The Perfect Kentucky Bourbon Trail Music Playlist for Fall

 

The Perfect Kentucky Bourbon Trail Music Playlist for Fall

Mint Julep Tours Bourbon Trail PlaylistYou’ve been planning this bourbon adventure for over seven months and the day has finally arrived. When the local TV weather gurus cheerfully share the picturesque forecast for the day, they seem to be talking directly to you. The cooler is packed and you’ve picked the right attire for a full day in Bourbon Country. You have maps, snacks, and blank Kentucky Bourbon Trail passports ready for their first stamp. All your bases are covered. But do you have the perfect Fall Bourbon Trail Playlist?

Do not make the rookie mistake of forgetting the tunes! On an average day visit to Kentucky distilleries (or horse farms, for that matter) your ride might cover over 225 miles of Kentucky highways, byways and backroads all during the course of an 11 hour stretch. In order to avoid those sleepy lulls between stops, you’ll need great music. Just like bourbon needs ice and Honest Abe needed Mary Todd, any good road trip needs a quality playlist!

But you must come prepared. Trust us, playing DJ on the fly is the most thankless and unappreciated gig in the tour business. Many Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers have heard the unrelenting chorus of boos when a wayward song flops with the audience on the bus. Allow us to make things a little bit easier for you with the 10 best songs for your Bourbon Trail road trip. Taking a bit from every beloved Kentucky genre, there should be a little something for everyone in this epic set of songs:


Take Me Back to Kentucky – Mickey Clark & The Blue Norther

A strong candidate for a modern day successor to our beloved state song “My Old Kentucky Home.” Sorry, ole Stephen Foster. This tune showcases everything there is to love about our state in 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Mickey Clark and his crew provide a little fiddle and a little get up and go while helping you out with the correct pronunciation of a few local towns you’ll be visiting like Versailles and Paris.

Listen Here!

S.O.B. – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

The perfect track to have on tap as you shift into drive and start motoring down I-65 South or I-64 East to your first stop. This song might have been written for the sole purpose of getting people excited to sample bourbon. S.O.B. comes complete with a chorus that will make you double check the odometer. Just remember, it is considered bad form to pull into the Jim Beam Distillery at 80 miles per hours.

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Satellite Radio – Steve Earle

A recent cut from the modern master of twang, Steve Earle’s lonesome song about a solo, late night drive will help those miles go by a little faster. Perfect for soaking up the scenery as you stare out your bourbon bus window.

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Holding Out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler

No bourbon trail playlist is complete without at least a little bit of over-the-top music coming straight from 1984. If so inspired, feel free to re-enact the scene in which an angry Kevin Bacon plays a high-stakes game of chicken with tractors in the movie Footloose. We guarantee everyone will be shouting along at top volume by the end of the song.

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Rebel Never Gets Old – David Bowie

We may have tragically lost the Thin White Duke earlier this year, but it turns out that a large number of his songs are perfect for back road adventures. Take this little known mashup of “Rebel Rebel” and “Never Get Old.” You’ll be tapping your fingers immediately after hearing that recognizable, iconic guitar riff. The song is almost perfectly crafted for driving west on US-60 through Shelby and Franklin Counties. Could Bowie have taken secret trips to Kentucky to seek inspiration for his legendary catalog? Anything is possible…

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Kentucky Woman – Neil Diamond

Raise a glass to toast the ladies of the Bluegrass! Sure, the 75-year old Diamond is about as Kentucky as the Statue of Liberty, but the man sure does sing a heartfelt ballad about the girls that shine with their own kind of light. Besides, how many states can you name that have number one singles written about their beloved belles? That’s what we thought. (If you need to pinch hit with a more rockin’ version, we also recommend the Deep Purple rendition of this song). 

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Eastbound and Down – Jerry Read

Eastbound and Down sits high on the list of greatest country road trip songs ever written. Read’s banjo is as relentless as his harmonies. Conveniently, the title provides loose directions for those who have gotten lost on the way to Maker’s Mark from Louisville. As a bonus, this song served as the theme from “Smokey and The Bandit”, so you and your crew can take turns pretending to be Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason.

