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Downtown making progress despite pandemic; city earns 2021 Main Street accreditation

By Randy Patrick

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Published 3:46 pm Monday, April 12, 2021

Things are looking up for downtown Winchester after a year of COVID-19 setbacks.

Main Street Winchester has received a certificate of accreditation as a 2021 Kentucky Main Street Program from the Kentucky Heritage Council, and on Monday, the city was interviewing candidates for a full-time Main Street director.

Rachael Boyd, who has been the part-time interim director for the past three months and is one of the candidates for the position, said Monday that among the benefits accreditation will bring is that it will help the program in applying for grants.

Boyd, who moved to Winchester from Louisiana with her husband in 2018, said that the program has had a master plan since 2015 that was funded by the Clark County Community Foundation and the city and county governments. That plan includes creating a downtown reinvestment fund and tax increment financing district and a facades grant program as well as enhanced marketing of downtown.

“I think what you’re seeing is that there was a refocus,” Boyd said, when improvements to the downtown streetscape were mentioned in conversation.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of some downtown businesses, there are signs of improvement. The city has invested in handicapped-accessible sidewalks and ramps on South Main Street and Cleveland Avenue in recent months. The McEldowney Building is undergoing a major rehabilitation and several other buildings are being restored. An outdoor events venue has been created on the east side of North Main Street, and until COVID closed the theater, the Leeds Center for the Arts was planning a major expansion of its building, including dressing rooms for the actors, room for set design and a rear entrance. And the Winchester Farmers Market on Depot Street, with its restored brick pavement, has plans for a covered pavilion for the vendors. New restaurants have opened downtown, including Loma’s in the Winchester Opera House and La Trattoria on North Main. Wildcat Willy’s, a moonshine distillery and restaurant, will be reopening soon on Broadway, and Abettor Brewing Company is moving into a new location adjacent to the Farmers Market.

During the city Board of Commissioners meeting last week, city officials approved funding for $1,000 facade grants for two downtown businesses that are being renovated, at 53/55 S. Main St. and 2 S. Main St. The one at 53/55 also recently received funding for interior improvements to convert the upper part of the building into residential space.

In recent years, several of the downtown buildings have renovated their upper floors to be apartments, which is one of the goals of the master plan.

Boyd said Main Street Winchester is also hoping to bring back some of the events that were shut down last year because of the virus, including Rock the Block and possibly the Beer Cheese Festival, but with “a festival of that magnitude,” she said, it would take some planning and coordination with the Health Department to be able to do those events in ways that involve less risk.

“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to keep people safe,” she said.

On Monday, Kitty Dougoud, the state Main Street coordinator, said Winchester’s Main Street program, formerly known as Winchester First, has received accreditation from the state and national programs for many years.

Craig Potts, executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Council, said the council’s Kentucky Main Street Program, established in 1979, is the oldest program of its kind in the country, and Winchester’s is one of the oldest in the state. In fact, if you look closely at the state program’s logo, you’ll notice the buildings depicted in the drawing are of the “high side” of Main Street in Winchester, and “we are very proud of that image,” Potts said, Winchester “should be too.”

The high side of Main Street is a multi-block National Historic District.

“Participation as an accredited Main Street Program provides many benefits, including training and networking opportunities, access to design assistance from architects at the Kentucky Heritage Council, and eligibility to apply for support through the National Main Street Center,” Potts said.

“Main Street is largely a grass roots program based on a registered four-point approach placing high emphasis on engagement with local leaders, businesses, developers, volunteers and other stakeholders,” he said. “No Main Street Program is the same because no Main Street community is the same, but the requirement to consistently apply the national and state program requirements gives communities like Winchester a proven pathway to incremental, and ultimately successful, downtown revitalization.”

“Downtown is the heart of every community and we are judged by how well we take care of those places,” Dougoud said.

