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image via Kentucky Bourbon Festival

To hear old-timers talk about the very first Kentucky Bourbon Festival in 1991, you’d never think it was the same event that now draws 50,000 visitors to a small town like Bardstown, Kentucky—home to 13,000.

In a recent interview I had with Jimmy Russell, Wild Turkey master distiller, he described what basically was a humble garden party during the day, followed by a sit-down dinner that night.

“It was basically some distilleries with card tables and tents set up outside, and all we had were whiskey samples to hand out,” Russell…

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