Bowling Green's Gem
Often, we miss what we're seeking, to chase what is popular. I myself am guilty and often fall prey to the same mentality when seeking to visit a winery or brewery. While on Instagram, I stumbled upon a simple picture of a watering hole and it reminded me of something a friend once said to me; "People travel the world to see amazing landscapes and there are ton's in Kentucky". At the time, I thought he was just hating because he couldn't go to The Falls. However, after seeing this picture this thought occurred to me that I should check out the local breweries and wineries in and around my own hometown. I will admit, however, the very thought of it made me apprehensive.
It was not unknown to me that the list would be a vastly limited one. Just how small surprised even me. After going over the extremely small list, I pondered to myself what the odds were that these small businesses offered tours or that they were even relevant enough to be considered a brewery. In hindsight, I was being a winery/brewery snob and basing my opinions on all of the more mainstream popular facilities I had toured in the past. I continued to look over the extremely small list, again hoping I had missed something or that the list would magically expand before my eyes. Of course, neither of the two happened. It was from this that I up and picked from the limited but promising selection and decided to go a different route...checking out a distillery.
I had never been to a distillery up to this point. It's no secret that Kentucky is not especially known for its wine or craft beer, but rather for it's bourbon. Naturally, it just made sense, with myself being born and raised in the bourbon state, to finally visit a place that makes it. I quickly became pumped about it and reserved a tour for Corsair Distillery. I had never heard of or read about Corsair. More than likely this is due to seeing ads and hearing about Kentucky's more obvious, well-known favorites in the bourbon industry; heavy hitters such as Jim Beam and Maker's Mark which are so widely popular that frequently people come from around the world to tour these facilities.
Located on Main Street in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Corsair is inside the Pushin office building which in and of itself has an interesting history. The building itself used to be a department store that was once owned by Sam Pushin, a Russian Jew, who came to Warren County around the turn of the last century, when horses, wagons and buggies were still the mode of transportation.
When I entered the Pushin building, the first thing I noticed was a silhouette of three men above the Corsair Distillery sign. To me, I prematurely believed this set the tone for an upscale vibe. However, it was quite the opposite. As I walked in the hardwood floors, low lighting and lounge area made me feel as if I was walking into a Speakeasy. The ambiance had me amazed. I was really pumped for my tour now! Walking around the tasting room I noticed an array of vodkas, scotch whiskey and bourbon. I noticed the names on the bottles were a bit odd with ingredients such as quinoa, pumpkin spice and centennial hops...but I will get back to this unique display later on.
Andrew Webber and Derek Bell own Corsair Distillery and reside in Tennessee. To most it would seem the wise decision would be to open a distillery in the owner's hometown, or, at the very least, their own home state. Unfortunately, distilling in Tennessee did not become legal until 2010, thus making Kentucky Corsair Distillery's official home. The future owners were ready to move forward with there passion and dream and opened the distillery in Bowling Green in 2008. They celebrated its 10th anniversary in Bowling Green this year. When the law changed in 2010 allowing distilling in Tennessee finally, Corsair Distillery opened a location in Nashville and now have two locations, one of which even makes craft beer.
Andrew Webber traveled abroad to learn as much as possible about distilling whiskey. While traveling, he spotted a very creative and different approach for the Corsair logo. You have to visit Corsair Distillery to find out more about their cool design. It's one of many interesting perks of the tour.
For me what makes Corsair in Bowling Green so different and engaging is its location, its sophisticated ambiance and the mere five employees that do all the labeling and bottling by hand in a docking area the size of a small convenient store. This gives the inspiration that anything is possible.
The company is part of the official bourbon trail and, me being a novice to good bourbon, I was excited about my first bourbon tour and tasting. Stay tuned for the tour and Corsair's interesting variety of distilled spirits.