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Churchill Downs® Makes it “Official”

Louisville, KY, March 27, 2009 – Brown-Forman brands have returned to the starting gate for Kentucky Derby® 135. Woodford Reserve® Bourbon and Early Times® Mint Julep are this year’s “Official” whiskey products of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs® Derby-related events. As crown jewels in Kentucky’s illustrious history, the Kentucky Derby and the beloved whiskeys of the Bluegrass continue to mature side-by-side.

The Kentucky Derby has long been called the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” and tradition holds that the event be toasted with an ice cold Mint Julep made with Kentucky’s finest whiskey. A title bestowed on only a handful of brands, being an “Official” beverage or drink of the Kentucky Derby is an honor. Woodford Reserve Bourbon (for the 11th year) and Early Times Mint Julep (for the 22nd year) are ready to celebrate the Derby season. From black-tie dinners to parties at home, these fine brands make Derby celebrations even more special.

This year, Woodford Reserve’s award-winning small-batch bourbon is honoring the country’s favorite horse race with the release of its 2009 Kentucky Derby bottle. The art on this year’s limited-edition commemorative bottle was painted by former jockey Tom Chapman, who in his 20-year career had more than 2,600 wins and one Kentucky Derby ride (a 12th place finish aboard Hoedwon’s Day in 1981). Retiring in 1995, Chapman turned his passion of thoroughbreds to his lifelong love of painting. Using unique angles and vibrant colors, the bottle captures the vibrancy and intensity of the Kentucky Derby by featuring a close up of two jockeys riding in front of the famed Twin Spires with their heads down and focused on the task at hand.

No Derby is complete without an Early Times Mint Julep. This year, Early Times Mint Julep is celebrating its 22nd year as the “Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby.” Over the past 22 years, more than 2.5 million Early Times Mint Juleps have been served between Kentucky Oaks® and Derby Days at Churchill Downs, and more than 120,000 mint juleps are expected to be sold at the track this year. Renowned equine artist Celeste Susany is back this year celebrating her 10th year painting the artwork for Early Times Mint Julep commemorative bottle. Entitled “Dueling Towards Destiny”, this year’s bottle depicts two powerhouse horses in stride racing in the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” with the Derby crowd and famed Twin Spires in the background.

Brown-Forman Corporation is a producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Canadian Mist, Fetzer, Korbel, Gentleman Jack, el Jimador, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, Tuaca, Woodford Reserve and Bonterra.

Churchill Downs®, Kentucky Derby® and the Twin Spires design are registered trademarks of  Churchill Downs Incorporated. 

Brown-Forman Corporation, Louisville, KY © 2009

For Information Contact:
Andrea Duvall, Brown-Forman
[email protected]