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I’m on Fire- Town Mountain

You didn’t think there would be an entire list of music designed for driving through the Bluegrass without a full-fledged Bluegrass song, did you? This North Carolina-based band takes this cover of The Boss’ legendary song to a whole new level. The tune invokes images of every knob and holler in the region. This one is perfect for those pensive, reflective moments when you’re trying to decide on your favorite bourbon sample of the day. 

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Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show

Since we can’t seem to go an hour in any bar recently without hearing this great tune, we’ll bet a bucket of burgoo that at least one person on your bus knows every word to this song. And enthusiastically volunteers to sing it. Loudly. Enjoy this one while trekking down the winding road through Marion County as you seek out Bathtub Marys along the road side.

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All the Whiskey in Kentucky – Johnny Berry and the Outliers

The perfect song for the day’s end. Like any great country song, Berry covers love, loss and whiskey. As a bonus, this song name checks a number of bourbon brands ranging from Heaven Hill to Old Forrester to Wild Turkey. In other words, after a day in Bourbon Country, it may be the most relatable song out there!

Listen Here!

Check out all of these songs in one playlist below and be sure to head over to the
Mint Julep Tours YouTube Page for more great videos!

Did we miss a song? Let us know what’s on your Bourbon Trail Playlist on Twitter or Facebook. Allow us to plan your next Bourbon Adventure tour! Mint Julep Tours is the only dedicated tour company focused on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky we offer Custom and Public Bourbon Distillery Tours as well as unique Exclusive Experiences, Horse Farm Tours, Culinary Tours, and Louisville City Tours. As a truly one-of-a-kind tour and destination management company, Mint Julep Tours also offers transportation and event planning services with a focus on Special Events, Corporate Outings and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties.

Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House on the third floor of the Rivue Tower at 140 North 4th Street Suite 326, Louisville, KY 40202. 502-583-1433 Ext. 106.

Written by Phil Kollin – Mint Julep Tours Driver & Guide 

Bourbon’s Best Ambassador – Wild Turkey’s Jimmy Russell

Bourbon’s Best Ambassador – Wild Turkey’s Jimmy Russell

Distiller Jimmy Russell talks about bourbonOn a recent sunny afternoon at the Wild Turkey Visitor’s center, a guest and bourbon enthusiast was idly browsing the gift shop when he suddenly spotted Jimmy Russell. One of bourbon’s most recognizable faces was quietly perched in his usual spot – a tall stool right next to the far window. The excited guest dashed as fast as he could over to the stool in hopes of getting a photo, signature on a bottle or maybe an opportunity to chat with what passes as the equivalent of Kentucky bourbon royalty. As he approached Jimmy with an outstretched hand he said, “Mr. Russell, I don’t know whether to congratulate you on your recent milestone at Wild Turkey or your induction into the Hall of Fame!”

Jimmy flashed his wide signature grin and warmly replied “Thanks” with the slight southern drawl that comes from spending a lifetime in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. In that moment, Jimmy looked slightly bemused at the attention and, frankly, a little humbled. After all, in the remarkable 62 years since he first walked through the door at Ripy Brothers distillery (the Wild Turkey name would come later), he has likely seen it all, done most of it and won nearly every accolade that the industry has to offer. In fact, when he was honored with the Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame on September 14th, it was actually his second time as an inductee. The first came as a charter member of the Hall of Fame fifteen years ago. After all, there are Master Distillers, then there are Bourbon Legends, and then there is Jimmy Russell.

Celebrating “The Buddha of Bourbon”

As guests approach the Wild Turkey Distillery, they are treated to an amazing view of the Kentucky River, the distillery and warehouses atop a nearby hill, and a giant billboard installed in 2014 that invites you to “See the House that Jimmy Built.” The bourbon community is notorious for embellishing already tall tales and manufacturing over-the-top lore around historical figures such as Elijah Craig, George Remus and Cassius Clay (not that Cassius Clay). But all would agree that, in this case, it’s not overstating things to say that Jimmy Russell is largely responsible for the success of the Wild Turkey brand today.

