If you find yourself in Savannah in search of some strong brown whiskey and lonesome music then you will want to follow along on John Johnson’s and Antonio “Tony” Woods journey into the world of Bourbon & Blues. They met as “young idealistic boys” in middle school right here in Savannah. Their lives took them on different paths but after three decades they are together again bringing Savannah events that “lift your spirits.” A concept of bringing people together to connect over good food, good drinks and good music, no matter their backgrounds. Bourbon & Blue’s first Savannah event is October 8th at Cohen’s Retreat. Tickets are $65 and you’ll experience featured spirits from Burnt Church Distillery, thoughtfully paired small bites, exciting vendors (Rhoot Man Co. and Tacarón Cigars), and mood-setting live music from Savannah legends, Brett Barnard and The Hitman Band. It is often said that a good bourbon blend is not just its warm finish, but the journey through different flavor profiles that lead you there. Let John & Tony lead you to an evening of making Bourbon fun, informative and approachable. Don’t miss your chance to support local, mingle and educate yourself in the process. Follow Bourbon & Blues on social media, so you don’t miss a single event: IG & FB @bourbonbluessavannah
Tell us the concept behind B&B?
Well, the concept is truly about bringing people together. To us, it seems that people connect over good food, good drinks and good music, no matter their backgrounds. We love having a good time eating and drinking with friends new and old, and both discovered a love for bourbons and whiskeys. There seemed to be a community in Savannah who were interested in the same things, so we thought – let’s turn more people on to something we like and bring more people into this bourbon community! The name Bourdon & Blues was basically John’s idea after enjoying an incredible evening of food, cocktails and blues music. The concept is to have bourbon tastings around Savannah where distillers can come and introduce their spirits and give a little history of their products and patrons can taste, learn, and mingle in a perfect setting. Some events will include vendors, live music, and things of that sort.
Please tell us about what people can expect from one of your events?
Not every event will be the same, but every one of them will involve learning about and tasting bourbons and/or whiskeys—things like how they’re made, what makes a whiskey a bourbon, what pairs well with it, how is this one made vs. another one…eating small bites, listening to music and hanging out with friends. We hope to introduce distillers, sometimes have speakers who are industry professionals, new spirits coming into the market, as well as, old favorites. We’re conceiving some really different things, but basically we want to make bourbon fun, informative and approachable.
What is the best way for people to keep up with all the fun that B&B is bringing to Savannah?
Currently, we’re in the process of enhancing our social media accounts and website (IG and FB @bourbonbluessavannah). For now, Eventbrite will showcase all our upcoming events.
What are some of your favorite bourbons and are you planning on showcasing a wide variety?
Some of our favorites include Uncle Nearest, Jefferson’s Ocean, Gentleman Jack, Woodford Reserve, Elijah Craig, and Oak & Eden, but our list is growing longer! We’re definitely planning to showcase a variety, beginning with some made here in the Low Country that we just learned about. We’re really excited to introduce new ones that are just coming into the market, as well.
Can you give our readers a little teaser as to what to expect in the future from B&B?
Well, we’re actively focusing on the possibility of starting monthly tastings. We haven’t worked out the details yet, but the goal is to curate something unique that will surely spark interest. What we’ve learned is that there are so many stories that need to be told about bourbon & whiskey. Stories about distilleries, cocktails, the blues, paring between spirits and food, master distillers, the spirit-making process and so much more.
What do you love about Savannah?
Savannah is quaint yet transformative, historic yet modern in some respects. After living away for so many years, dealing with the rat race of bigger cities, being re-immersed into a slower pace and a friendlier environment has been wonderful. When John began traveling for work, people would ask, “Where are you from?” When he’d answer “Savannah,” the person’s response was always “We love that city!” Because of that, he began to not just live in Savannah, but to LIVE in Savannah and no longer take for granted the charm of the city where he’s lived all his life. Both of us love the Southern charm with a touch of sophistication that is everywhere here, especially in the people. The people we’ve met here, both transplants and locals, are what makes it. Yep, I love the people here.
What makes you feel most accomplished?
We both agree that we feel accomplished when we’re able to pay forward our gifts – making someone feel special, making someone smile, making connections between people, lifting people’s spirits.
If you only had one night to spend in Savannah…what would you do?
There are so many great gems in Savannah its very difficult to narrow down, but for me, it would start with a great meal. My top picks would be the Emporium at the Perry Lane, The Grey with Mashama Bailey, Common Thread on 37th Street, or Local 11ten near Forsyth Park. After dinner, I’d hit one of the roof tops for a view of the city and a night cap– a bourbon, neat. For John, he’d do the same, but instead of a rooftop, he’d be listening to live music, enjoying a nice walk through the squares and making a new friend.