Basil Hayden: The Official American Whiskey of Michelin Guide USA

Basil Hayden, the official American Whiskey of Michelin Guide US. Courtesy

In a bit of an interesting revelation, Basil Hayden has been announced as the Official American Whiskey of the Michelin Guide USA.

Michelin Guide is kind of like the Academy Awards for restaurant recognition. The highly coveted 3 star award scale system goes back to 1936, founded initially in Europe. The MG USA didn’t hit the states until 2005. A dram of irony, yes, the namesake is en-tire-ly after the tire company who created it as a roadside guide for dining excellence.


  •  * “A very good restaurant in its category” (Une très bonne table dans sa catégorie)
  •  ** “Excellent cooking, worth a detour” (Table excellente, mérite un détour)
  •  *** “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” (Une des meilleures tables, vaut le voyage).

This is an upper echelon chess move by Beam Suntory owned Basil, we kinda like it. Woodford has tied itself in the past to the James Beard Foundation. As has Rabbit Hole Distillery more recently. In 2019, Maker’s Mark had an “official partnership” with Bravo’s Top Chef. But outside of Knob Creek, there hasn’t been a whole lot of publicity and partnerships spotted with the James Beam Small Batch Portfolio.

Basil Hayden is in that category of a nice every day sipper. It’s 80 proof, quite approachable. And with a price point in the low $30’s, that makes it very approachable. It’s nice to see approachable pair with the perhaps unapproachable status of the MG, a good balance if you will.


“Consumers seek out MICHELIN and Basil Hayden for similar reasons: They want an elevated experience,” said Cara Cornelius, vice president of food and travel experiences for MICHELIN Americas. “We know; however, people sometimes assume these experiences are out of reach, kept behind an expensive bill or impossible reservations. Our goal for this new partnership is to bring MICHELIN-level events to the consumer and show how sophistication and quality can be enjoyed by all.”

One of the most anticipated events is an immersive “tasting garden” that will travel to popular food festivals across the U.S. Kicking off this June, the co-branded footprint will feature a diner-inspired exterior that gives way to a surprise, high-end cocktail bar where attendees of legal purchase age or older will enjoy Basil Hayden craft cocktails paired with MICHELIN-inspired small bites. Designed as an inclusive entry point into the world of Basil Hayden and the MICHELIN Guide, attendees will depart having discovered perfect pairings and new occasions for bourbon.

In addition to the pop-ups, Basil Hayden will serve as an official partner of the 2023 MICHELIN Guide ceremonies and will present the MICHELIN Exceptional Cocktails Award. The partnership will also include a suite of initiatives, including a sweepstakes where a lucky winner will get to experience a MICHELIN Star weekend – inclusive of fine dining and luxury accommodations.

Jonathan Marks, senior marketing director for Global Small Batch Bourbon at Beam Suntory, shares excitement for the collaboration. “We are honored to be the official American whiskey of the MICHELIN Guide. Both the MICHELIN Guide and Basil Hayden celebrate excellence in our craft and create unique experiences for consumers, making this the perfect partnership. At Basil Hayden, we aim to unlock experiences to make them accessible and approachable – just like our whiskey. Basil Hayden’s refined yet welcoming taste profile makes it appeal to both whiskey novices and seasoned bourbon drinkers,” Marks said.

The Basil Hayden and MICHELIN Guide pop-up tour kicks off this summer and will continue through the fall. The 2023 tour stops and dates are as follows.

2023 Tour Stops
Chicago, IL – Taste of Randolph, Jun 16-18
Denver, CO – Cherry Creek Arts Festival, July 1-3
Louisville, KY – Bourbon & Beyond, Sept 14-17
Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Sept 21-24
New York, NY – New York City Wine & Food Festival, Oct 12-15
San Diego, CA – San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, Nov 11

For more info on Basil Hayden, please visit

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