Gov. Steve Beshear hosted a media reception Wednesday night for those in town to cover the vice-presidential debate, offering visitors the opportunity to sample Kentucky bourbon and taste food grown in the state.
“This is obviously an exciting time for Danville,” Beshear said. “This is a great time for us to market Kentucky to the world.”
He hoped the reception and tonight’s debate will help highlight some of the aspects of Kentucky that sometimes are overlooked.
Specifically, Beshear wants people to know more about the Kentucky that has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation and has been ranked in Forbes magazine as one of the best places to do business.
According to Mike Mangeot, commissioner of the Department of Travel and Tourism, the overall price tag for the reception was about $35,000; however, there were many sponsors to help cover the majority of the cost.
“That shows the value that this has,” Mangeot said.
Members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association were set up, offering samples. Bobby Burke, with Bulleit Distilling Co., explained that the majority of the distillers in the association enjoyed helping with events like this, because it helps the industry.
“There’s no animosity here; all the distillers are big friends,” Burke said.
Jared Summers of Jim Beam agreed, saying, “We’re pleased to be included in one of the great events the commonwealth is putting on.”
Events like the reception don’t happen easily, according to Mangeot.
“It took a lot of patience and cooperation,” he said.
Mangeot explained they had to estimate the number of attendees, based on numbers from the 2000 debate. That’s the hardest part in planning these events, he says, the not knowing how many will really arrive.
Beshear promised attendees that tonight’s debate will be a great event, saying, “If you thought 2000 was big, wait until tomorrow night.”
He also had some advice for visitors on the best place to get bourbon.
“Ninety-five percent of the world’s bourbon comes from Kentucky. The other 5 percent is counterfeit,” Beshear said.