New Bourbon Barrel Revealed Ahead Of Tennessee-Kentucky Game, All For A Good Cause

The owner of Sweetens Cove Spirits Company, Mark Rivers, created a special bourbon barrel to commemorate the Kentucky vs. Tennessee matchup today. Along with creating the barrel, all proceeds will go to a great cause for the winning team.

Founded by Rivers, with partners including Peyton Manning and Andy Roddick, the group also owns the Sweetens Cove golf course just outside Chattanooga. The group decided to name their bourbon after the scenic course.

Former Tennessee Quarterback Peyton Manning holding the ‘beer barrel’ trophy. (Courtesy of WKYT)

In the past the Kentucky-Tennessee winner would receive the ‘Beer Barrel’, a tradition that was started in 1925 between both teams. While discussing the details for auctioning off a barrel of bourbon, Rivers was excited to add a new touch to an old tradition.

“Like anybody in the state of Tennessee or Kentucky, we’re pretty excited about the game, paying more attention to it in some years maybe. It’s got a lot of energy around it with two cool programs, and it just also happens to be a year we launch a product called ‘Kennessee.’ It kind of took the whole rivalry between both schools and put it in a beautiful bottle of bourbon.”

The ‘Bourbon Barrel’ created by Mark Rivers for the Tennessee vs. Kentucky matchup.

But as kickoff in Knoxville continued to get closer, the tradition of the ‘Battle For The Barrel’ stuck with Rivers, who decided to create his own. The barrel will be auctioned off for charity to the winning team.

“We know the legacy of the old beer barrel and we choose to celebrate the game, understanding also why it went away,” Rivers said. “We’ve been thinking about it for a while and thought it would be fun to throw out the idea of playing for a bourbon barrel, which is a great industry in both states. We went and had one made, thought it would be fun to kind of share it around with friends and fans of the game. 

“We’ll find an organization somehow affiliated with that team and contribute a barrel’s worth of bourbon to the effort and have it auctioned off,” Rivers added. “The proceeds will go towards funding some scholarships for the winning school.”

Though the matchup is now called the ‘Border Battle’, both schools have a deep connection to the bourbon barrel.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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