Have you ever been on a distillery, winery, or brewery tour in Kentucky and found yourself a little… lost in the crowd?

Trust us, you’re not alone!

It's a given that in the mass approach to tours and events, the big crowd atmosphere can sometimes dilute an otherwise incredible experience. There are simply times when it would feel nice to take center stage and have complete, one-on-one attention as a guest. Whether it be a visit to your favorite Kentucky distillery, brewery, or vineyard, enjoying a tasting at an event, or participating in a class diving into how to make an Old Fashioned or Manhattan you want to feel like you have a front-row seat to the magic!

Beyond the Barrel was born from this idea. We wanted to design the kind of private events that we would be excited to attend. We know your free time is valuable and your options are limitless, and you have a budget to work with. So our mission is to craft the perfect experience and make your event memorable, fun, and tailored just for you.


We take out the guessing and make your vision come to life by doing all of the heavy lifting. We want to give you the best, most intimate experiences with local bourbon, wine, and beer. We pride ourselves on our bourbon education program that caters both to the general public and establishment training for our CERTIFIED BOURBON STEWARD program. We also partner with local sommeliers and cicerones to design wine and beer-centric education classes. All of our education classes are interactive, entertaining, and thoughtfully designed to give you skills to take home along with a refreshing experience to enjoy outside of an ordinary day.

The places we work with range from distilleries, private venues, hospitality spaces, or even at your wedding or bachelor party. With our robust network of contacts and partnerships, let us help give you a peek behind the barrel!


We are a VIP event-planning and education service based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Beyond the Barrel scales an event, education class, or private gathering to accommodate your specific needs. We take the time to listen and consult with you on making your special event come to be, just the way you imagined it! In addition, we offer the ability to host a variety of education classes, tastings, and charity-driven functions.

Enjoy every aspect with no hassle and no worries.

Leveraging a vast local network of contacts, our experts can help plan your event, manage the details, and deliver a one-of-a-kind memorable experience. Anywhere from private 5-10 person tastings to larger-scale corporate events or hospitality classes, Beyond the Barrel offers a professional event service that handles a diverse variety of requests.



For over 18 years in corporate America, John artfully crafted solutions to help clients operate better, drive efficiency, and deliver on world-class customer service initiatives. Through that lens he understands people. And he knows what a good customer experience should look and feel like. He understands when you carve out free time for experiences, you want them to be as memorable as they can be! And this is where the idea for Beyond The Barrel started. John fell in love with bourbon and the industry 14 years ago when he first moved to the area. The history, the nostalgia, the American pride the spirit brings to everyone in the area really resonated with him. And when you move to Kentucky, you learn quickly you have to get behind basketball, horses or bourbon. Needless to say, he wasn't very adept at riding horses!

John became a fan of bourbon first before he ever considered working in the industry. He spent years joining a community of enthusiasts, standing in line for rare bourbon bottles (before it was cool), picking the brains of Master Distillers up and down the bourbon trail, and being involved in the Lexington Bourbon Society learning every aspect of the industry he could. He spent his time leading home tastings, providing friends and family free education and began to take classes as his passion flourished. He also began to notice something alarming as the years passed, getting a truly "special" experience in what would be later known as the bourbon boom became almost rarer to find than a limited edition bourbon.


In 2016, John decided to act. In falling in love with the industry and taking the leap to work in it, he had unknowingly built a platform to educate about bourbon from an approachable place. He recognized an opportunity to provide a service to the people of Lexington and give them a glimpse, beyond the barrel. Thus the company was born, and John created the Lexington Bourbon Academy to share unfiltered knowledge about bourbon in more fun, interactive and intimate setting. The mission at hand was to provide a more enriching experience than what larger-scale tourism could offer while providing the exclusivity the high dollar, VIP experiences boast at a more affordable and accessible level. Now John and Beyond the Barrel have serviced central Kentucky proudly for years in a variety of mediums, from education to private tastings, hospitality and corporate events, wedding events, bachelor parties, and a variety of other consulting and Bespoke services.

John qualifies himself today as a previous Brand Ambassador for Rabbit Hole Distilling from its inception to 2018 and proudly holds a position on the Lexington Bourbon Society Board as a Director since 2014. John is also a professional bourbon educator and a certified Enterprise Level Executive Bourbon Steward recognized by the Kentucky Distillers Association, through the Stave and Thief Society. He takes ongoing education in bourbon, wine, and beer to translate that knowledge into education and events.