Executive Bourbon Steward


This level of certification provides classroom training, hands-on bourbon distilling, and advanced sensory training for owners, managers, program directors, and team leaders of hospitality establishments, as well as advanced enthusiasts. Learning outcomes are designed to give the Executive Bourbon Steward a real working knowledge of bourbon and bourbon production so that he or she can successfully train and support a staff of Certified Bourbon Stewards and advance the bourbon experience the establishment offers. This certification level is offered for individual membership, as well.


    • Day-long workshop

    • Classroom training

    • Hands-on distilling

    • Advanced sensory training

    • In-class exam


To provide a standardized bourbon education, along with the tools and techniques to further participants’ study and understanding of bourbon; to strengthen participants’ skills in guiding their staff in various aspects of Bourbon Stewardship and customer relations; to provide training and materials which will allow participants to develop and expand in-house bourbon programs, and build bourbon lists to grow sales.


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.

    • Explain the basic science of the distillation process.

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

    • Identify Kentucky’s heritage brands and which distilleries produce them.

    • Identify basic differences in proof, age and mashbill in a blind sensory evaluation.

    • Build a flight of 3 bourbons, demonstrate the relationship among the products, and describe their characteristics and nuances.

    • Understand the distillation and aging aspects of bourbon.

    • Use their hands-on knowledge of bourbon production to train and answer advanced questions from consumers.

    • Perform advanced sensory of bourbon and be able to walk their staff and consumers through how to conduct bourbon tastings.

    • Facilitate Certified Bourbon Stewards’ training.



Bourbon 101 covers 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.

Distilling & Aging 101 is a hands on walk-through of the bourbon-making process where each class will actually distill bourbon. This section not only goes over the process for the managers but how to explain the different steps to consumers and how each step affects the overall product.

Advanced Bourbon Sensory Training breaks down and examines the array of aroma and flavoring components of bourbon and how specific decisions during the production process determine those attributes.

Flight Building dives into how to conduct a sensory evaluation of bourbon and how to walk staff and consumer alike through the process. Assessing the customer efficiently “on the run” and making recommendations according to cues are also covered here.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Proficiency covers the distilleries and brands on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (KBT) experience. Students will build familiarity with the products and locations of attractions in order to advise guests and answer questions.


Students must pass in-class exam and complete flight building exercise.


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

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