Fort Boonesborough State Park Closes Campground to Repair Flood Damage

BY CRYSTAL SICARD KENTUCKYUPDATED 6:30 PM ET APR. 02, 2021 PUBLISHED 5:30 PM ET APR. 02, 2021

RICHMOND, Ky.- With Spring weather around the corner, the outdoor activities becomes more popular. Unfortunately this year, those outdoor activities will not include the campgrounds at Fort Boonesborough State Park.

Will Adams, Deputy Commissioner of Kentucky Department of Parks says being so close to the Kentucky River can be a blessing and a curse. When floodwaters came through the area, Adams says many things got destroyed. 

“And unfortunately all of the electrical pedestals that those campers hook up to were destroyed by the floodwaters. So those will all have to be replaced. On our two bathhouses, one had about six feet of water and the other quite a bit more. So those are going to have to be completely renovated,” Adams said.

Kentucky State Parks says Fort Boonesborough State Park will be closed until early August. Typically during the April and July months,

Adams says they see around 10,000-11,000 campers on their campgrounds.Adams says during these next few months, crews will be taking the time to repair and hopefully improve their electrical systems and structures.

“We are going to go back in with a more resilient design that has a removable core to it, so that when the floodwaters come up again because we know with climate change and just proximity to the river, this is not going to be an isolated incident. In the future we’ll be able to just pull those cords out as the waters rise without damaging the sensitive electronics,” Adams said.

Crews are still working on evaluating the amount of damage on the campgrounds, but Adams says the park will reopen next Wednesday, April 7, resuming their regular hours. As of right now, the swimming pool will most likely stay closed for the season, and the campgrounds are planning to reopen August 1.

Kentucky’s Ale-8-One Releases New Variety Packs

NEWS PROVIDED BYHGPink PRApril 01, 2021, 18:19 GMT

Historic Soda Brand Brings Trifecta of Flavors to Ten New States for Derby

In the spirit of the derby season and Kentucky’s racing traditions, the themed variety pack offers a touch of the Bluegrass to consumers in other states.”— Chris Doyle, Ale-8-One Marketing Director

WINCHESTER, KENTUCKY, UNITED STATES, April 1, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Ale-8-One Bottling Company, celebrating 95 years this year, launches racing themed variety pack just in time for derby season. The limited edition 12-pack will showcase the Company’s famous ginger-flavored Heritage Ale-8, Cherry Ale-8, and the seasonal Orange Cream Ale-8. Using the secret family recipe first crafted nearly 100 years ago, all three products are lightly carbonated, made with real sugar and contain only 120-calories, fewer than most soft drinks in the market. This April 1st launch is exclusive to Kroger and will be featured in 375 Kroger locations across ten states including major metro areas in Atlanta, Houston, Nashville, and the Mid-Atlantic.

About Ale-8-One
Ale-8-One Bottling Company was founded in 1902 by G.L. Wainscott in Winchester, Kentucky, and remains the oldest, privately held bottler in the United States still owned and operated by the founding family. Ale-8-One soft drink has been bottled in green glass in Winchester since 1926. The only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence, Ale-8’s proprietary blend is flavored with ginger and citrus and contains less carbonation and fewer calories than conventional sodas. The company’s founder and inventor, G.L. Wainscott developed the recipe, and to this day, his great-great-nephew, Fielding Rogers, personally blends every batch of Ale-8. Ale-8 is widely available in Kentucky, available nationwide online, available in Kroger stores throughout the Southeast, and can be found at most Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores and Fresh Market.

For those interested in learning more about Ale-8-One and Ale-8-One products:
Visit our website www.ale8one.com and follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Niki Dec
HGPR Inc.
[email protected]

KSU celebrates its 135th anniversary, Ale8 joins as partner

By Leah Caudill– March 24, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – After navigating the effects of a global pandemic for the last year to deliver access to education, Kentucky State University has more reasons than ever to celebrate its 135th anniversary as an institution of higher education.

