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Issue 52 - Whiskey town weirdness

Whisky Magazine Issue 52
November 2005


This article is 12 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Whiskey town weirdness

Louisville,home of bourbon,is under threat from the globalisers. Its quirkiness needs defending

Every time I go to Louisville (which isn't frequently enough now that the editor has discovered bourbon) I try and go to EarX-tacy, one of the finest record stores in the world.

There's always some new find. This time it was a black tshirt with the legend: ‘Keep Louisville Weird'.

Amusing enough I suppose, but there's a serious intent behind this slogan which was created by a group of independent businesses as the focus for their campaign of resistance to the creeping homogenisation of the city.

Louisville's uniqueness doesn't lie in its architecture, but in its people and the places where they eat, shop and hang out. This is a city with cafes, diners and independent specialist shops, not just Gap, Starbucks and Borders.

We need specialisation. It makes life interesting and varied. It is what differentiates one city from another. The Weird campaign encourages people to shop and think local.

Louisville has been better than most American cities in resisting becoming an urban clone but the pressure is on.

That night, three of us decided to go for a drink in the city centre near our hotel. A perfectly normal activity you would think. Not in downtown Louisville.

The street had been blocked off, the only entrance to the strip of bars was a checkpoint manned by a security woman who issued us with yellow wristbands. Only then were we were allowed to enter DrinkZone, a dystopian vision of neon, loud (bad) music and that enforced jollity that you only get at office Christmas p...

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