On September 9th, 1954, Jimmy walked in the front door of the Ripy Brothers distillery and started as a quality control employee. Jimmy was looking to join the family trade by signing on to one of the four area bourbon distilleries in Lawrenceburg – Ripy Brothers, Old Joe, Old Prentice (today known as Four Roses), and Hoffman Distillery. Under Jimmy’s watchful eye as Master Distiller, a title he’s carried since the late 1960’s, Wild Turkey has grown from filling less than 80 bourbon barrels a day to nearly 600. Today there are over 600,000 barrels aging in over two dozen warehouses across the distillery grounds on the eastern edge of Anderson County. The brand’s line up has expanded from the ever faithful Wild Turkey 101, the only product offered up until the mid-1980’s, to nearly a dozen brands today.

A Wild Turkey by any other name…

A toast with master distiller and whiskey legend Jimmy RussellJimmy has seen four different ownership groups come and go. In this latest era of Wild Turkey, much of the growth has been facilitated by Campari Groups who purchased the distillery from Pernod Riccard in 2009. From the distillery building to the bottling room, staff is working overtime to keep pace with international demand for Wild Turkey in places like Japan and Australia. But Jimmy will be the first one to tell you that as much as things have changed at Wild Turkey, a great deal has stayed the exact same. For example, the staff beams with pride when talking about how the exact same yeast strain has been used for their bourbons for over 60 years. Wild Turkey also shuns GMO grains for traditionally grown corn and rye. There is no more precious word to the seasoned Master Distiller than “consistency”.

These days, Jimmy Russell has a little family help in distilling. His son Eddie Russell works closely with his father as Co-Master Distiller, a role to which he was promoted in 2015. As a boy who once grew up using the giant warehouses as his own personal playground, Eddie started at the distillery in 1981 by mowing lawns. The younger Russell, who likes to joke that he started practically yesterday, has been working at the distillery a mere 35 years. Eddie was honored in June for his service with a tool any distillery worker would drool over – a brand new copper whiskey thief from Vendome Copper and Brass Works. While the duo may not be the only active father/son combo in the bourbon industry, their nearly 100 years of combined experience under their collective belts makes them the most tenured.

Aging to perfection and showing no signs of slowing down

Jimmy Russell poses with a bottle of bourbonTwo years ago, the marketing folks at Wild Turkey decided to declare 2014 “The Year of Jimmy Russell.” A special Diamond Anniversary Bourbon with a high price tag was issued to commemorate this special milestone. But don’t mistake the celebration for a public ease into retirement. At nearly 82 years old, Jimmy still prefers to work six to seven days a week. As he’s fond of saying when asked, “I tell people when it becomes a job, I’ll retire.” It’s hard to miss Jimmy’s image today; his face is plastered on just about everything related to Wild Turkey except the label on the bottle. And, even then, the Russell name adorns their small batch collection “Russell’s Reserve.”

Back at the Wild Turkey visitor’s center, Jimmy was still in the chair hours later signing bottles with his silver Sharpie and answering questions from every angle of the Bourbon spectrum. Each question earned a thoughtful response, with Jimmy speaking slowly and deliberately. As the crowd around him grew, he poses for photo after photos. Three guests huddle in close and one ordered the group to, “Say Whiskey!” Jimmy Russell, flashing his big grin, says, “No, that’s Tennessee! We do bourbon around here. Say Bourbon!”

Mint Julep Tours offers an exclusive experience at the Wild Turkey Distillery as part of a Custom Tour. Guests visit a barrel warehouse where they receive a brief history and are shown the aging process, then travel to the Station Master’s House for a private tasting. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online today to get more information on this custom tour experience.

