Churchill Downs announces Woodford Reserve as new presenting sponsor of Kentucky Derby

10/25/2017 10:37 AM

Woodford Reserve is the new presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs announced on Wednesday.

Brown-Forman’s bourbon has been the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby” since 1999. It’s five-year presenting sponsorship makes it only the second in the Derby’s 144-year history.

“I don’t recall any of us imagining that in one generation’s time, Woodford Reserve would develop into such a brand that it could today present the Kentucky Derby, which we consider to be one of the premiere events in all of sports and entertainment,” said Paul Varga, Brown-Forman Chief Executive Officer. “So today represents a very important milestone for our company.”

The Kentucky Derby’s presenting sponsorship was created in 2006 and began with Yum! Brands. In announcing Brown-Forman’s new role, Bill Carstanjen, Chief Executive Officer of Churchill Downs, Inc., thanked Yum! Brands for its partnership.

“The initial focus of our sponsorship in 2006 was to leverage the Kentucky Derby’s global TV audience to build awareness with individual investors who knew our well-known restaurant brands but not Yum!,” said Greg Creed, Chief Executive Officer of Yum! Brands. “Since then, Yum!’s visibility has grown significantly and we’ve shifted our marketing focus to our brands. We’re pleased to pass the torch to Brown-Forman, another Louisville original.”

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