Alcohol Professor: Buried Bourbon — Many bourbon legends can be found in Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery

This one was fun to write, especially since it gave me something to do while still unemployed: Searching through thousands of graves at Cave Hill Cemetery, looking for familiar bourbon names like Van Winkle, Weller and Beam. I felt like I was in a live version of Where’s Waldo.

If you’ve never been to Cave Hill, I can’t recommend it enough! It’s beautiful, serene and healing. It’s a cherished piece of Louisville — and Kentucky — history. And I unearthed, so to speak, several bourbon legends on my many walks there, including “Pappy” Van Winkle, W.L. Weller, Jeremiah Beam, George Garvin Brown (of Old Forester and Brown-Forman fame), Arthur Phillip Stitzel and several others.

Here’s an excerpt from my story, which was published at


Pappy Van Winkle grave

Found some Pappy!

There are about 16 miles of paved roads amongst the cemetery’s 296 acres, so it’s an ideal place to escape for a few hours. Cave Hill also is one of the country’s top arboretums, as it features more than 500 types of trees and shrubs, contains five lakes and an underground spring, and yes, there actually is a cave on the premises.

As a Louisville resident for nearly two decades, I am ashamed to admit I’ve only been to Cave Hill a handful times. For someone who gets lost easily, it’s intimidating. Plus the fear of the gates shutting at 5 p.m. induces nightmares. Luckily, my walking buddy Maggie Cassaro, knows the cemetery well. Her parents are buried there, and she often showers various graves — friends, family and strangers — with rose petals. She also enjoys playing tour guide for curious out-of-towners.

This day, I was one of those curious cemetery walkers, and she was happy to show off the history, beauty and secrets of the expansive space …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.