Part of the 135th anniversary celebration is a new partnership with the iconic Kentucky soda brand, Ale-8-One Bottling Company.

Ale-8-One, local producer of Kentucky’s original ginger and citrus soft drink sold in their signature green glass bottles, is also celebrating its 95th anniversary this year. Kentucky State and Ale-8-One will highlight the partnership with a series of collaborations throughout the year.

Through the partnership, a commemorative 135th anniversary Ale-8-One label will be released exclusively to Kentucky State to honor this historic moment. The partnership also includes expanding opportunities and support for Kentucky State University students through internships and scholarships, and an Ale-8-One presence on campus.

Finally, Ale-8-One is making its first scholarship donation to the Together Thorobreds campaign and is encouraging others to do so as well.

With a goal of raising more than $3.5 million, Kentucky State will launch its Together Thorobreds 135th Anniversary Giving Campaign. To benefit Kentucky State’s efforts to advance its mission to support the institution’s four pillars of success — academics, access, athletics and agriculture — gifts representing 1886, the University’s founding year, will be requested from constituents through a monthly giving day challenge, highlighting campaign fundraising champions on the 18th day of every month. Gifts ranging from $18 to $1886 are encouraged for this campaign.

The Together Thorobreds campaign also provides constituents with the opportunity to join the Thorobred Annual Giving Society. Members may join the President’s Society with gifts of $5,000 or above, the Onward and Upward Society with gifts ranging from $3,000 to $4,999, the 1886 Society with gifts ranging from $500 to $2,999 or the Green and Gold Society with gifts under $500. Inaugural members will receive an exclusive 135th anniversary pin and other gifts by designated society level.

The campaign goal is to generate philanthropic support for tuition assistance and to establish eight endowed student scholarship for $18,886.

Visit kysu.edu/give to participate in the Together Thorobreds 135th Anniversary Giving Campaign. For more information on 135 years of excellence, visit www.kysu.edu/togetherthorobreds135.

Spotlight on Winchester: Leeds eager to light up the stage again

WINCHESTER, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Main Street in downtown Winchester, the flashing lights and marquee of Leeds Theatre have drawn people in since the 1920s.

“The Leeds Theatre opened in 1925 as a single screen movie theatre,” theatre volunteer Ellie Miller said.

Decades passed and the theatre eventually closed and sat in despair until the year 1990s when the Winchester council for the arts stepped in.

“They actually raised over a million dollars to but the building and renovate it into the arts center that you see here today,” Miller said.

Now known as the Leeds Center for the Arts, it underwent another renovation in 2017.

“We like to refer to Leeds as the jewel of Main Street,” Miller said. “You know, there is so much history here and I think this place has meant so much to so many people over the years.”

In a typical year, the theatre would put on a big Summer musical, a couple children’s musicals, other plays and host performers, concerts and events. But for a year now, nothing.

“This unprecedented year, I think has brought our community closer together and we are so grateful for the amount of support we have received,” Miller said.

Until the stage lights are shining again and the 410 seats fill up with an audience, the community that has been built by the Leeds Theatre won’t be rattled.

“Artists are resilient and I think we are at the cusp of getting ready to come back and get into it,” Miller said. “And I think it will be better than ever.”

Watch here!

A look inside the Ale-8-One factory

WDRB.COM

Mar 17, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky has some very rich traditions, including a soft drink that has been around for nearly 100 years.

Take a look inside of the Ale-8-One factory 20 minutes east of Lexington in Winchester, Kentucky. Churning out about 36 million bottles every year, the factory is a staple in the community where it was invented almost 95 years ago.

The history behind Ale-8-One also makes the drink special. The family business is on its fourth generation owner, Fielding Rogers.

“I mix it up personally,” Rogers said. “I learned it from my dad and I’ve got my brother and sister trained on it, so its very much a part of the mystique that is Ale-8.