Written by Phil Kollin – Mint Julep Tours Driver & Guide 

 

Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

A Mint Julep Tours group visits Maker's Mark distillery where they dipped their own bourbon bottlesRecently, a guest suggested that our buses could benefit from a giant sign that reads: “We Do It All Y’All!” And while we prefer to keep our buses just the way they are, the passenger made a good point. When you spot a Mint Julep Tours bus crisscrossing the state, you may not realize that those onboard are often guests who have embarked on a made-to-order adventure. Did you know that Mint Julep Tours offers custom tours every day of the week and nearly every single day of the year? And that all of our custom tours are as unique as different batches of a tasty single-barrel bourbon? Maybe you’re interested in experiencing a bourbon tasting in the middle of a dimly-lit warehouse surrounded by thousands of barrels. Or perhaps a day that involves braving the zip lines at Louisville’s Mega Cavern and then traveling south to the Maker’s Mark distillery to tour, taste and dip a bottle in that signature red wax is more your speed. Or you might prefer an outing that combines a visit to a beautiful Kentucky thoroughbred horse farm, a leisurely upscale lunch in the town of Midway and then a stop to shop at the famed Zappos Shoe Outlet. In short, if you can imagine a specific, custom touring experience in Kentucky, Mint Julep Tours can make it happen! We are proud to be one of the top full service destination management companies in Kentucky. And the fun all begins with a phone call.

Midway was home to Kentucky's first railroadMany of the calls to Mint Julep Tours start out the same way. An excited voice on the other end of the line makes an enthusiastic yet cautious and curious declaration: “I want do the Bourbon Trail!” Each and every custom tour booking starts with a detailed conversation with one of our coordinators. Many first-time visitors to the area have endless questions based on bits of information they’ve read, a detailed inspection of our Trip Advisor reviews or second-hand stories from friends who have taken similar treks to The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® , Horse Farms, Louisville and beyond. Our staff’s first priority is to fill in those knowledge gaps and better understand the precise type of outing our guests want to experience. From bachelor/bachelorette parties to corporate outings and everything in between, Mint Julep Tours can accommodate groups of all sizes by creating a tour with the right itinerary, length, style and tone.

Photo of a Mint Julep Tours bus at a distilleryOne common pitfall among visitors is learning the hard way that Kentucky’s geography and state routes can be a touch confusing (just ask anyone who has attempted to travel to Loretto, KY without a quality map), and the perceived distances between major distilleries are sometimes much greater than anticipated. When you book a custom tour with Mint Julep Tours, we make sure that you don’t end up spending more time in the bus than you do at the distilleries. We also work to ensure that your planned stops are the best fit for your crew. With nearly two dozen top-notch bourbon distilleries scattered throughout the state, it can be a daunting process to choose the best options for you. Those who have a soft spot in their heart for Booker’s bourbon may be surprised to learn that the product is distilled at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. Or maybe you want to up your dinner game and enjoy a private dinner in the Stone Room at Captain’s Quarters located smack dab on the Ohio River. We can even set up private bourbon tastings for groups ranging in size from 5 to 500! But custom tours with Mint Julep Tours are so much more than just bourbon.

Over the last eight years, our buses have logged more miles on Kentucky interstates, highways and back roads than we can count. We’ve created experiences for guests at the iconic Keeneland Racecourse just outside of Lexington, sessions at The Knob Creek Gun Range and scheduled visits to both the Independent Stave Cooperage in Lebanon, KY and the Brown-Forman Cooperage next door to the Louisville International Airport. Kentucky is home to everything from Mammoth Cave to the National Corvette Museum to Abe Lincoln’s Childhood Home – all places you can visit on a Mint Julep Tours excursion as part of a custom tour.

