The USBG Lux Row Distillers Bourbon Battle Competition Launches

March 13, 2019

Cocktail Competition Calls for Entries and Invites Mixologists Across the U.S. to Compete

(St. Louis, Mo.) March 13, 2019–Entries are now being accepted for the USBG Lux Row Distillers Bourbon Battle Cocktail Competition. Mixologists from across the U.S. are invited to submit their best cocktail recipe using Rebel Yell® Kentucky Straight Bourbon or Ezra Brooks® Kentucky Straight Bourbon as the base spirit. Half of the semifinal competitors will compete using Rebel Yell and its ‘wheated’ mash bill, while the other half will compete using Ezra Brooks and its ‘ryed’ mash bill. The competition will focus on the battle between ‘wheated’ versus ‘ryed’ and how the different mash bills lend themselves to the cocktails.

The top scoring competitor in each semifinal competition will earn the opportunity to attend the 2019 Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky, and a private tour of Lux Row Distillers, in addition to competing in the final competition phase. The top scoring finalist will earn an extended education in the art of the barrel select by being offered the ability to choose their favorite after tasting a variety of bourbon barrels stored at the distillery. Once they select their favorite, a custom-made label will be created and they will receive 60 bottles of their private selection of Kentucky’s finest.

Cocktail entries will be accepted until April 3 for Cleveland and St. Louis. April 24 for Louisville and Kansas City, and May 8 for Seattle and Cincinnati. A panel of expert USBG (United States Bartenders’ Guild) application evaluators will narrow down the entries to 10 semifinalists for each of the six competition cities: St. Louis, Missouri.; Kansas City, Missouri.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Seattle, Washington; and Louisville, Kentucky.

At the six semifinal events, participants will each have seven minutes to make their cocktails live for four judges, and drinks will be judged on appearance, aroma, creativity, taste and overall impression. Judges – who will include USBG professionals, bourbon and cocktail experts and local media personalities – will determine one finalist at each semifinal event. The finalists will earn an educational opportunity, which includes attending the 2019 Kentucky Bourbon Festival, where they will compete in the final round of the competition.

A crowd-favorite cocktail, as voted on by the audience, will also be determined at each semifinal event.
The six semifinalists will advance to the final competition at Lux Row Distillers, during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September. There, the finalists will compete in three rounds of competition in order to name the champion. The first round competitors will once again create their cocktails live for the judging panel. The second round they will create a cocktail using the opposite bourbon they first competed with and then the third round will be a lightning round where competitors will create a cocktail on the fly with mystery ingredients.

Online applications are now being accepted for semifinal event consideration. Entrants can submit their cocktail recipes using the official USBG Lux Row Distillers Bourbon Battle Application.
The competition is open to all U.S. bartenders. Full competition rules and regulations can be found HERE.

Semifinal Competitions

  • Cleveland, OH: May 7
  • St. Louis, MO: May 14
  • Louisville, KY: May 28
  • Kansas City, MO: June 11
  • Seattle, WA: June 25
  • Cincinnati, OH: July 9

Final Competition

  • Kentucky Bourbon Festival at Lux Row Distillers in Bardstown, KY: September 19

The USBG Lux Row Distillers Bourbon Battle is organized by the United States Bartenders’ Guild and sponsored by Lux Row Distillers. This is the competition’s inaugural year.

Real roots, real family, real products: Lux Row Distillers – a bourbon distillery experience on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail – is a family-owned venture, bringing the Lux family history and spirits tradition to the bourbon industry. Lux Row Distillers is the home of Luxco’s bourbon brands, including Rebel Yell, Blood Oath, David Nicholson and Ezra Brooks Kentucky Straight Bourbons.

Located in the heart of Bardstown, Kentucky, the 18,000-square foot Lux Row Distillers includes a visitor center, barrel warehouses, a tasting room, and event space, making for an all-encompassing bourbon experience. The 90-acre property is home to an 18th century stone house – which is registered as a National Historic Place – and a long, tree-lined driveway providing a scenic entrance to the distillery.
For more information about the distillery, visit You can also like Lux Row Distillers on Facebook at or follow the distillery on Instagram @luxrowdistillers.

Founded in 1948, the United States Bartenders’ Guild® is a non-profit professional society of bartenders and other hospitality professionals uniting the hospitality community to advance professional bartending. The USBG believes that every US bartender achieves greater personal and professional success by connecting to diverse local and national hospitality communities. Through our network of over 40 communities nationwide, the USBG connects members with peer-to-peer learning, expert instruction, community service projects, and skills-based competition.

For more information, please contact: Pia Reinhold [email protected]

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly