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Woodford Reserve Uncorks Special Edition Bourbon Bottle for 2018 Kentucky Derby

woodford reserve kentucky derby bottle
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s that time of the year again, when an entire day’s — nay a week’s — worth of celebrations boils down to two minutes of actions. That’s right, sports fans, it’s time for the Kentucky Derby and with that, it’s time for Kentucky Derby-related everything.

We’ve got you covered on mint juleps and on how to bet on the Derby , but we’re looking here specifically at this year and how Woodford Reserve, the official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby, is commemorating the event: with a special edition bottle of their bourbon. (This is the nineteenth iteration, for all those keeping count.)

This year, the bottle art was designed by a Brown-Forman employee, Keith Anderson. The bottle features powerful thoroughbreds as they leaving the starting gate, alive in the glory of their colorful racing silks.

Anderson, who has worked at the private dining room, Bourbon Street Café, at Brown-Forman headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, has been an artist since he was a child. While not a full-time artist, he sold paintings to fund his tuition at Murray State University and then the University of Louisville. At a company party in 2017, he told the senior vice president of Brown-Forman, Mark Bacon, that he could be as good, if not better than, the national artists that Woodford Reserve has used in previous years.

Keith Anderson: Kentucky Derby Bottle Artist

“Sometimes we overlook the very talent that’s right in front of us,” Bacon said. “We are deeply honored to start this new partnership with Churchill Downs – and to celebrate it with the beautiful artwork of Keith Anderson.”

Anderson called having his work featured “a dream come true.”

The 2018 Kentucky Derby Bottle hit shelves nationwide in March with a suggested retail price of $43.99. It can also be purchased online at Reserve Bar for $54.

If you really want to blow your Kentucky Derby experience out of the water, you can up your game by purchasing one of Woodford Reserve’s $1,000 Mint Julep Cups. (There’s also a $2,500 version if a grand isn’t expensive enough for you).

woodford reserve kentucky derby bottle glasses
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The $1,000 “Bluegrass Cup” features polished sterling silver rose applications and is plated in 18-karat yellow gold. The $2,500 “Commonwealth Cup” is a sterling silver cup with a 24-karat heavy reliquary quality gold plating, with sterling silver details.

This year’s cup was created with the theme “Best of Kentucky” in mind. It features:

  • The Twin Spires of Churchill Downs, a nod to Woodford Reserve’s inaugural year as the Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby
  • Lines that run around the cup that represent one of the key ingrdients in Woodford Reserve, limestone-filtered water (it’s also important in producing a champion horse, too).
  • Three sterling silver applications: a thoroughbred horse and jockey, a bottle of Woodford Reserve, and a rose (it is called the “Run for the Roses,” after all).

Each cup will be presented in a wooden box lined with silk (like those worn by the jockeys).

All proceeds from the $1,000 Mint Julep Cup are benefiting the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund, which is dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations, with the ultimate goal of delivering arts access, education, and excellence opportunities.

If you’re looking to purchase one of these cups, you’d better hurry; only 90 Bluegrass cups and 15 commonwealth cups were made. They can be pre-ordered here and be picked up at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Any unsold cups will be made available for purchase day-of.

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
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