Statue at Falls of the OhioIn 2015, Louisville was named among the “Friendliest Cities in America” by Travel + Leisure Magazine and we’ve helped guests experience that first hand. We’ve booked reservations at iconic Churchill Down’s Turf Club and set up tours at new attractions making waves like brandy distillery Copper & Kings. Mint Julep Tours can take you to the Falls of The Ohio State Park, Schimpff’s Confectionery, Bourbon Barrel Foods or we can even take you bowling at Vernon Lanes! If you want to go even further off the beaten path, we’ve set up Segway Races (complete with obstacle course, of course) and scavenger hunts that will have your group scurrying madly across town. Our staff can suggest the perfect restaurants and hotel as well as book reservations when needed. If you’re more interested in exploring some of the best Louisville has to offer, you’ll be hard pressed to find a staff that knows Derby City better.

A custom adventure with Mint Julep Tours is so much more than just bus a ride around Kentucky. Combine the strength of a custom tour with our professional, knowledgeable and award-winning Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers, and you’ve got the recipe for one amazing day…or maybe more! We may book tours, but we specialize in creating custom experiences and one-of-a-kind memories. And that’s why we believe “the purpose of fun is to have some.” Want to get started? The fun starts with a phone call to Mint Julep Tours today.

As one of Kentucky’s top destination management company, Mint Julep Tours can create an itinerary for the perfect custom. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online today to begin planning your adventure.

Vendome Copper & Brass Works – Crafting Custom Copper Stills for over 100 Years

Vendome Copper & Brass Works – Crafting custom copper stills for over 100 years

The smiling tour guide at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience stopped walking and gestured to a shining structure displayed prominently on the other side of the glass. “And this is our copper pot still,” she beamed proudly. “This critical component of our artisanal distillery can produce around a barrel of bourbon a day.” Her smile widened as her cheery tone took on just a hint of bragging. “And it was custom made just for us by the Vendome Company.” Similar scenes play out countless times across The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® and beyond. One common name that you’ll find at more and more bourbon distilleries is the one that’s imprinted on the face of their stills, tanks and other distilling equipment: Louisville’s own Vendome Copper and Brass Works.

Vendome Copper & Brass WorksVendome’s headquarters and manufacturing facility is a sprawling urban set up that is surprisingly easy to miss. Located just two blocks off busy Main Street and less than 300 feet from Thomas Edison’s 1866 Kentucky residence, Vendome Corp’s five buildings sit snugly between a city skate park and an imposing Ohio River Flood Wall. The manufacturer is almost always bustling with activity these days. The sound of constant hammering, pounding, and grinding of various components echoes across the street, while workers sporting shirts with the logo “The Power of Our Stills” move swiftly from one building to another. Beneath the downtown skyline, an open garage offers a sneak peek to half a dozen gorgeous, new copper stills of various sizes that are in various stages of completion. Business at Vendome is indeed good.

Vendome StillBuilding in-demand gear is nothing new to Vendome. The company was formed by W. Elmore Sherman, Sr. at the turn of the last century and has been family owned and operated for well over a hundred years. Vendome has had their share of challenges over their long history including significant downturns in whiskey production, The Great Flood of 1937, and even Prohibition. Over time and with some perseverance, the Sherman family name has become just as familiar among Bourbon aficionados as other industry lineages like the Beams, Samuels, and Boswells of the Independent Stave Company. Vendome’s prolonged success can be attributed to their craftsmanship, flexibility and service. Every single still is custom designed; no job is too big and no craft distillery’s needs are too small. Customers can even choose one of three different finishes for their still including an acid clean, satin finish or a labor-intensive high-polished mirror finish for that perfect distillery tour shine. Beyond visual appeal, copper has been the preferred metal since the time of even the earliest whiskey distillers. The copper generates a chemical reaction between the mash and the metal which pulls out unwanted sulfates and Sulfur. Today, new stills are regularly being installed at distilleries across the country. When The Old Taylor Distillery outside of Versailles, KY needed new equipment last summer as part of its ongoing complete restoration, Master Distiller Marianne Barnes commissioned Vendome. The result? A massive 24-inch copper column still coupled with a 375-gallon copper doubler. Today, far beyond The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Vendome’s copper stills can be found in Guatemala, Canada, Ireland and even Romania. And while Vendome may be best known for their stunning stills, the company also produces stainless steel fermenters, cookers, condensers, coolers, receiving tanks and more. It could be argued that Vendome can build just about everything you might need to start a distillery except the corn, rye, barley and yeast.

