Commerce Lexington Spotlight

Thank you to Commerce Lexington for your partnership on this event!

Friday, November 15, 2019
8:00 a.m.
The Grand Reserve
903 Manchester Street, Suite 190, Lexington
Three authors will participate in a special Spotlight Breakfast featuring a bourbon-inspired brunch. The authors—Brian F. Haara, Linda Ruffenach, and Blair Thomas Hess—will offer their unique perspectives on this special spirit: from tasting it, to traveling for it, to writing about it. They'll discuss bourbon's implications culturally, socially, and economically in the Bluegrass and beyond. Guests will sample amazing recipes from Ruffenach’s How to Be a Bourdon Badass book. Gathan Borden of VisitLex will act as moderator.


Tickets required and available at Commerce Lexington or 859-254-4447
PARKING: Free parking is available at the venue on Manchester Street.
Brian F. Haara
Brian F. Haara

Brian F. Haara is a Louisville, Kentucky attorney who found a way to combine his passions for law, bourbon, and history. Discovery of the interplay between bourbon, law, and history led Brian to blogging as Sipp'n Corn®, which quickly developed into media credentials, collaboration with retailers to select private barrels, and ultimately to his first book, Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America.

Bourbon is responsible for the growth and maturation of many substantive areas of the law, such as trademark, breach of contract, fraud, governmental regulation and taxation, and consumer protection. In  Bourbon Justice, Haara delves into the legal behind one of America’s most treasured spirits to uncover a past fraught with lawsuits whose outcome, surprisingly perhaps, helped define a nation.

Blair Thomas Hess
Blair Thomas Hess

Blair Thomas Hess is a born-and-bred Kentuckian who resides in Frankfort, Kentucky with her daughter and her picture-taking, bourbon-collecting husband. Co-author Cameron M. Ludwick is a bookworm, trivia nerd, and former band geek who still relies on the survival skills she learned at Girl Scout camp to cope with nature. A Kentucky native, she now has bigger hair and lives in Texas. Together, these long-time friends travel across Kentucky exploring its various wonders and uncovering its best-kept secrets, sharing their secrets in the My Old Kentucky Road Trip books. 

Welcome to Kentucky, where bourbon barrels outnumber residents. After all, bourbon is Kentucky―its craftsmanship and flavors cannot be separated from the culture and history of the state. Discover that culture and history―and enjoy great food, fabulous drinks, and incredible people―on your own Kentucky bourbon road trip. The State of Bourbon showcases the region's finest distilleries as well as the local restaurants, hotels, parks, and adventures that every bourbon lover needs to experience. Bluegrass natives Cameron M. Ludwick and Blair Thomas Hess highlight some of their favorite stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the Urban Bourbon Trail, and the Craft Bourbon Trail, at stills and rick houses where the history and heritage of the nation's only native spirit come to life. Not just a trail or tasting guide, The State of Bourbon will lead you across Kentucky, through the history of the spirit, and into your own bourbon adventure.

Linda Ruffenach
Linda Ruffenach

Linda Ruffenach is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, and the founder of Whisky Chicks. She believes that sharing a glass of bourbon and learning about America’s native spirit are great common denominators to bring people together. Ruffenach takes pride in creating experiences that make learning about Kentucky bourbon approachable, fun, and informative. Her sense of community and commitment to paying it forward drive her to empower others to bring out their inner badass.

There is no right or wrong way to drink bourbon— in a cocktail, straight up, on the rocks, or with a splash of soda. You will never know which is your way until you try them all, and How to Be a Bourbon Badass will guide you on the path of your own bourbon adventure.

Gathan D. Borden, Moderator
Gathan D. Borden, Moderator

Gathan D. Borden is the Vice President of Marketing for VisitLEX, the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau. In this role, he oversees the advertising, branding, marketing, public relations, social media, visitor services and web strategies for the city of Lexington as it relates to travel and tourism. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2001, and in May of 2009, he received his Masters of Business Administration at Webster University. He is a board member of the U.S. Travel Association’s Destination Council Board of Advisors, the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, and an Advisory Council Member of the eTourism Summit. He is a graduate of the Ignite Louisville program at the Leadership Louisville Center, and he is a Commissioned Kentucky Colonel.

And given his love for bourbon, he is a founding member of the Kentucky Black Bourbon Guild, which seeks to honor the history of minority’s contributions to the bourbon industry and increase the representation of minority cultures in the spirits industry.