Its 9:30 am on a cold winter’s day in downtown Shelbyville Kentucky. You have often heard Jim and I say that this is small town USA, with its beautiful main street. The town is just coming alive as old farm trucks roll by. We are about to get a lesson in southern hospitality from the best in the businesses.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says southern charm or hospitality? Well, if you have ever meet Peggy Noe Stevens then I imagine it would be her. This is the first time I am meeting her and was I ever in for a treat.
As we stroll into The Paddock Coffee, Eats & Gatherings in Shelbyville Kentucky I can see her sitting at the bar talking to a local man just like she has lived in this charming little town all her life. She carries herself with such grace, a magnificent confidence and power. I can see why she garners so much respect in the Bourbon World.
We were about to sit down and drink bourbon with the woman I consider the Queen of Bourbon. She is recognized as the first female Master Bourbon Taster at Woodford Reserve. She founded Bourbon Women in 2011, helped the Kentucky Distillers Association develop the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, is a 2019 inductee into the Bourbon Hall of Fame and is also a 2020 inductee into Whiskey Magazines Whiskey Hall of Fame.
Is there anything this woman cannot do? She also recently co-authored the book “Which Fork Do I Use with My Bourbon?: Setting the Table for Tastings, Food Pairings, Dinners, and Cocktail Parties”. This book can be pre-ordered on Amazon just in time for Derby Season. Did I say something earlier about Southern Hospitably? There is a little bit of everything you need in this book to host a successful Derby Party. Who after all doesn’t love a good Derby Party?
For a Texas boy this entire situation can be a little intimidating, but rest assured she is very welcoming and greeted us with open arms. With her warm smile and southern accent, she instantly removes any walls that you have put up. My mind was racing with thoughts that this woman can make planets move with this charm she has. Walk into many distilleries in American and they will tell you that she has been instrumental in the way that they market themselves. Today that is here main business you see.
Her firm PNSA is a proven leader in brand transformation – for professionals, spirited destinations, and hospitality enthusiasts. If you want to improve yourself or your business this is your team and does she ever have a list of current clients that reads like a who’s who of the bourbon world.
The Paddocks did not disappoint and Stacy the owner had set us up with some delicious treats for Peggy to pair bourbon with. They started us off with an Asiago and Thyme Cheese English muffin with Purnell’s Old Folks Sausage on it. Their second treat is a cherry Danish with vanilla icing. To go with those treats Jim and I brought about 10 bourbons for Peggy to pair with the food.
They also let us record in the Saddlebred Suites located above the coffee shop. Saddlebred Suites offers an upscale loft boutique hotel experience in historic downtown Shelbyville that are perfect for a weekend bourbon trip. There are four separate suites that offer guests the option of two-bedroom units or cozy studio spaces. If you’re planning a trip to the bourbon trail and want to be centrally located, then look no further.
So grab yourself a pour of bourbon, a good ham biscuit and listen as Peggy Noe Stevens takes Jim and I down The Bourbon Road for a lesson in Bourbon and Food pairing. Did someone say ham Biscuit? Damn, now I gotta go find one. Cheers friends.
Mike (Big Chief)