Vendome workerVendome’s roster of clients over the years reads like a who’s who in the world of Bourbon and American Whiskey: Michter’s, Evan Williams, Jim Beam, Angel’s Envy, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses and Buffalo Trace just to name a few. Vendome’s customers further extend beyond alcohol to pharmaceutical companies, confectionary businesses and dairy operators. Today, the waiting list for a custom still may be close to a year. All of this has made Vendome one of the most in-demand brass and copper fabrication plants in the nation.

Next time you visit a bourbon distillery, be on the lookout for Vendome’s signature plaque on new and old gear. Beyond Kentucky’s beloved limestone filtered water and the charred oak barrels, one common element that an increasing number of distilleries are sharing is custom gear from Vendome Copper and Brass Works. And, just maybe, the robust copper construction and a century of craftsmanship could make the bourbon that ends up in the bottle taste a little bit better than others.

 

Vendome Brass and Copper Works is located at 729 East Franklin Street Louisville, KY 40202 and currently does not offer tours to the public. A visit to the exterior building of Vendome may be requested on a personalized, custom tour with Mint Julep Tours. Many of Vendome’s stills and other equipment can been viewed at distilleries on and off The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ®. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online for more information and to book a tour today!

Mint Julep Tours presents Derby Eve Distilled

Mint Julep Tours presents the Derby Eve Distilled Experience on May 6, 2016

An Exclusive Bourbon and Culinary Event at Buffalo Trace Distillery  

Louisville, KY – February 2, 2016 – Mint Julep Tours is pleased to announce the inaugural Derby Eve Distilled Exclusive Experience to be held on May 6, 2016, which is the night before the 2016 Kentucky Derby. This unique event includes an after-hours private distillery tour and tasting at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. After the tour, guests will enjoy signature cocktails, a bourbon inspired dinner, live bluegrass music, and cigars on the porch.

Mint Julep Tours owner and co-founder Sean Higgins explains what went into the planning process for this inaugural event: “We wanted to build on our existing Kentucky Derby Week Public Tours that showcase both bourbon distilleries and horse farms and create something unique that will be a memorable evening for those looking to have a more laid back, true Kentucky experience before the big race.”

Derby Eve DistilledThe cost is $289 per person, which includes transportation from Downtown Louisville, the private after-hours Buffalo Trace Distillery tour and tasting, bourbon inspired dinner, cigar or mini julep cup, and two signature cocktails (cash bar also available). There is also a lower ticket price of $239, which doesn’t include transportation. For those that go with the transportation included, the tour will depart from the Mint Julep Tours Gift Shop, located in the Galt House Hotel (Third Floor Rivue Tower), 140 N. Fourth St. in Downtown Louisville. The tour departs at 3:45pm on Friday, May 6, 2016 and returns at approximately 10:00pm.

Tickets and more information are available at www.mintjuleptours.com or by calling 502-583-1433.

Note: Adult beverages are allowed on the bus, however we ask that they be consumed in moderation. It is against the law for any passengers under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.

 

 

ABOUT MINT JULEP TOURS – Mint Julep Tours is a recognized leader in Bourbon and Kentucky adventures as well as the only dedicated tour company focu­sed on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky they offer Custom and Public Bourbon Distillery Tours as well as unique Exclusive Experiences, Horse Farm Tours, C­­ulinary Tours, and Louisville City Tours. As a truly one-of-a-kind tour company, Mint Julep Tours also offers transportation and event planning services with a focus on Special Events, Corporate Outings and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties. Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House on the third floor of the Rivue Tower at 140 North 4th Street Suite 326, Louisville, KY 40202.

For more information, please visit us online at www.mintjuleptours.com or call our offices at 502-583-1433.