“It’s just cool,” he added. “It’s fun when you go in the morning and at the end of the afternoon you’ve made ugh this whole bunch of concentrate and you know lots and lots of people are going to enjoy.”

Rogers’ job comes with certain perks. Most importantly, he knows the secret Ale-8-One formula. It is kept at the top of a staircase that no one outside of a few family members has seen. 

Watch here!

Spotlight on Winchester: Bringing home the cheddar on the Beer Cheese Trail

By: Conroy Delouche

WINCHESTER, Ky. (LEX 18) — In the city of Winchester, Ale-8 may be the most-known native brand name.

But it’s the beer cheese that really brings the cheddar, in more ways than one.

“It’s where beer cheese comes from. Everybody here likes it, it’s something unique to the town,” said Laura Sheehan, owner of Full Circle Market.

Walk into almost any restaurant on or near Main Street, the bypass, or the river, and you can find something cheesy.

Inside Loma’s, there’s not only a house-made edition but a beer cheese vinaigrette.

Down the street, snapshots and reminders of Winchester’s past decorate the walls of the Engine House.

Former owner Bob Tabor has made his own River Rat-branded beer cheese for decades. He says there are four simple ingredients.

“Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, beer, and cheddar cheese,” said Tabor.

You can spread beer cheese on a cracker or drizzle it inside nachos, quesadillas, soup, pizza, or even cupcakes.

“You’re only captive by a lack of imagination,” said Nancy Turner with the Winchester-Clark County Tourism Commission.

That’s why years ago, Turner helped launch the Beer Cheese Trail.

“Winchester is the home of original experiences and you can’t any more original than beer cheese,” said Turner.

Sheehan, the owner of Full Circle Market, started producing beer cheese in-house In small batches about a decade ago.

“So we wanted to do a beer cheese that had no artificial flavors or preservatives in it. We also decided to make our cheese gluten-free,” said Sheehan.

Her mild flavor took first place at the Beer Cheese Festival in 2016.

Her shop is on the trail too, and conquering the adventure gives people a reason to come on the bypass, where you can also find Gaunce’s, Woody’s and DJ’s.

If you’re going to try and finish the Beer Cheese Trail, don’t forget your beer cheese log. Sheehan also says you should bring a cooler because you never know how much beer cheese you’ll want to take home.

This year, the Beer Cheese Festival won’t have traditional tastings due to the pandemic, but there will be a celebration of the product in June. Turner says more exciting developments are coming.

“We’ll be launching our new trail here in the next couple of months, and want people to come and embrace our heritage,” said Turner.

Watch here!

Spotlight on Winchester: Touring the Ale-8-One Factory

WINCHESTER, Ky. (LEX 18) — This week, LEX 18 is putting a spotlight on Winchester. It is a town of rich traditions and Kentucky’s very own soft drink: Ale-8-One.

The Ale-8-One Factory is a staple of the Winchester community, churning out millions of bottles every year. It is located about 20 miles east of Lexington. During LEX 18’s tour of the Ale-8-One Factory, there was a sea of the signature glass bottles which is part of what makes the brand so iconic.

The history also makes Ale-8-One special. It is a family business and Fielding Rogers is the fourth generation owner.

“It is something you’ve talked about every day for your whole life, so it is very much in your blood,” Rogers explained.

The drink is also ingrained in the Winchester where it was invented almost 95 years ago.

“It blows my mind. Ninety-five years is longer than I can fully grasp,” Rogers said. “To be part of it and to keep it going for that many decades and generations, it is good to be part of that.”

Rogers’ job comes with certain perks such as knowing what is in the secret Ale-8-One formula. The formula lies at the top of a staircase that even public tours don’t even have the luxury of visiting. Only a select few family members have access to the room at the top of the staircase.

The factory churns out about 36 million bottles every year, a number they hope to keep growing.

Watch here!

