Behind the Barrel: Best Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries and Tours - Louisville Article

Behind the Barrel: Best Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries and Tours

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Behind the Barrel: Best Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries and Tours

Oct 30, 2017

No two Kentucky bourbon distilleries are exactly the same, so you’ll discover new and intriguing bourbon-making secrets during every tour, since each one offers an introduction and insight into their own unique way of making this legendary spirit. The introductions to four of the best bourbon distilleries and tours below will serve as an excellent beginning to your Kentuckybourbon making adventures!

Jim Beam American Stillhouse Tour - Clermont, KY

Get a behind the scenes look at all things Jim Beam at the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. See every facet of their bourbon-making process by getting an up-close look at how they make the world’s number one bourbon from grain to bottle and beyond. See, smell, hear, feel and taste more of the art and science of making Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey than you can anywhere else. Sample one of their 19 amazing bourbons in the State-Of-The-Art tasting room. You can also see the most artful examples of their special limited-edition decanters introduced in the mid-1950’s in the decanter museum at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse bourbon tour.

Hours: Mon - Sat 9 am -5:30 pm
Sun - Noon - 4:30pm
The tour and bourbon tasting is $14 for Adults.

Jim Beam Stillhouse
526 Happy Hollow Rd.
Clermont, KY 40110

For additional information, please contact Jim Beam at (502) 215-2295.

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience 

The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience celebrates the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky's first commercial distiller, through an immersive visitor’s center experience which brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky's native spirit.

An official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, the facility offers guests a historical glimpse back in time to see Evan Williams’ original distillery through high definition video recreations of the Louisville wharf and Main Street in the late 18th Century, plus recreations of Whiskey Row building facades along Main Street from the 1890’s through the present. Meanwhile, visitors learn the essential differences between distilling during Evan Williams’ era and Heaven Hill’s modern Bernheim Distillery operations.

Hours: Mon - Thurs, 11 am - 5:30 pm
Fri - Sat, 10 am - 6 pm
Sun 1 pm - 5:30

*Last tour each day is one hour prior to close. The Traditional tour and bourbon tasting is $12. The Speakeasy tour & tasting is $18 and only available Friday-Sunday. 10 years and under FREE.

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
528 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202

For additional information, please contact the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience (502) 272-2611.

Barton 1792 Distillery

Barton 1792 Distillery was established in 1879 and continues today as the oldest fully-operating Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Situated in heart of bourbon country on 196 acres, the Distillery boasts 29 barrel aging warehouses, 22 other buildings including an impressive still house, and the legendary Tom Moore Spring. Named in honor of the year Kentucky joined the United States, Barton 1792 offers three tours of the Distillery: the Barton Tradition Tour, the Bushel to Bottle Tour and the 1792 Estate Tour.

All tours at Barton 1792 Distillery are complimentary, rich in history, and conclude with a complimentary tasting of the award-winning products made at the Distillery. Walk-ins are welcome, however reservations are strongly suggested for large groups.

Hours: Mon - Sat 9 am - 5:30 pm
The last tour leaves the Gift Shop at 4 pm

Barton 1792 Distillery
300 Barton Rd.
Bardstown, KY 4004

For additional information, please contact the Barton 1792 Distillery (866) 239-4690.

Willett Distillery

The historic Willett Distillery is an independent and familyowned distillery that dates back to 1936. The property sits on the outskirts of lovely Bardstown, Kentucky, in an atmosphere that is quintessential Kentucky. Willett Distillery is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®

Once on the distillery grounds, one begins to understand just how unique the distillery and its surroundings are. Great efforts to restore the main distillery building, cistern room, aging warehouses and many other aspects of the grounds have the left the property totally transformed, with more exciting developments in the works. From the underground, spring-fed lakes, to the Kentucky split-face limestone exterior, to the old turn-of-the-century belt and pulley fan systems running throughout the distillery and visitor center, it truly makes for a memorable trip.

Distillery tours are available year round. Tours last between 45 minutes and one hour.

Hours: Mon - Sat, 10am – 4pm, on the hour
Sun 12:30; 1:30; 2:30; 3:30 (April – December)
There are no tours on the following dates: Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, December 24, 25, 31 and January 1.

This is a walking tour and includes the Distillery and Grounds with a tasting of our whiskies. Each guest on this tour will receive a signature glass to take home.

Willett Distillery
1869 Loretto Rd.
Bardstown, KY 40004

For additional information, please contact the Willett Distillery (502) 348-0899.

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