Woodford Reserve Case Study: $1K Mint Julep Packaging
woodford reserve mint julep kentucky derby boxes

Keeping Tradition During an Unprecedented Year

2020 marks the 15th year of Woodford Reserve’s $1,000 Mint Julep Cup. This year, however, there were some significant changes to the tradition.

First, the drink included a sample of blackberry preserves to display the colors of the first female jockey to race in the Derby, Diane Crump. Second, this year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Derby was postponed until September and fans were not permitted at the event.

“This year due to Covid-19 and execution at the track cancelled, we needed to find a way to bring the cups and ingredients to the consumer’s homes,” explains Susan Banet of Brown-Forman.

After the decision was made to keep fans and vendors from the track during the 146th Kentucky Derby, Brown-Forman needed to pivot their plans quickly. They partnered with Vivid Impact to complete the project in a quick timeline.

“We had many challenges on this project – the most important being a quick timeline due to the decision to not execute our events at the track. We also had to make as much communication as possible virtual,” Susan commented. “Vivid was chosen by our meeting planning team for their excellent reputation on previous work done with the company.”

Brown-Forman brought the “kit” pieces to Vivid with the urgent request for creative, die-layouts, printing and finishing. The Structural Engineering team developed the packaging, and then worked with Creative to develop a clean, elegant design for client approval. Not long after, the kits were ready for the manufacturing process and were shipped to Woodford Reserve in time for the Derby.

“Teamwork was the answer on this particular project,” explains Rich Riley, Senior Account Executive at Vivid. “We demonstrated what we could do in a short period of time and brought all departments together to achieve something that might otherwise be impossible.”

The $1K Mint Julep Program holds special significance as it generates PR both locally and nationwide for the Woodford Reserve brand. Many customers look forward to purchasing the collectible cups every year as a pre-order or on the day of the Derby.

Utilizing Vivid’s one-stop shop for creative and manufacturing, Brown-Forman was able to safely deliver the cups to their loyal customers and fans in time for race day.

“The $1K Mint Julep Boxes exceeded our expectations. They were not only aesthetically pleasing, but served a dual purpose of shipping everything safely.” -Susan Banet, Brown-Forman

More on the Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Cup


Louisville, Kentucky (August 3, 2020) — It’s been 50 years since Jockey Diane Crump became the first female to ride in The Kentucky Derby® — and this year’s Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program celebrates that milestone.

Crump rode Fathom in the 1970 Derby and, although the thoroughbred finished 15th, Crump rode into history. Crump lives in Virginia and remains involved in the horse industry.

“The $1,000 Mint Julep program has become a cherished Derby tradition — and this year we are honored to mark an important moment in Derby history while also raising money for charity,” Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris said.

A total of 146 julep cups — celebrating Derby 146 — go on sale on Monday, August 3 at  Cups numbered 1-25 are gold-plated (and sell for $2,500 each) while cups 26-146 are silver-plated (and sell for $1,000).

In years past, anyone who purchased a julep cup could only pick it up on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. Due to the global pandemic, the cups and will be sent directly to consumers and Morris will conduct a virtual julep experience on Derby Day, which has been postponed this year to Saturday, September 5, 2020.

Proceeds from the cup sales will be donated in Crump’s honor to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

The cups feature etchings of the jockey silks worn in 1970 by Crump, along with the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. They are nestled in a walnut case with a replica of turquoise and white silks that Crump wore that historic day.

The cups have special meaning to Woodford Reserve and its parent company, Brown-Forman, which this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Fathom was owned by a Brown family member — W.L. Lyons Brown. Mr. Brown’s son, Owsley Brown II, created Woodford Reserve in 1996.

The cups were designed and handcrafted by From the Vault Jewelers in Louisville, Ky. and the silks for the walnut containers were made by Bourbon Cousins of Cincinnati.

Diane Crump Blackberry Mint Julep 

(blackberry is the official fruit of Kentucky)

  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 1 barspoon Blackberry Preserves
  • 1 barspoon Simple Syrup
  • Mint Bitters
  • Fresh Blackberries and Mint Sprigs, for garnish
  • Crushed Ice

At the bottom of the julep cup mix 1 bar spoon of blackberry preserves and 1 bar spoon of simple syrup. Add 2 – 4 dashes of mint bitters. Fill two-thirds of cup with crushed ice. Add sipping straw and Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Top off cup with more crushed ice (packed in). Top with fresh blackberries and a sprig of mint to garnish. Put the mint near the straw, so the smell enhances each sip. Enjoy!