Inarguably, New Orleans is one of the world’s most spirited cities and a cocktail loving city. Now bourbon lovers can join together and celebrate at the first annual New Orleans Bourbon Festival. From Friday, March 24 to Sunday, March 26, 2017 food, spirit and culture will converge at the Sugar Mill and Marriot Convention Center in the historic Warehouse District of New Orleans. Festivities will include 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. 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. Full menus will be released soon.

A two-day Grand Tasting will be held on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 from 7:30 to 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.

On Saturday, March 25—starting at 9 a.m.—live panels will be held all day at the Marriott Convention Center, with top speakers like 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.

Rounding out the weekend will be an Awards Brunch on Sunday, March 26. Beginning at 11 a.m. at the Marriott Convention Center, 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.

New Orleans Bourbon Festival will take place Thursday, March 23 to Sunday, March 26 at the Sugar Mill and Marriott Convention Center. Tickets range from $59 to $490 (Ultimate VIP) and can be purchased at Bourbon Festival Tickets. 

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