Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon where distillers have been crafting batches large and small since the 18th century and thus perfecting it for over 200 years. With the world’s interest in America’s only native spirit is booming, craft distillers are popping up in other parts of the country, but Kentucky still produces 95% of the supply making it bourbon’s true homeplace. Bourbon tourism is thriving in Louisville with a barrel of visitor attractions. Ten area distillery experiences are available for attendees to visit including:
KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL® WELCOME CENTER, FRAZIER HISTORY MUSEUM
The Frazier History Museum is where the world meets Kentucky. Located on Museum Row in the Bourbon District of downtown Louisville, the Frazier documents and reinterprets stories from history using artifacts, gallery talks, and live daily interpretations by staff. With the opening of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center and The Spirit of Kentucky® exhibit, the Frazier is the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, a project launched in 1999 by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.
ANGEL’S ENVY DISTILLERY
Angel’s Envy is a labor of love from multiple generations of the Henderson family. Visit the distillery across the street from Louisville Slugger Field to get an up-close look at the entire operation, enjoy a tasting in the Finishing Room, a cocktail at the private bar and the opportunity to bottle your own port barrel-finished Bourbon.
RABBIT HOLE DISTILLING
Set in Louisville’s NuLu neighborhood, the distillery showcases the identity, tradition and legacy of Bourbon making in an entirely new way. Rabbit Hole wants guests to get lost in the magic and linger in the light-filled distillery with amazing views of the city, river, bridges and distilling operation. Guests can also indulge at a curated tasting bar.
KENTUCKY PEERLESS DISTILLING CO.
The first Peerless whiskey went into a barrel in 1889 and now the Taylor family has revitalized the brand at their distillery right off Main Street. At this state-of-the-art facility you can authentically experience the entire whiskey-making process as the grains are milled, cooked, fermented, double-stilled and barreled as Bourbon and Rye.
EVAN WILLIAMS BOURBON EXPERIENCE
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience was the first distillery to open on Whiskey Row since Prohibition, signaling a whole new era in Bourbon City. Here you’ll find an immersive tourism experience that celebrates the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first distiller and namesake of Heaven Hill’s flagship Bourbon brand, and the intertwined history of Bourbon and the Ohio River city.
MICHTER’S FORT NELSON DISTILLERY
Michter’s saved and renovated the historically and architecturally significant Fort Nelson Building on Louisville’s Museum Row. The painstaking attention to detail is seen in the development of their downtown distillery and visitor experience, as well as Michter’s portfolio of Ryes and Bourbons.
OLD FORESTER DISTILLING CO.
Returning to the same building it once called home, Old Forester Distilling Co. is the culmination of a nearly 150-year legacy. On the tour you’ll follow the Bourbon-making process from fermentation and distillation, to the on-site cooperage where barrels are handcrafted and fired, then filled and aged in an on-site warehouse before being bottled.
JIM BEAM URBAN STILLHOUSE
The Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse, conveniently located in the 4th Street Live! Entertainment district, is a micro-version of the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Ky. You’ll find a small working distillery, bottling line, tasting experience and you can bottle you own Bourbon with product selected exclusively for this location.
STITZEL WELLER EXPERIENCE
Located in Southwestern Louisville at the site of the legendary Stitzel Weller Distillery. Tours include a stop at the warehouse where rickhousing was invented; a time capsule look at a 1935 barrel cooperate; and a stop in Bourbon legend Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle’s former office before a tasting.
COPPER & KINGS
Copper & Kings is an American Brandy, Absinthe and Gin distillery located in Louisville’s historic Butchertown neighborhood. Take a tour of the modern, eco-friendly distillery, which includes a stunning outdoor courtyard, production floor and the maturation cellar (where you’ll find barrels aging to the sounds of rock music). Cap off the tour at ALEX&NDER, a rooftop bar boasting stunning views of downtown Louisville.
URBAN BOURBON TRAIL
In addition to visiting distilleries, the Urban Bourbon Trail® (UBT) offers a cocktail and culinary experience highlighting Louisville’s most celebrated Bourbon bars and restaurants. If you’re more into the eating and drinking portions of your Bourbon discovery, the UBT is an ideal complement to your distillery tour lineup. Each of the nearly 50 stops along the trail has at least 60 Bourbons on its menu. (And if the establishment serves food, you’ll also find Bourboninspired dishes, too). The digital UBT Passport is your guide to Louisville’s most spirited bars and restaurants. After making a purchase in at least 6 locations, head to the Louisville Visitor Center at 301 S. 4th Street to claim a well-deserved prize as an Urban Bourbon Trailblazer.
Snap a selfie at some of the Bourbon-centric art around the city, including the Barrel sculpture at 4th and Main Streets; the Wall Street of Whiskey mural at 3rd and Jefferson streets; or the Tom Bullock mural located outside Sway restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Louisville, which pays tribute to one of the city’s legendary pre-Prohibition bartenders.
EAT YOUR BOURBON
A variety of candy makers, chocolatiers, culinary shops and gourmet foods are produced with products that reflect the rich heritage of Kentucky's Bourbon Country.