Flavor of the Week: Beer cheese, a spread with near infinite possibilities

Datassential. | Feb 22, 2021\

Beer cheese is a spread made, as the name implies, with beer and cheese, as well as other assorted flavors such as garlic and cayenne pepper. A popular version from Kentucky is made with sharp cheddar and lager and is usually served cold with crackers. German versions often are made with soft ripe cheese.

Restaurants have drawn inspiration from the traditional varieties to make fondue, cheese sauce to pour over entrées or vegetables, or dips to go with soft pretzels. The flavor combination has broad appeal, and the nearly infinite variety of beer and cheeses available gives operators a lot of room for experimentation.

Market research firm Datassential reports that beer cheese’s appearance on menus in the United States has risen by 114% over the past four years, and is now seen in dishes on around 2.9% of U.S. menus.

Click through the gallery to learn more about the Flavor of the Week and see how one restaurant is using beer cheese on a menu item.

Museum hosting MLK legacy event

By Winchester Sun

Published 3:10 pm Friday, February 5, 2021

BY ROSEMARY CAMPBELL

Bluegrass Heritage Museum

The Winchester-Clark County Unity Committee and the Bluegrass Heritage Museum are offering a two-week event honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the museum Feb. 8-19.

Exhibits throughout the building highlight achievements of African-Americans and their impact in the community.

On the first floor, a quilt featuring children’s artwork was created in 2016 to commemorate 30 years of MLK celebrations. A hallway display honors the life and career of long-time teacher Evelyn Samuels. The Oliver Street School is remembered through photos and other memorabilia, including a copy of the 1955 “Oliver Torch” yearbook.

Also on this floor, an exhibit recalls how the first black Little League baseball program was established. White children were welcomed to play in 1954, leading to what was believed to be the first integrated organized sport in Kentucky, happening even before schools integrated.

In the second floor Military History Room, visitors can learn about Thomas Miller, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and returned home to Winchester to become a successful businessman. Portraits of his wife Ann’s parents, James and Maggie Taylor, grace the end of the hallway.

Pulpit chairs from the First Baptist Church on Highland sit near a banner of the Union Benevolent Society from 1883. This organization had its roots in pre-Civil War time and served to care for the sick, support widows and orphans, and bury the dead.

The contributions of African-American soldiers during the Civil War are remembered in the person of Peter Bruner. He was born a slave in Clark County, escaped to join the Union army at Camp Nelson, and survived to live a long life and write an autobiography of his experiences. 

Beneath the Bruner display, a table holds scrapbooks honoring Dr. King which were created by local elementary students. Other student artwork is displayed throughout the museum.

The museum is open Monday through Friday from noon until 4 p.m.

Rosemary Campbell is a volunteer at the Bluegrass Heritage Museum.

MILLS’ MUSINGS: Another successful Corbin first

  • By Jarrod Mills Staff Writer
  • Feb 2, 2021

If you skipped the first-ever Signature Spirit Shuffle Pub Crawl held in downtown Corbin Saturday, you missed out on a good time. As usual, Tourism Director Maggy Kriebel knocked it out of the park with planning and organizing another home run event. So too did downtown’s restauranteurs and their staffs.

The event kicked-off at Si Señor. Kriebel was already there when the small group of four I “crawled” with got to the restaurant. In order to help limit the number of folks in each destination along the crawl, Kriebel split event-goers into groups and provided a list of restaurants in different orders to each group to ensure we all didn’t end up at the same place at the same time.

As my small group ventured from stop to stop, we decided to rank each signature drink we tried. Every participating restaurant was tasked with creating a signature drink using at least one common ingredient, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, which also sponsored the event.

Although our rankings varied slightly, we came to a consensus that our top two belonged to The Wrigley, which offered a drink they called “Ale-8-Fizz” that features Buffalo Trace and Ale-8-One, with Whitley County apple butter garnished with local apples.

While I would recommend the drink at any time of the year, I feel like the “Ale-8-Fizz” would be the perfect fall drink for when you get tired of pumpkin-spiced everything and need something stronger with a kick.

