Meet Howard and Dee Dee Ford Keene: The Heart Behind The Business
Husband and wife duo, Howard and Dee Dee Ford Keene, own and operate the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace and the Mary May House Bed & Breakfast, located at 110 West Flaget. The Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace opened during Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2013. They carry upscale Bourbon related gifts/souvenirs, Bourbon gourmet foods and candies, as well as have a Boutique Bourbon Liquor Store and a Bar and Tasting Room with a patio. The Keene’s decided to open their business due to a lack of Bourbon themed upscale gifts and souvenirs in the “Bourbon Capital of the World”. There was nowhere one could go to do a bourbon tasting (other than the specific distillery), receive bourbon education and partake in quality classic and gourmet cocktails. The Mary May House Bed and Breakfast opened 3 years later, as tourisms demand for rooms grew in Historic Bardstown. From day one, the Keene’s knew they wanted their business to be located in Downtown Bardstown, because it is in the Heart of Bourbon Country!
The Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace has won several awards. In 2016, KBM won the Ky Bourbon Festival’s Mixed Drink Challenge, with a drink Howard developed, “The Bardstown Bubbler”, becoming the Official Drink of the 2016 Kentucky Bourbon Festival. The Bourbon Review magazine named Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace one of the top 80 Best Bourbon Bars in the United States. The Kentucky Standard named them the “Best Bourbon Bar of Bardstown/Nelson County”. They have been awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor for consistently achieving high ratings from travelers.
Howard was born and raised in Bardstown. In addition to his duties at the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace, Howard has been a Banker in Bardstown for over 25 years and is currently Vice President of Commercial Lending for Wesbanco. Dee Dee moved to Bardstown when she and Howard married in 2005. After a long career in banking, Dee Dee has been an entrepreneur for the last 9 years. Both, most recently served on the Bourbon Task Force, as well as serving on several committees/boards throughout Bardstown/Neslon County. Howard is currently President of the Bardstown Rotary Club. The Keene’s are the proud “parents” of a lively little 8 lb Maltese named Gracie!