Visit the Best Kentucky Distilleries with Blue Grass Tours & Charters

If your upcoming vacation plan includes a stop in Kentucky, you are probably aware of all the captivating attractions and activities awaiting you. Arguably one of the state’s alluring attractions is the traditional Kentucky distillery trail highlighting both the legendry and micro distillers. With most of the heavy hitters in the bourbon industry spread out across Kentucky, it is hard not to enjoy any distillery you wander into. However, there is more to Kentucky distillery tours than just sampling delicious spirits and bourbon. These tours give you a window into history and an appreciation of long-standing craftsmanship. To help you tap into this vibe, we have provided a list of the best Kentucky distilleries available with Blue Grass Tours & Charters. 

Four best Kentucky distilleries to visit 

Most of the world’s big bourbon names come from Kentucky, and there is a good reason for that. The “Bluegrass State” has a perfect natural environment and weather for bourbon distilling. Specifically, Kentucky has widely volatile temperatures ranging from chilly winters to hot summers. These temperatures cause charring in oak barrels, giving the spirit its amber color and distinctive taste. Additionally, Kentucky’s enviable water supply and its long tradition of unrivaled craftsmanship make it well-suited for distilling. Whether you are a casual bourbon fan or a passionate enthusiast, here are 4 best Kentucky distilleries to visit:

1. Buffalo Trace Distillery

Address: 113 Great Buffalo Trce, Frankfort, KY 40601

Your Kentucky distillery trail is not complete without a stop at the legendary Buffalo Trace Distillery. The distillery is the maker of the widely acclaimed and popular Old Rip Van Winkle and Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve labels which first hit the market in 2002. It is also the proud maker of other well-known labels such as Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, and Eagle Rare.

 Buffalo Traces offers seven diverse tours tailored to suit the interests of different visitors. The tours provide incredible lessons on the history and science of bourbon making. Walk amid paths of rolling bourbon barrels and get opportunities to sleep inside the aging warehouse to experience the alluring smell and atmosphere of the bourbon world. All of the tours are complimentary and include a tasting. 

2. Woodford Reserve

Address: 7785 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

Located on Kentucky’s oldest distilling site in Versailles, Woodford Reserve is undeniably one of the most recognizable names in the bourbon industry. This historic distillery offers three exciting tours. The traditional tour gives visitors a basic overview of the facility and the Woodford Reserve. 

The Corn to Cork tour showcases the complicated process of distilling fine bourbon whiskey, while the National Landmark tour takes visitors through the winding road of history, which qualifies the distillery as a Historic Landmark. Visit the distillery to see historic spaces and familiarize yourself with the five elements making up the bourbon-making process. Walk past the Scottish-style copper pot stills and take videos of new makes as it flows through. 

3. Maker’s Mark Distillery

Address: 3350 Burks Spring Rd, Loretto, KY 40037

Nestled on the banks of Hardin’s Creek, Maker’s Mark is the oldest operational distillery on its original site. It is home to beautifully manicured grounds and an arboretum hosting over 275 species of trees and shrubs.

Apart from enjoying its charming looks, Maker’s Mark tours allow you to experience the bourbon-making process firsthand, from the processing of grains and the rotating of barrels, and the dipping of signature red wax into each bottle. You will even get a chance to hand-dip your very own wax into the bottle. Once you are through with your tour and tasting experience, head over to their epic restaurant Star Hill Provisions, for dinner.

4. Wild Turkey Distillery

Address: 1525 Tyrone Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342

Wild Turkey Distillery offers a sleek and modern-looking visitors’ center and tasting room complete with a copper still from their mother distillery. The distillery is owned by Jimmy Russel, known as the world’s longest-tenured active master distiller.

 Experience stunning views of the Kentucky River as you hack back into the history of bourbon’s distillery to learn the secrets of the brand’s distinctive wheat mash bill. You will also get a chance to experience the art of labeling firsthand and walk down the bottling line where each bottle is hand dipped in red wax. 

FAQ on Kentucky distillery tours

What should I expect during the tour?

Kentucky distillery tours, tastings, and experiences offer exceptional opportunities to learn how your favorite spirits are made. During your tours, you will learn about the distillery history of each facility and get opportunities to refine your palate with a few tastings. Your guide will provide a Q&A session where experts give answers to some of your pertinent questions. At the tail end of your tour, buy a few bottles to take home as a gift or valuable souvenirs. 

What should I wear to a bourbon distillery trail?

Although there are no restrictions on what to wear for your tour, it is advisable to wear light and casual clothing. The distillery can be quite hot, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. Light clothing ensures a comfortable experience, especially during the spring and summer months.

Do you tip at the distillery?

Unless the distillery you visit offers a bar and cocktail program, the tasting room exists to sell bottles. If you have no plans to purchase one and can’t find your favorite spirit, tip your guide to show you appreciate the time spent with you. 

Can you visit Kentucky distilleries without a tour?

Many places offer tastings without a tour. During the tastings, you will get opportunities to learn the distillery’s history and its competitive advantage. However, although you don’t need an official tour to visit Kentucky distilleries, the group offers a more optimized experience than solo visits. You get opportunities to interact, make friends with strangers, and get additional information about the distillery you otherwise might not know during a solo trip.

Discover Kentucky Distilleries with DistilleryNearby customized directory 

Few states play integral roles in preserving the American tradition and Culture as Kentucky. From music festivals, art exhibitions to distillery tasting and horse farm tours, the state offers residents and travelers an endless array of options for adventure. If you are a bourbon enthusiast heading to the Bluegrass State to sample the delicious brown stuff, there is no shortage of distilleries to tour. With more than 70 distilleries running in the state, Kentucky takes its spirits and bourbon distilleries seriously.

At DistilleryNearby, we provide a tailored directory to help you explore distilleries by location, beverage type, or amenities, making it easy to find great local options. 

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