SPEDA announces date for 'Whisky and War Stories' event

Carla Slavey I CJ

The members of the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority announced that Somerset will host a "Whisky and War Stories" luncheon that will raise money for veterans causes.

Very soon, Somerset will be hosting its very own “Whisky and War Stories” event, courtesy of Horse Soldier Bourbon.

Details are still being finalized, but the first stages were announced by SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler at Thursday’s Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority board meeting.

The luncheon is scheduled for May 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Rural Development.

Girdler said the event will be open to the public and will cost $15 to attend. The proceeds raised through those tickets will be donated to a veterans organization to be announced later.

Girdler said he went to a “Whisky and War Stories” event in Dallas last year, and he was excited to bring that to this area.

“I cannot wait for this community to experience this same thing,” he said.

“It’s going to be a day to remember,” he added. “Right now, the plans are also that Horse Soldier Bourbon will unveil some of their artistic renderings and construction plans.”

Just three weeks ago, it was announced that Horse Soldier Bourbon had bought the Waitsboro Hills golf course, planning for it to be the site of their new distillery.

Horse Soldier Farms LLC purchased Waitsboro Hills for $2.8 million, and an adjoining property for $775,000, while the city of Somerset purchased a second adjoining property for $360,000 for utility and traffic accessibility.

The bourbon distillery will launch a two-phase, $50 million project that will add 56 direct jobs to the area.

In addition to “Whisky and War Stories,” Girdler and SPEDA board member Michelle Allen announced preliminary information for a Hospitality Training program that will help to teach “soft skills” to those who work with the public.

Two-hour training sessions will take place on two dates – a morning session on May 12 and an afternoon session on May 14. The exact times and location will be announced later.

The sessions will be free to attend.

Girdler said the sessions would be conducted by one of “the best in the commonwealth,” Allen herself.

Allen, the executive director for the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention and Visitors Bureau, has previously worked for Tour SEKY, a tourism promotional organization for southern and southeastern Kentucky.

Girdler explained the need for such training, saying “Tourism is such a large industry here in the Lake Cumberland region.”

Plus, with the addition of Horse Soldier Bourbon, Girdler expects area tourism to increase.

The training will be beneficial to “front-line” workers, he said.

“If you’re working the front desk at one of our great hotels, if you’re working at the register at Walmart or a convenient store or whatever, this is something that SPEDA’s going to do free of charge,” he said.

He later added, “If we can make a difference in one person’s attitude and approach, then it will be worth it.”

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