About Kim Huston

Kim Huston - Author

Kim Huston is an award-winning economic development professional who has spent 30 years in community development in Bardstown, the last 22 years as the President of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency. Her efforts helped to bring in $1.8 billion of economic investment to Bardstown and Nelson County. She spends her days persuading people to fall in love with Bardstown, whether it’s to locate a corporation, relocate their family or just visit for a few days and woos you with her best southern hospitality and good Nelson County bourbon. A vital part of the unprecedented economic growth of Bardstown and Nelson County, Kim works side-by-side with City and County officials, making Bardstown one of the most celebrated communities in the U.S.  Bardstown’s accolades come from national media including the New York Times, Forbes, Southern Living, Garden and Gun, Travel and Leisure and Site Selection Magazine, just to name a few.

After retiring in 2024, Kim has dedicated herself to assisting various communities in developing economic development structure and fostering community efforts and uses her proven knowledge and success to help communities in assessing their strengths and opportunities. Kim has consulted in 10 states in the U.S. and spent two weeks in Australia speaking to communities and regions sharing regional economic development ideas.

Additionally, Kim shares insights with groups about her first-hand knowledge of the resurgence of bourbon industry as well as its impact on her community, renowned as the Bourbon Capital of the World.

To learn more about how Kim can help your community, contact her at kimhustonllc@gmail.com.

Some of Kim’s Speaking Engagements

  • Kentucky County Judges Association
  • Blueprint Jurian Bay – Jurian Bay, Australia
  • Kentucky League of Cities
  • Villagewell Small Town Conference – Melbourne, Australia
  • Creative Cities Conference – Lexington, Kentucky
  • Wheatbelt Development Commission – Northam, Australia
  • Create West Virginia – Huntington, West Virginia
  • Caldwell County Area Business Association – Breckenridge, Missouri
  • State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Summit – Orlando, Florida
  • Rural Partners of Michigan – Thompsonville, Michigan
  • Governor’s Conference on Rural Development – Kearney, Nebraska
  • North Augusta South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
  • Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs – Macom, Illinois
  • Dickinson State University – Dickinson, North Dakota
  • Main Street North Dakota Summit – Bismarck, North Dakota

About the Books

BARDSTOWN, by Kim Huston


What was it that gained Bardstown the national recognition as the “Most Beautiful Small Town in America”? Picture a place so unique that church steeples dot the skyline and bourbon warehouses pepper the landscape.

No other book has taken you on such a visual journey of Bardstown as it extends far past historical treasures. BARDSTOWN brings the town to life and takes you from the downtown to the farmland with images of events and celebrations and many stunning never-seen-before aerial views.

Author Kim Huston chronicles her love affair with Bardstown with 161 poignant images from the most talented photographers who call Bardstown and Nelson County home. They capture the essence of the personality and soul of this enchanting small town and illustrate what makes Bardstown such an inviting place to spend a day or maybe even a lifetime.

Small Town Sexy, by Kim Huston

Small Town Sexy, the Allure of Living in Small Town America

Small town America has a seductive allure according to economic developer and author Kim Huston of Bardstown, Kentucky who tells all in her popular book SMALL TOWN SEXY, the allure of living in small town America.

Are small towns sexy? Absolutely! Author and speaker Kim Huston refers to the word “sexy” as being an interesting, engaging, pleasing and fascinating place to live work and play.

SMALL TOWN SEXY is a book you will not be able to put down once you start it and if you don’t already live in a small town, it will have you packing your bags.

This book features some of Kim’s stories and experiences as a life-long small town aficionado. Small Town Sexy is not a travel guide or a book of rankings or statistics, but a book that highlights the attributes of small towns and discusses day-to-day challenges. She wants all to know that small America is not your ‘Mayberry’ anymore and that you CAN do big business in a small town.

REBIRTH OF BOURBON, by Steve Coomes, Kim Huston and Michael Mangeot

Rebirth of Bourbon: Building a Tourism Economy in Small Town U.S.A.

Bourbon’s popularity is now a global phenomenon, but you need only look at Bardstown, Kentucky, to see its remarkable and evolving impacts. This historic city of 13,500 people is booming as a result, but it’s also enduring growing pains.

The economic impacts from a massive influx of tourists to what is now America’s bourbon epicenter are positive on many levels, but with those crowds comes pressure on infrastructure, services and accommodations. The demand for hotels, bars and restaurants is at an all-time high, and investors from across the globe are addressing those needs.

