For the uninitiated, “bourbon and branch” refers to drinking bourbon with plain water (as opposed to soda water). Whisky aficionados insist it brings out the flavors of Kentucky’s signature beverage. But bourbon and branch is more than just a tasty beverage. It’s an opportunity to build a business and grow jobs in Louisville.
The phrase “bourbonism” was coined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to refer to the economic boost that bourbon brings to the metro area (and beyond). That growth has caught the interest of other American cities.
Tucked away in a cellar at the Porter Beer Hall in Atlanta, a group of the city’s economic development experts learned what Louisville has to offer from Louisville Forward’s Brittany Allison and Louisville Water’s Kelley Dearing Smith.
Allison, a bourbon ambassador and certified “bourbon steward” through Moonshine University’s Stave and Thief program, shared the city’s rich history with bourbon through a selected tasting flight. Guests were intrigued with the artistry, science and craftsmanship of the industry and equally as interested in exploring the look, smell and taste of a variety of bourbons.
It takes good water to not only make great bourbon but to also experience the drink. Distillers credit Kentucky’s pure limestone water for producing bourbon, and in the Louisville area, Louisville Water provides the key ingredient.
Dearing Smith is Louisville Water’s Vice President for Communications and Marketing and one of the company’s most animated ambassadors for Louisville pure tap®, the trademarked name for the city’s drinking water.
For the Atlanta tasting, guests enjoyed Louisville pure tap® straight, on the rocks and added to the bourbon. Louisville Water sent a few gallons of its water to the Porter Beer Hall, where bartenders created the rocks and served it chilled. (Guests were surprised to learn that even the ice was Louisville pure tap®!)
Water matters when it comes to experiencing bourbon. Master distillers are known to taste a city’s water before committing to rocks in their whiskey. Louisville is recognized worldwide for its quality water with two of the top 14 water treatment facilities in North America. The Ohio River provides an abundant water supply and businesses and residents enjoy some of the lowest water rates in the region.
Why bring bourbon and water together to talk about industry, jobs and opportunity? The parallels between the industries speak to the innovation, the quality and the flavor of Louisville. And, conversation over a flight of bourbon or a sampling of Louisville pure tap® allows for a lively discussion.