When Michael Erwin traveled to all seven distilleries on the Bourbon Trail throughout south central Kentucky last February, he realized he didn’t want it to end.
After searching unsuccessfully for a local club, Erwin decided to create his own. He started first with a Facebook group called “The Evansville Bourbon Society” before a surge of popularity convinced him to take the group offline last June.
With no model to follow in Indiana, Erwin proceeded with caution, consulting the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and the Vanderburgh Prosecutor’s Office. Because the society tastes bourbon at its meetings, Erwin says they have to be careful to not be considered serving it, which would violate the state’s tax revenue laws. To stay in compliance with the law, the Evansville Bourbon Society must be a private club and accepts members by invitation only.
The society meets every other month and hosts distillers and brand ambassadors, who give a short presentation and come bearing bourbon. Erwin says the society, which currently has 26 paid members, spends 10 to 15 minutes tasting a half-ounce or less pour each from one of four bottles of bourbon brought to each meeting.
Erwin says he hopes to expand the society’s membership to 75 this year. The annual membership costs $25, and a charter membership is $100, which includes an EBS polo shirt and engraved tasting glass.
For more information on the Evansville Bourbon Society, email Michael Erwin at Michael@michaelerwin.net or visit the group’s Facebook page.