Kentucky’s most famous export, bourbon, has been experiencing something of a renaissance over the last ten years or so, with sales skyrocketing all over the world and the drink adopting a whole new image. A big part of this has been the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a tour established by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association back in 1999 which has been attracting more and more people each year.
One of the effects of this has been that a number of Kentucky cities and towns are seeing an increased influx of tourists and if we are being totally honest, these towns and these distilleries deserve it. At the moment, the trail consists of nine primary destinations, scattered all over Kentucky, giving you the opportunity not only to enjoy the different types of bourbon being manufactured there, but also exposing you to an oft-overlooked beauty of Kentuckian countryside and the cities and towns that boast these distilleries.
Two of the distilleries are located in Lawrenceburg. They are the Four Roses and the Wild Turkey distilleries, and they offer tours of their property, sampling of their bourbons and so much more. Louisville is also home to two different destinations – the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience, housed at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery.
If you head out to Bardstown, you will find the Heaven Hill’s visitor center, where you can learn about this company and their history. If you are a fan of Jim Beam, you will love their distillery in Clermont and if your bourbon of choice is Maker’s Mark, then make sure to find your way to Loretto. The Woodford Reserve Distillery is located near Versailles. In Lexington, you will find the Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company.
If you are more interested in smaller bourbon manufacturers and their distilleries, there is also the Craft Tour which, at the moment includes the following distilleries – Barrel House in Lexington, Corsair Artisan in Bowling Green, Limestone Branch in Lebanon, MB Roland in Pembroke, New Riff in Newport, Old Pogue in Maysville, Wilderness Trace in Danville and Willet in Bardstown.
Once you complete the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail and get your promotional passport validated in every distillery, you will receive a complementary T-shirt, confirming that you completed the tour and also that you are one hell of a bourbon aficionado. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is definitely one of the few truly American experiences and something everyone should experience at least once.