America's favorite pastime just got a little more spirited with a new partnership between Hopkinsville's Casey Jones Distillery and the Bowling Green Hot Rods, a Minor League Baseball team and Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Hopkinsville distillery will serve as the title sponsor of the Hot Rods "Bootlegger Nights" for the 2019 season. The first Bootlegger game is April 25 against the Lansing Lugnuts.

"This is a great opportunity for us to have expansion of our product and our name in a great, family-type sporting venue with a partnership in another area which regionalizes Casey Jones Distillery," said Peg Hays, business co-founder. "It allows us to have more distribution and it will also allow people to see what a great product we have in a larger area."

To seal the deal, Hays said her husband and business co-founder, Arlon Casey Jones, came up with a unique idea.

"We signed our contract on one of their baseballs … to solidify the deal," she said.

To commemorate the partnership, Hays said the Hot Rods baseball, a couple of jerseys and other memorabilia will be on display at the distillery, 2815 Witty Lane.

According to a release, the first "Bootlegger Night" in 2016 featured a complete rebranding of the Hot Rods team as the Bowling Green Bootleggers for a single night. The concept earned the Hot Rods the MiLBY award for top promotion. This season's Bootlegger Nights fall on Thursday nights.

"It's an exciting partnership that we have built with them. It's unique,"

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said Kyle Wolz, Bowling Green Hot Rods director of sales. "We actually have a rival that we play against in Peoria (Illinois -Chiefs). They play as the Distillers. We were looking for someone to fit the image we were portraying. What a better fit than Casey Jones."

In addition to the sponsorship, Hot Rods fans will be able to buy Casey Jones Distillery spirits starting April 6, opening day. The Hot Rods play the Dayton Dragons.

Guests may purchase the full suite of small batch, craft moonshine produced by Casey Jones Distillery, as well as several flavored Moonaritas during every Thursday, Friday and Saturday home games.

"The Hot Rods will be adding a branded mini bar constructed from used Casey Jones Distillery barrels in the main stadium entrance, as well as point-of-sale access for attendees on the concourse and Rhinehardt club," according to a release.

Hays thanked the community for its support.

"We want this to be a good thing, not just for Casey Jones Distillery, but for everybody in the Hopkinsville area. We'll all get to share in this good news together," she said. "I'm hoping this will also bring some Bowling Green people to Hopkinsville."

Wolz said the Hot Rods are looking forward to the partnership with Casey Jones.

"There's very few (businesses) that are in baseball that fit the theme that we're doing," he said. "To build this brand and to continue growing it, it's definitely great to have a partner like them on board."

Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or mvowell@kentuckynewera.com.

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