Skip to main content

Agreement includes Old Forester, Finlandia Vodka, and Tequila Herradura 

LOUISVILLE, KY – (January 11, 2023) – Today, Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon and Churchill Downs announced the renewal of their contract for five years, solidifying Woodford Reserve as the Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby

Woodford Reserve became the presenting sponsor of the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” in 2018, and has been the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” since 1999. The new agreement extends the partnership through 2027.

“We are proud to renew this partnership, as it unites together two of Kentucky’s greatest attractions, bourbon and thoroughbreds,” said Lawson Whiting, President and CEO of Brown-Forman Corporation, owner of Woodford Reserve. 

“We are thrilled to welcome back Woodford Reserve as the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby for the next five years,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We are pleased to build upon this partnership between two global entities that represent the unique culture and unbridled spirit of Kentucky. Brown-Forman’s brand offerings are the ideal complement to the heritage of this time-honored tradition.”   

Looking toward the 150th Derby in 2024, Woodford Reserve celebrated the sponsorship by laying down oak in the Derby Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs. The oak will be used in a barrel for a very rare bourbon that celebrates the milestone event. This oak will be “seasoned” (remain in open air) for almost two months, allowing the wood to mature in preparation for finishing the whiskey.

“We are excited for the next five years, and we are honored to continue our partnership with Churchill Downs by creating this very special bottle for Derby 150,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller, Chris Morris. “On the first Saturday in May, no matter where in the world we are, we are all Kentuckians.”

In addition to the special bottle, Woodford Reserve will continue to leverage existing partnerships associated with the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, and the Road to the Kentucky Derby (the series of races that determine the eligibility of horses to compete in the race), as well as the NBC tie-in and signage throughout the track.

The Kentucky Derby presenting partnership strengthens long-standing ties between this pair of institutions, each with deep roots in their home state. The extended partnership includes three additional Brown-Forman brands: Old Forester, Finlandia Vodka, and Herradura Tequila. 

Old Forester returns as the “Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby” and a sponsor of Thurby (Thursday of Derby week), a beloved day at the races. Premium Finlandia vodka celebrates the Kentucky Oaks (Friday of Derby week) with the much-loved Oaks Lily cocktail. Herradura tequila cocktails will be available at the track throughout Derby week. Each of the Brown-Forman sponsored brands, when consumed responsibly, enriches lives.

The Kentucky Derby, which holds the distinction of being America’s oldest continually held sporting event, has been run without interruption at Churchill Downs since the track’s first race meet in 1875. The 149th running will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2023.


About Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve, “Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby,” is crafted at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery, tucked in the heart of thoroughbred country in Versailles, Kentucky. A National Historic Landmark, the Woodford Reserve Distillery represents craftsmanship with a balance of historic heritage and modern practices. Woodford Reserve is a product of the Brown-Forman Corporation, a premier producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands including Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Old Forester, Sonoma-Cutrer and Chambord. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. To learn more about Woodford Reserve, visit us  or check us out on Facebook at

About Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”, NASDAQ: CHDN) has been creating extraordinary entertainment experiences for nearly 150 years, beginning with the company’s most iconic and enduring asset, the Kentucky Derby. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, CDI has expanded through the development of live and historical racing entertainment venues, the growth of the TwinSpires horse racing online wagering business and the operation and development of regional casino gaming properties. More information is available at


At this time we are only shipping spirits to Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Washington D.C.