Central Kentucky is bourbon country and partaking in the honey-colored drink is an essential part of local lore and legend. To take in the best of bourbon, try the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. The trail features entrepreneurs, as well as families keeping their traditions alive.
Grab a passport at one of the distilleries to keep track of all 10 stamps necessary to receiving your julep cup that is a gift to commemorate your visit. The 10 stops on the tour and their finer details are included below.
1. Barrel House Distilling Co.
Barrel House Distilling Co. in Lexington began as an idea tossed around by a group of friends to start a small-batch distillery. The distillery started by making a high quality sipping bourbon of a proof that true bourbon lovers would appreciate.
2. Corsair Artisan Distillery
Childhood friends Darek Bell and Andrew Webber began their business in a garage, and now their Corsair Distillery has been praised in publications like Food and Wine, Saveur and Maxim.
They’ve also won 41 medals at international spirits competitions. The distillery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday for tours.
3. Limestone Branch Distillery
Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon offers tours of the grounds seven days a week.
They distill their products the old-fashioned way, so you can see an American tradition firsthand and sample the various flavors of Sugar*Shine and try their Sugar*Shine Balls. Think rum balls, but tastier.
4. MB Roland Distillery
MB Roland Distillery was founded by Paul and Merry Beth (“MB”) Tomaszewski in 2009 as Kentucky’s first completely “grain to glass” craft distillery. Located in Pembroke, distillery tours and tastings are offered year-round, free of charge.
They also offer a special “Distiller’s Tour” by appointment for a more in-depth explanation of the distillery. Go on a Saturday for Pickin’ on the Porch for musical entertainment.
5. New Riff Distilling
New Riff Distilling opened in spring 2014 in Newport. Their distillery is where “the shared passions for spirits, collaboration and creating the unexpected intertwine, and new time-honored traditions are born.” Tours are free.
6. The Old Pogue Bourbon Distillery
Old Pogue Bourbon in Maysville is steeped in history. In 1876, the original Pogue distillery, Kentucky third registered distillery, was established near a site often said to be the location of Kentucky’s first bourbon distillery.
Currently, the distillery is run by 5th and 6th generations of the Pogue family, and is solely owned and operated by family members.
7. Wilderness Trail Distillery
Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville is the first craft distillery rickhouse built in Kentucky. The traditional rickhouse design is able to store 2,100 barrels over two floors of three tiers each, for a natural consistent and aging environment.
8. Willett Distillery
The Willet Distillery history began shortly after the Civil War when John David Willett began the Willett distilling tradition in Kentucky. Located in Bardstown, the distillery offers two tour options of the distillery and grounds of a tasting with or without a souvenir Willett Distillery glass.
9. Hartfield & Co.
Hartfield & Co., formerly The Gentleman, is a small batch distillery located in Paris. They are the first licensed distillery in Bourbon County since Prohibition forced the closure of the distilling industry in 1919.
Because they are small batch, they try to source locally for their ingredients as much as possible.
10. Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.
The “Peerless” legacy began in the heart of Henderson in the 1880s by Henry Kraver who made the first Peerless Whiskey.
After ceasing operations during Prohibition, the label was dormant until the winter of 2014/2015. It is being revived by 4th and 5th generations of Kravers.