Certified Bourbon Steward


This level provides self-guided training for frontline hospitality workers of member establishments such as servers, bartenders, concierge and retail, as well as bourbon enthusiasts of every kind. Learning outcomes are designed to enable the participant to discuss bourbon confidently and accurately in a conversational manner, as well as assess the consumer’s preferences and make recommendations based on the consumer’s taste. Certified Bourbon Stewards must pass an online exam as well as a sensory evaluation facilitated by the establishment’s Executive Bourbon Steward.

This certification level is offered for individual membership, but is not required as a prerequisite to becoming an Executive Bourbon Steward.


    • Self-guided study (Handbook provided by establishment or purchased online by an individual)

    • Sensory training with Executive Bourbon Steward

  • Online exam


To create a standard base of bourbon knowledge in order to be able to discuss bourbon, to educate and advise patrons about the spirit, and to distinguish basic product profiles.


    • Students will be able to list the standards of identity for whiskey and for bourbon and be able to identify the differences between the two distillates.

    • Students will be able to explain the basic science of the distillation process.

    • Students will be able to define and explain the different bourbon classifications and Bottled in Bond, and be able to identify bourbons belonging to each class.

    • Students will be able to identify Kentucky’s heritage brands and which distilleries produce them.

    • Students will be able to identify basic differences in proof, age and mashbill in a blind sensory evaluation.

    • Students will be able to build a flight of 3 bourbons demonstrate the relationship among the products, and describe their characteristics and nuances.

    • Students will understand the distillation and aging aspects of bourbon.


Bourbon 101, a self-guided study (handbook), will briefly cover the basic history of whiskey in the United States, leading to the evolution of bourbon. From there the course will detail the technical aspects of whiskey classifications, the science of distilling and aging, and types and brands of bourbon.

An in-depth sensory analysis, self-guided or administered by an establishment Executive Bourbon Steward, will guide students through the flavor spectrum of bourbon while training the palate to recognize specific profiles.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Proficiency covers the distilleries and brands on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Students will build familiarity with these attractions in order to advise guests and answer questions.


Students must pass an on-line exam and sensory exam in order to receive credit for the course.


    • 100 – 90
    • A
    • 89 – 80
    • B
    • 79 and below
    • No Pass

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