Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 09:39 UK

Louisville tastes victory in twin search

The towns are united by their use of the grain

They may be almost 4,000 miles and an ocean apart but a small town in County Antrim is now toasting a twin in the United States of America.

Louisville, Kentucky, has emerged the winner in the search for a twin for Bushmills in County Antrim.

In addition to the title, Louisville also takes home a grant to advance local culture and funding for a responsible drinking program.

The city was picked after an online poll marking the 400th anniversary of the original licence to distill granted to Bushmills, home of one of Ireland's famed whiskey producers.

More than 55,000 votes were cast, and Louisville emerged the clear champion.

Mayor Jerry Abramson said they were excited at the win.

"This distinction provides a great opportunity to share with the world Louisville's winning personality, which mixes small-town pride and hospitality with big-city spirit to prove that anything is possible," he said.

Gordon Donoghue, director of Bushills Irish Whiskey, presented Mayor Abramson with the grant for Louisville.

They also exchanged whiskey barrels, signifying the partnership between Bushmills and Louisville, two of the great whiskey capitals of the world.

Old Bushmills Distillery is providing 12,000 towards the construction by Moyle District Council of a new footbridge across the River Bush.

The funding will go towards theming the bridge to reflect the great distilling heritage of the village and surrounding area.

Louisville has a population of 256,231 compared to the 1,319 inhabitants of Bushmills.

It was first settled by Europeans in 1778 and named in honour of King Louis XVI of France, whose soldiers at the time were aiding Americans in the Revolutionary War.

One third of all of the bourbon whiskey made in the US comes from the city.

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