all of these new people who have a thirst for knowledge about what Kentucky bourbon is all about, and are looking for a deeper immersion into our state’s signature product.”


We asked McKnight to consider what Kentucky without bourbon might be like, and he was quick with a reply: “like the ocean without water,” he says.


Get ready to set sail, Kentucky! We’ll see you at Forecastle. Tickets and info at


Happy Birthday was invented by the Hill sisters in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kentucky for Kentucky