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The Ohio River and the Birth of Bourbon 

VIP Discussion Forum - 5:45 PM 

Join Michael Veach, bourbon historian and author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage, in a VIP guests' discussion forum focused on the transportation of whiskey barrels over water in America’s early days.

Rivers and canals were our original superhighways. They moved whiskey from its origins to its port of destination and served to connect people across vast distances. Water travel was a means to connect emerging markets and blend culturally diverse populations. The communities of people that lived along these rivers were the ones that created and shared the recipes and distilling traditions for those early whiskeys. Learn how American whiskey became the refined spirit we enjoy today by literally floating along the course of our waterways.

In addition, taste 3 Pennsylvania whiskeys with Manatawny Still Works' chief distiller, Max Pfeffer. Manatawny Still Works takes its name from a creek near the distillery, which the native Lenape Indians called Man'en'tau'wata'wik, or "the place we meet to drink.” At last year’s American Whiskey Convention, Manatawny Still Works’ “Keystone Whiskey” won the 2019 American Small Grain Whiskey Award and their “Peated Straight Malt Whiskey” won the Whiskey Under 4 Years Award of Excellence. See how this distillery’s Pennsylvania whiskey shares common ground with early American whiskey styles and how they break modern traditions with their own new approaches to whiskey making. 

The "Slow" Process of Making Great Whiskey

Discussion Forum w/ Greg Metze and Larry Ebersold - 6:45 PM

Greg Metze- master distiller, Old Elk Distillery

Larry Ebersold- expert distiller

Join Greg Metze and Larry Ebersold as they describe their unique experiences in the American distilling industry. With nearly 90 years of combined industry experience, these two men have paved the way for a modern American whiskey renaissance. 

Larry Ebersold began working at Seagrams Distillery in Lawrenceberg, Indiana (today known as MGP) in 1972. Greg Metze began learning under Mr.Ebersold in 1978 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a BS in chemical engineering. The two worked alongside one another until Larry's retirement in 2010. Greg continued to run the facility as master distiller until his own retirement in 2016. Many of the whiskeys that we consider the best American whiskeys in the country were distilled at the Lawrenceberg Distillery in indiana and were created under the supervsion of these two men. Their contributions to the modern American whiskey boom can not be overstated. 


This discussion forum will focus on their experiences in a pre-whiskey boom era and give them the opportunity to explain what is important in creating excellent spirits. The building blocks of good whiskey, like the successful utilization of yeast in fermentation and the creation of a flawless distillate are of utmost importance. Greg Metze and Larry Ebersold will lead you through a tasting of Old Elk whiskeys to demonstrate their understanding of crafting a high quality spirit.