Northern Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Project

Bourbon barrels + original artwork + solar lighting + NKY city streets =


Project Overview


You sponsor a barrel. The cost is $1,200 ($1,000 for NKY Chamber members), which includes artist, materials, invitations to the unveiling party, transport and placement of barrel at designated location.



Solar lighting is added to the barrel to light it from within. The artist will cut holes or shapes into the barrel to let the light shine out.



You are matched with an artist, who will work with you on the design. The artist's fees and materials are included in the sponsorship price.



The barrels will be debuted at the Unveiling Party and Bourbon Toast event at Newport on the Levee.



The artist paints the barrel in the design you approved. The barrels will be protected from the elements with a clear finish.



Just in time for Kentucky's Edge and BLINK, the barrels will be placed in the business and entertainment districts. They will remain there for 1 year to provide art and wayfinding, while reflecting our KY heritage.



June 1 - July 15

Sponsorships are sold. Please go to the Sponsor a Barrel page for more info and to secure your barrel.

Ongoing until July 26

Artists are matched with sponsors. Your artist will work with you to create a barrel design that you love. Your business name will be hand painted on the barrel or you can have a custom zinc plaque etched with your business name and logo and attached to the barrel.

August 2

Deadline for sponsor approval of artist design.

August 2 - September 7

Artists complete the painted designs. Barrels are delivered to our designated space at Newport on the Levee. Barrels are finished with a protective clear sealer and the lighting component is installed. 

Thursday October 3 from 4 pm - 6 pm

Unveiling Party and Bourbon Toast

Sponsors and artists will come together on the evening before the Kentucky's Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival begins. The barrels will be debuted and toasted with New Riff Kentucky bourbon. In addition to the toasts, refreshments will be provided, along with a cash bar.

October 4, 2019 - September 2020

The barrels will be placed in the entertainment and business districts of NKY as public art and wayfinding. "Just follow the barrels to something fun to do!"

After September 2020

The barrels will be relocated to wherever the sponsors designate, among available options (TBD).


Bourbon and Northern Kentucky

Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon and the spirit is a huge economic driver in the commonwealth, generating $8.5 billion dollars annually and supporting 17,500 jobs. In November of 2017, Northern Kentucky received the designation of “Official Gateway” to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.


NKY’s convention and visitors’ bureau, meetNKY, spearheaded the development of the B-Line, a self-guided tour of some of the area’s best bourbon-focused distilleries, bars and restaurants. A list of all the locations included on the B-Line can be found at NKY’s success with bourbon is being recognized nationally, with five of our establishments listed in Bourbon Review magazine’s Top Bourbon Bars in America.


On October 4th and 5th of this year, a new event, Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival, will debut. Organizers expect it to draw hundreds of attendees from all 50 states and several international countries to learn about and experience bourbon, NKY-style.


Our primary goal for the NKY Bourbon Barrel Project is to use the artistically decorated barrels to reference Kentucky’s distilling heritage, as well as amplify the amazing bourbon-related events and locations in our region.


We invite you to be part of this exciting movement!

About the Event Organizers

About the NKY Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber’s mission is to promote and support the development of strong businesses and a vibrant economy in the Northern Kentucky region, through leadership and advocacy, resulting in a better quality of life for all.


About the Catalytic Fund

The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky (the Catalytic Fund) is a private sector, not-for-profit organization providing financing assistance and related services for developers of quality residential and commercial real estate projects in Northern Kentucky’s urban cities of Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, and Dayton. Its mission is to accelerate Northern Kentucky’s urban renaissance through with a three-pronged strategy: financial investment, development services and vibrancy initiatives.


Please contact Jill Morenz, Director of Community Initiatives and Communications for the Catalytic Fund

Email:     Phone: (859) 757-0519