Our other favorite belonged to the Caboose Sports Tavern with their “Redhound Limeade,” made with the signature bourbon, strawberries, a hint of lime, simple syrup, and topped with a splash of ginger beer.

In my opinion, the “Redhound Limeade” is one of those drinks in which you have to be real careful. The fruitiness of the drink effectively masks the bourbon and one could easily forget it’s an alcoholic beverage. I could see how somebody might want more than one of these, and before you know it, you might wake up not feeling so great the next morning.

While the drinks were great everywhere we went, the best part of the event for me was getting out and being with a small group of friends and just enjoying the moment. For one night, it began to feel like things were back to some semblance of “normal,” although we did adhere to social-distancing guidelines as much as possible and wore masks when walking around.

It was refreshing to see Corbin’s restaurants alive again after months of fear on whether or not they would survive bouts of shutdowns and capacity limits. Kentucky’s restaurants are still at a 50 percent capacity limit, but even at half capacity, it almost felt like it used to before the pandemic.

While walking around downtown Corbin, thankful that rain decided to hold off, I couldn’t help but to think about how far this area has come. If you would have told me 10 or so years ago that the city of Corbin would host a pub crawl, I would have laughed in your face and then apologized.

It’s hard to believe that for the majority of my life, it was illegal to serve alcohol in this area. When I eventually made it Cumberlands for college, the amount of people from outside this area who were confused as to what a “dry county” or “dry city” was, was significant. The jokes about prohibition and this area constantly being behind the times would quickly surface following my explanation.

But over the last decade or so, this area, specifically Corbin, has made great strides to “modernize” itself a little more each year. And whether you drink or not, you have to admit ending the “local prohibition” has helped breathe life into the revitalization of Corbin’s downtown that has been wonderful for this area.

I’m excited to see how the next decade or so shapes our region. It’s hard to really say what the future may look like. Like I said, 10 years ago, I would have never thought Corbin would be home to a bar, much less a bar crawl.

I hope we keep this momentum in continuing to take strides in modernizing this area, bringing in more businesses, and having even options for those living in and visiting our home.

Cheers, here’s to the next 10 years of progress and all the fun it brings.

Jarrod Mills is a staff writer at the Times-Tribune. You can contact him at jmills@thetimestribune.com.

This Kentucky beverage staple is rebranding its diet selection. Here is the new name

Ben TobinLouisville Courier Journal

Ale-8-One Bottling Company is rebranding its diet selection to emphasize the zero-sugar product offering to customers.

The Winchester, Ky.-based company announced Monday that the Diet Ale-8 is turning into Ale-8 Zero Sugar, with the new brand appearing on shelves in early February at major retailers throughout Kentucky and southern Ohio.

Though the packaging is changing, the “beverage inside the bottle is exactly the same,” Ale-8-One marketing director Chris Doyle said in a statement.

“The phrase ‘Zero Sugar’ better communicates that this drink tastes as great as the Original Ale-8 without the sugar or calories,” Doyle said. “‘Diet’ can also be perceived as outdated and doesn’t always come across as zero sugar. We wanted a brand that was more in-line with how consumers think today in a soft drink category that continues to grow.”

First bottled in 1926, Ale-8-One is the only soft drink invented in Kentucky that is still in existence. The diet brand was first introduced in 2003, and the rebrand follows the launch of Cherry Ale-8 Zero Sugar from last year.

Fourth-generation owner Fielding Rogers said the company “took our time in developing” the diet product 18 years ago “to ensure we could deliver on a zero sugar beverage that tasted as close to the original as possible.”

“That same great taste is staying, but it is time to update the branding to better reflect that it tastes just like the original without the sugar,” Rogers said in a statement.

Other Ale-8-One products include caffeine-free Ale-8 Zero Sugar, Cherry Ale-8 and Orange Cream Ale-8.