Still, as a two-century-old Kentucky cultural and entertainment center – long before it was discovered by bourbon drinkers – many locals want to ensure the traditional Bardstown experience doesn’t disappear amid novel entertainment options.

The Rebirth of Bourbon tells the story of the rising popularity of bourbon and the opportunities, challenges, traditions, and most importantly, people who have pushed the industry forward in Bardstown. Many of the most popular names in bourbon today contributed quotes, stories, and their memories of the rise of the bourbon industry.

In the News

Governor names Kim Huston as chairman of Tourism Development Finance Authority

Gov. Andy Beshear has named Kim Huston as chair of the state’s Tourism Development Finance Authority. The authority is relatively new, being created by the 2021 Kentucky General Assembly and soon to celebrate its second year in existence.[READ MORE]

Kentucky Press Association

Small WA towns need big plans to grow

Small towns that want to be tourist hotspots need to think regionally not just locally, says visiting small-town expert Kim Huston. The US author and economic development expert is making the 18,000km trip from the Kentucky town of Bardstown to Jurien Bay next week with a message, as the town wrestles with the problem of how to make itself stand out on a coast full of small towns in search of tourist dollars.[READ MORE]

The West Australian

A Wild Ride for Kim Huston

It’s been a wild ride for Kim Huston in her role as President of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency. Bardstown, Kentucky, known as “The Bourbon Capital of the World,” is located in Nelson County and, over the past decade, growth and development in the county has been almost non-stop, due primarily to the increasing popularity and impact of the bourbon industry.[WATCH]

Brindiamo Group

Kim Huston announces April retirement as chief of economic development efforts

After nearly 30 years working in local economic development, Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency and the Bardstown Industrial Development Corporation announced Thursday her plan to retire Thursday, April 11, 2024.[READ MORE]

Nelson County Gazette

The Definitive Coffee Table Book

…like a good coffee table book, it’s a book you literally want to get your hands on. It’s a hefty, full color book with the word BARDSTOWN embossed on its cover. In other words it not only looks good but it feels good in your hands. You’ll want to pour your favorite bourbon neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail and daydream about visiting this beautiful small town. [READ MORE]

The Distillery Trail

Captures the Beauty and Elegance of our Town!

This book “Bardstown” captures the pictorial beauty and elegance of our town. I am certain residents and visitors alike have enjoyed the people, places and things presented in this wonderful publication. Now we can all have this at our fingertips.

Dick Heaton, Mayor of Bardstown

A Whirlwind Tour of Kim’s Romance with Small Towns

Small Town Sexy by Kim Huston. It’s a whirlwind tour of Kim’s romance with small towns. From her window on the world in small town Kentucky, she offers up a sample of small town living, festivals, economic development, and the ever present town characters. It’s fun.

Becky McCray, Small Business Survival

Kim Huston Speaks at WKU Idea Festival

Author Kim Huston presents “Small Town Sexy” at IdeaFestival Bowling Green, Kentucky.[WATCH NOW]

Western Kentucky University Idea Festival

One of America’s Most Beautiful Small Towns!

Bardstown deserves the title as one of America’s most beautiful small towns and its only right that there should be a book to document the fact.  BEAUTIFUL!

Steve Vest, Editor/Publisher, Kentucky Monthly Magazine

Kentucky by Heart

The colorful images provide astute narratives in the seeing… and will provoke a stirring interest in wading into greater depths of understanding for this west-central Kentucky hotbed off Martha Layne Collins Parkway. [READ MORE]

Steve Flairty, Author, Northern Kentucky Tribune

The Napa-fication of Bardstown

New book contrasts bourbon industry with growth of California’s wine country… Bardstown’s story is just as fascinating and is one that people need to know. This book will keep the reader entertained throughout with interviews with every major name in the bourbon history and then some.

The Kentucky Standard

Photo Book Captures Beauty of Bardstown

Even for those that have lived their entire lives in Bardstown, the book offers some unique angles – some from a bird’s eye view – of sights they likely pass by every day and go unnoticed. [READ MORE]

The Kentucky Standard

Buy The Books

BARDSTOWN, by Kim Huston
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SMALL TOWN SEXY, by Kim Huston
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REBIRTH OF BOURBON, by Steve Coomes, Kim Huston and Michael Mangeot
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Contact Kim Huston