The Filson Bourbon Academy™ is a brand-neutral program unique to The Filson.  Since its founding in 1884, The Filson has preserved the region’s collective memory, not only in Kentucky but also the Ohio Valley and Upper South.  The Filson continues to collect and tell significant stories of the region through its extensive research collections and educational programs. The Filson’s Bourbon Academy™ mission is centered on education and adding to our already internationally recognized archives and special collections of a product that is synonymous with Kentucky – Bourbon.

The Filson’s Bourbon Academy™ Partners:

Among The Bourbon Academy™ partners are The Bourbon Review, the Kentucky Distiller’s Association (est. 1880), The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Bourbon Country®, and The Urban Bourbon Trail.

Bourbon Review Logo

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bourbon The Filson’s Bourbon Historian, Michael Veach, has taught brand-neutral Filson Bourbon Academies – a one-day educational history, review of our special collections archives, and tasting – since 2009. The Bourbon Academy™ offers bourbon enthusiasts, historians, distributors, restaurants, hotels and professionals an in-depth educational background of the history and making of Kentucky bourbon along with hands-on opportunities to taste and compare bourbons with experts.

Upcoming Bourbon Academy™ Dates:

Ky Bourbon Affair

The Lane Report, a national online magazine, published an article on The Filson Bourbon Academy’s participation in the upcoming Kentucky Bourbon Affair May 14-18th.  Ever wonder what that dusty old bourbon bottle in your grandmother’s attic is worth? How about the history of a long-forgotten brand on a timeworn advertising sign in your basement?

On May 17th, American Liquors – Advice and Appraisals sponsored by The Filson Historical Society and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, will offer advice and appraisals on rare bourbon items as part of the inaugural showcase of America’s only native spirit.  To read the entire article i n The Lane Report, clock on the Kentucky Bourbon Affair logo to the right.

The One-Day Bourbon Academy™:

The one-day Academy is an eight hour class. Participants learn about the heritage of Bourbon Whiskey and have the opportunity to taste several different styles of Bourbon and other American Whiskeys. A typical Academy schedule includes:

  • Session 1: The Origins of Bourbon Whiskey
  • Session 2: Tasting Bourbon
  • Session 3: 19th Century Bourbon
  • Session 4: Tasting Tennessee Whiskey and Rye
  • Lunch Break
  • Session 5: Early 20th Century Bourbon and Prohibition
  • Session 6: Tasting Single Barrel and Small Batch Bourbons
  • Session 7: Post Prohibition to Present
  • Session 8: Blind Tasting and Graduation

Participants completing the one-day course are awarded with a Certification and eligible with a STAR certification to become a “Official Bartender of the Bourbon Trail.” Participants are also presented a Glencairn whiskey tasting glass and a booklet of sources for future study and reference. KyBourbonExp_Vertical

“WHAS Interview – Kentucky Bourbon Tasting Experience at 21c Museum Hotel April 29, 2014″

Michael Veach April 16, 2014

The Bourbon Academy™ Faculty:

Academy programs and events are led by Michael Veach, Filson Bourbon Historian. Since 1997, Michael has served on the staff of The Filson as a Special Collections Assistant, later moving to Associate Curator of Special Collections. In the past 20 years he has dedicated his time studying the distilling industry. In 2006 Michael was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame. Michael is the author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage (2013), which was praised by The Wall Street Journal, Courier-Journal, and other national media. He is currently completing a second book on bourbon tasting with former Courier-Journal columnist Susan Reigler.

The Filson Bourbon Academy™ offers:

  • A One-Day Bourbon Academy™
  • A Half-Day Bourbon Academy™
  • A Rare Bourbon Tasting and Discussion
  • Premium Bourbon Tasting and Discussion
  • Private Corporate Events
  • Private Staff Training for the Food and Beverage & Hospitality Industries
  • Customized Educational and Tasting Lectures for organizations and individuals involved directly or peripherally in the bourbon industry.

The Filson’s Bourbon Academy™ Geographic Scope:

National in scope, The Bourbon Academy™ is available throughout the United States and North America on a first come basis in terms of event scheduling. The Filson Historical Society expects to make the Academy available on an international basis in 2016-17. For more information about The Filson Bourbon Academy™, to schedule or host an event, please contact Michael Veach at (502) 635-5083 9:00am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time, or email