Drink Local Kentucky Blog

Sharing Our Love for Local Beer

Hi. I’m Justin McDonald, founder of Drink Local Kentucky and Drink Local Florida. I created this community and source of information because I love bourbon and craft beer, and I love the Bluegrass State. Bringing this all together to support the growth of the industry, as well as tourism and commerce in the state of Kentucky is the primary goal. I’ve toured, or at least visited and drank at, several breweries and even more distilleries in Kentucky. I no longer live in Kentucky but continue to vacation and visit with family and friends all over the Bluegrass State, and frequent the local distilleries, wineries and craft breweries every  chance we get. Here's a little more background on where this inspiration and lifestyle came from:

In 2009 I took a trip through Europe with many stops in Germany. I loved how each location I visited brewed one to several varieties of beer right in town, it was typically 1 Euro per liter, cheaper than beers sold in the United States. In each town I would get the local German bier, and in one stop, Köln (or Cologne), it was the first time I had a fresh, locally fermented Kölsch. This completely changed my perspective and preconceived notion that beer needed to be dark, amber or hoppy to be considered a “good beer.” Früh was the first Kölsch I tried. Here's a picture I took on my visit to the Cölner Hofbräu Früh bierhaus in Köln, Germany:

Fruh Kolsch
After learning in Köln that Kölsch style beer didn’t export well, that it needed to be enjoyed locally and soon after brewing, I thought about whether this beer, that was so fitting for the summer in Kentucky, would be available back home. Kentucky had some craft breweries at the time, but it wasn’t a hyper-local, brewery-per-town culture like I enjoyed for those 10 days in Germany.

There are of course historical and cultural differences that facilitated the variety of breweries in Germany. While I didn’t expect this in the U.S., I was still jealous. But luckily the craft brew industry in Kentucky, and nationwide, has enjoyed incredible growth. Craft breweries and brewpubs continue to pop up all over the state. This is on top of already established winery and vineyard tourism, and of course Kentucky bourbon, with locations rooted in sources of pristine, limestone filtered, calcium-rich water.

Today there are several places where you can even find a Kentucky-brewed Kölsch, as well as some amazing Kentucky IPAs, lagers and other styles of beer. Kentucky’s beer culture is vastly different than Germany’s, and it's not as big as Bourbon, but Kentucky beer culture, brewers, variety and selection has grown leaps and bounds since that trip over a decade ago. The craft beer revolution is a truly great thing, both for Kentucky’s economy and its state residents.

This craft beer revolution, along with an interest in distilleries and wineries that stay true to Kentucky’s history and use of our state’s natural resources, is what inspired the creation of Drink Local Kentucky℠.
That’s what Drink Local Kentucky is all about, so Join us and Share Your Love for all Local Libations!

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The Drink Local Kentucky Blog is a collection of information and events on all things related to the bourbon and spirits, craft brewery and wine scene in the state of Kentucky.