Kentucky’s Edge rides the ‘amber wave’

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10K people a day expected for bourbon conference, festival
COVINGTON, Ky. - License plates from far-away states are already appearing in Covington's parking garages and hotel parking lots as visitors descend on the region for the inaugural two-day Kentucky's Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival this weekend.
Some 10,000 people a day are expected for the celebration, which pairs a serious discussion of Kentucky's signature liquor by distillers, experts and authors with an array of fun events on Friday and Saturday at several sites in Covington and Newport.
These include all-day music concerts, a block party, an artisan market and lots of individual events like bourbon tastings at bars and restaurants known for their bourbon selections.
As previously described, several blocks on three Covington streets will be shut down for the event starting today (for setup) until Sunday evening. They are:
  • Court Street between Park Place and Third Street.
  • Third Street between Scott and Greenup streets.
  • Sixth Street in MainStrasse Village between Philadelphia and Main streets.
"Obviously any time there's an event of this magnitude, there's going to be disruption to traffic and parking, and we've worked to minimize that," City Manager David Johnston said.
"But we're excited," he added. "This tourism event will showcase not only Covington restaurants and bars known for their bourbon selections, as featured on Northern Kentucky's The B-Line, but also the city at large to an international audience."
Details about Kentucky's Edge and a map of its locations can be found at the event's website, HERE.
In addition to the conference itself, which takes place Saturday at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, the primary locations in Covington are:
  • A free music festival both days at 202 Madison Ave. (the parking lot across from RiverCenter).
  • The Smoke Justis Block Party (with music) both days at Third and Court streets.
  • And the Duke Energy Artisan Market and concerts in MainStrasse Village's George Steinford Park (the median on Sixth Street), also on both days.
The amber wave
Why bourbon?
About 95 percent of the world's supply of bourbon is made in Kentucky, which has an inventory of 7.5 million barrels - almost two barrels for every Kentucky resident.
According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, it's a $8.6 billion industry that generates over 20,000 jobs a year in the Commonwealth. "Bourbon tourists" made a record 1.4 million stops to Kentucky distilleries in 2018 - an increase in attendance of 370 percent in the last 10 years.
These visits were primarily to distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. Seven Covington establishments are featured on The B-Line, which can be found HERE.
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