Hoping to encourage Covington and Northern Kentucky bourbon tourists to trickle south and west to Frankfort and Bardstown, the three tourism commissions announced the launch of a new digital marketing initiative — Come Find Bourbon, with the first letter of the slogan representative of each of the three cities involved.
“Covington, Frankfort and Bardstown all have rich and developing bourbon histories, distilleries and bourbon related tourist attractions,” said Robin Antenucci, executive director of the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist & Convention Commission.
The idea for the collaboration blossomed after several meetings by Antenucci, Julie Kirkpatrick, vice president of sales and marketing for meetNKY, and Mike Mangeot, executive director of the Bardstown-Nelson County Tourism Commission, and came to fruition earlier this week with the unveiling of the digital marketing campaign.
“The airport in Northern Kentucky brings large numbers of people to the area, but many that are bourbon tourists may not be aware how easy it is to get from the Covington area to Frankfort and Bardstown,” Antenucci said.
According to ComeFindBourbon.com., there are 21 distilleries in the vicinity of the three cities, including seven in the Frankfort area — Buffalo Trace, Castle & Key, Four Roses, Glenns Creek Distillery, Three Boys Farm Distillery, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.
The suggested route starts in Covington and travels south on Interstate 75 to Lexington, where drivers take Interstate 64 west to Frankfort before backtracking to catch the Bluegrass Parkway west to Bardstown. According to Googlemaps, the 178-mile trip would take an estimated three hours and 10 minutes to complete.
The long-term goal of Come Find Bourbon is to drive visitors to the area and spend time and money in the community, Antenucci added, though she would not disclose how much the campaign is costing in total and for each of the member cities.
“I will have to reach out to the other communities to see if they are comfortable with sharing this info,” she told The State Journal on Wednesday.
When tourism officials broached the subject at a meeting in March, it was estimated that each city could pay up to $25,000.
The three cities offer a rich variety of bourbon culture that run the gamut from rustic to ultra-modern, mom-and-pop to conglomerate and historic and brand new.
The Covington region contains five distilleries — Boone County Distilling Co., Neeley Family Distillery, The Old Pogue Distillery, New Riff Distilling and Second Sight Spirits.
Kirkpatrick called it a win-win for the marketing partners and visitors.
“We can send a clear message to bourbon lovers who in turn will discover that our three regions really do have it all in terms of Kentucky Bourbon Country experiences,” she said.
The majority of the Come For Bourbon distilleries — nine — are accessible from Bardstown. They include Barton 1792, Bardstown Bourbon Co., Heaven’s Hill, Lux Row, Preservation Distillery, Willet, Jim Beam, Limestone Branch and Maker’s Mark.
“One clear benefit for tourists is the fact that all three destinations are near one another, so this trip is an easy drive route with short distances between stops,” Mangeot said.
Antenucci said she is excited about the collaboration and was honored to work with Kirkpatrick and Mangeot.
“It speaks to the idea that working together can yield greater benefits to all,” she said.