Kentucky is well-known for its bourbon, one of the main ingredients of the Mint Julep a drink that is a staple at the Kentucky Derby, and is home to several bourbon distilleries, many of which are just a short drive from Louisville, Kentucky. If you are visiting the Louisville area you should definitely make plans to stop by one or all of the distilleries for a tour.
Heaven Hill Distillery
The Heaven Hill Distillery is located in Bardstown, which has been dubbed “The Bourbon Capital of the World”. At the Heaven Hill Distillery Bourbon Heritage Center you will find the world’s second largest supply of bourbon, and have the opportunity to visit exhibits featuring the birth of bourbon, learn about the lore of bourbon, visit a working Rickhouse, take a guided tasting of the distillery’s bourbon, and even have the opportunity to create your own personalized bottle to take home as a keepsake.
The Bourbon Heritage Center is open year round Tuesday thru Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, and from March until December on Sundays from 12 PM to 4 PM. Due to Kentucky’s laws there are no tastings or liquor product sales on Sundays. Tours run throughout the day, with the last tour leaving one hour before closing. Tours will take approximately one and a half to two hours. Tour admission and tastings are offered free of charge. For more information on tours call (502) 337-1000 or visit the Bourbon Heritage Center website.
Jim Beam Distillery
The Jim Beam Distillery is located in Clermont, just off of I-65 Exit 112 in Bullitt County. The distillery houses Jim Beam Distillery- American Outpost & Homestead where visitors can take self-guided tours through the distilling process and an 1800’s cooperage, a film presentation about the Beam family and the early history of bourbon is available and the Homestead offers a glimpse into the Beam family’s history. Tours of the Outpost and Homestead are open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM, and on Sunday from 1 PM to 4 PM, admission is free. For more on the Jim Beam Distillery you can call (502) 543-9877 or visit the Jim Beam website.
Woodford Reserve Distillery
The Woodford Reserve Distillery is located in Versailles. The Distillery offers three different tours, which are available for $5 for each adult, and free for visitors under the age of eighteen. Visitors can choose from the Woodford Reserve, Bourbon Discovery Tour, the Woodford Reserve Distillery: A National Landmark Tour or the Woodford Reserve Corn to Cork Tour. The distillery is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM, and on Sundays from 12:30 PM to 4:30 during the months of April through October. For more information on visiting the Woodford Reserve Distillery you can call (859) 879-1812 or visit the Woodford Reserve website.
Maker’s Mark Distillery
The Maker’s Mark Distillery, located in Loretto, is home to award-winning bourbon, and is the only working distillery to be registered as a National Historic Landmark. Visitors to the Maker’s Mark Distillery will be able to tour the Old Gristmill (built in 1805), the Master Distiller’s House (built in 1840), the Toll House, the Firehouse, the Still House (dates back to 1805 as well), the Fermenting Room, and the Barrel Warehouse. Tours are conducted every hour on the half hour from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays at 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, and 3:30 PM. The distillery is closed on Sundays during the months of January and February. Tours are offered free of charge, and visitors over the age of twenty-one are given the opportunity to dip their own bottle. For more information on visiting the Maker’s Mark Distillery you can call ( 270) 865-2099 or visit their website.