Inaugural NKY Cocktail Classic extends Bourbon Heritage Month to decide Best Bartender on B-Line

What better way to celebrate “America’s Native Spirit” than with a few cocktails, some friendly competition, and a celebration.

Three Spirits Tavern and The B-Line® invite bourbon enthusiasts from across the region to indulge in the first-ever Northern Kentucky (NKY) Cocktail Classic.

From 2 to 9 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 9, at Three Spirits Tavern, 209 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, the NKY Cocktail Classic is the culmination of a month-long competition among bartenders at stops along The B-Line®.

The winner-take-all event will have the attending crowd determine who will take home the title of Best Bartender on The B-Line®.

“I got the idea for this competition after participating in Alchemy Fest and Louisville and Lexington already host similar events,” said the owner of Three Spirits Tavern and organizing partner of the competition Charlie Zimmerman. “The goal with this was to start small this year just to get our feet wet and work through logistics. Then, next year we want to do it bigger and better at a much larger venue such as Turfway.”

The only requirement for the cocktail competition was to create a drink leveraging TAO Bitters from a small, Cincinnati-based business and Kentucky bourbon. Sales of the cocktails throughout September helped to promote the drinks leading up to the event. The bartender who sold the most cocktails from their bar received an invite to the classic.

Attendees will vote for the top four bartender concoctions to advance to the finals and be voted on by a panel of judges. The winner of the classic will receive a cash prize and the winning bar will receive a barrel head to signify their win.

“Here in Kentucky, we love a good competitive race almost as much as we love our bourbon,” said meetNKY President and CEO Julie Kirkpatrick. “Crowning the Best Bartender on The B-Line® seems like a natural way to continue celebrating September’s National Bourbon Heritage Month. I’m sure the competition will be stiff, but we’re excited to meet bourbon fans from across the region who will join us for this celebration of history, heritage and culture of ‘The Bourbon State.’”

In addition to the drinks, the event will also feature a food court from some favorite local restaurants. Adding to the fun, the Trailer Park Floosies will perform as those in attendance enjoy the best bourbon cocktails around in celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month.

First introduced in early 2018, The B-Line® was created to help capture the millions of bourbon-curious people who travel along I-75 or fly into CVG Airport annually to visit Kentucky’s famed Bourbon Trail™. The line is comprised of five distilleries – Boone Country Distilling Co., New Riff Distilling, Neeley Family Distillery and The Old Pogue Distillery – all of which are also on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. It also includes eight bourbon bars named The Best Bourbon Bars in America by The Bourbon Review and six bourbon-centric restaurants. All 19 stops are located throughout Covington, Newport, Independence, Sparta, Augusta and Maysville, Kentucky. A complete list of stops can be found on The B-Line’s website.

Tickets for the Northern Kentucky Cocktail Classic include a “sipping shot glass” to sample the cocktails in the competition and a special attendee gift. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online at

For more information on The B-Line® and the various events and specials for National Bourbon Heritage Month, visit To learn more about meetNKY, visit

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