Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best of the day: Tampa's Orpheum brings its own Evan Williams barrel-aged bourbon to Ybor City

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 7:30 AM

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  • The Orpheum

What happens when barrel-aged bourbon collaborates with a classic Tampa concert venue? Magic in a glass of course.

Historic Tampa concert venue, the Orpheum, recently teamed up with Kentucky-based distillery Evan Williams (Heaven Hill) to bring one special barrel of bourbon to Ybor City.

"There is only one barrel of this bourbon," Dufrain told CL last week. "The most we will get from one barrel is 124 bottles. It's a ten-year-old bourbon, put in oak in 2003 and pulled out and bottled on November 8, 2013."

The idea came about when owner Jerry "Lazy' Dufrain and his wife took a trip to the Kentucky bourbon trail.

"The majority of the world's bourbon is all made within in one hour of each other in Kentucky," Dufrain told CL last week. "We tasted all these different bourbons. Heaven Hill's Evan Williams struck me the most."

While touring Heaven Hill's Evan Williams distillery, they learned about a program where you can purchase a barrel of aged bourbon and have it bottled, and specially labeled. Because of the barrel-aging process, no two barrels will taste alike. Each barrel of bourbon is totally unique.

"It's got the Orpheum, Tampa and Ybor City right on the sticker," Dufrain said. "It's special for us and our customers."

Each barrel has a limited number of bottles, and Dufrain expects they'll sell out of bottles soon (you can buy a bottle of to take home). Bottles arrive this week to the Orpheum.

The barrel required a significant investment on his part, one Dufrain is certain of "even if it means drinking all this bourbon over a lifetime. I like it and it's worth it. But I think we will sell out before that happens."

"It's cool for our business, cool for Ybor City, and it's a really fine bourbon," Dufrain said. "We get to say, we have this bourbon and you can't get it anywhere else."

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