Kentucky Derby Festival Events
2021 Derby Burger Winner

Brian Capps of Louisville, KY, has been crowned the 2021 Derby Burger Champion in the 10th Annual Derby Burger Challenge, sponsored by Kentucky Beef Council and coordinated by the Kentucky Derby Festival. Capps’ recipe for his “Bourbon Blueberry & Brie Bacon Cheeseburger” was selected as the overall winner after two rounds of online voting.


Capps’ burger, made with 100% Kentucky Cattlemen’s ground beef is packed with flavor. The patty is topped with brie, thick-cut bacon, a blueberry bourbon sauce and arugula – all on a brioche bun. This is Capps second time entering the annual burger competition. Capps says his specialty is burgers, and the inspiration for this winning recipe came from a special grilled cheese.


“I make my wife a blueberry and brie grilled cheese, which is her favorite thing in the world. She asked me to turn it into a burger and submit it for the challenge. So, I made the burger,” said Capps.


The Festival received dozens of submissions for the annual competition. Due to restrictions surrounding COVID-19, the 2021 competition was held completely online, instead of hosting an in-person cook-off. Over the last few weeks, more than 11,000 beef lovers have voted online to help pick the Top 8 semi-finalists, Top 4 finalists and the winning burger.


Capps’ winning burger recipe will be featured inside Louisville-area Kroger stores from April 21st through Derby weekend. Recipe cards will be available, as well as a showcase of ingredients for shoppers to purchase to make their own Derby Burgers.


Burger fans also have a chance to try the 2021 Derby Burger in person. Capps’ winning burger recipe will be a featured menu item at 80/20 @ Kaelin’s from April 21st until May 2nd.  To make a reservation or order online, visit or call (502) 200-8020.


Capps also receives a 2021 Kentucky Derby Festival Official Poster, as well as a $100 gift certificate to Kroger and a grilling package, including a grill, from Kentucky Beef Council and a local brewery tour for two. Plus, the winning recipe will be promoted on Kentucky Derby Festival and Kentucky Beef Council websites and social media channels.


Other finalists this year included Charli McIlvain of Lexington with the Hall’s Original Beer Cheese “Dirty” Burger, Dallas McGarity of Louisville with the Double Smashburger on Brioche Bun with Tasty Pickles and Timothy Armistead of Louisville with the Elote (Mexican Corn) Burger.


More information about the Derby Burger Challenge and past winners can be found online at