The Purpose Of Fun Is To Have Some...

Maker’s Mark After Dark – A Truly Unique Experience

An exclusive behind the scenes after hours tour? Check. Hand dip your own bottle of Maker’s Mark in the signature red wax? Check. Special bourbon tastings, southern style appetizers, and cocktails? Check, check and check.  The Maker’s Mark After Dark tour includes all that and more. If you haven’t experienced this exclusive experience you’re missing out, but have no worries because we’ve got you covered.

Launching earlier this year in June, Maker’s Mark After Dark has become extremely popular.  While most of our tours occur during the day, this one-of-a-kind experience takes place at the Maker’s Mark distillery after the doors to the public close.  You’ll hop aboard a customized Mint Julep Tours vehicle and be transported to the beautiful distillery located in Loretto, Kentucky.

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Things will start off with a guided tour of the distillery showcasing the entire bourbon making process, from grain to bottle. After the tour you’ll head to a barrel warehouse for a special bourbon tasting underneath the stunning, “Spirit of the Maker” hand-blown glass ceiling done by world renowned artist, Dale Chihuly.  The evening is capped off with some Maker’s Mark inspired cocktails and southern style appetizers before you hand-dip your very own bottle of Maker’s Mark in the signature red wax to take home as a souvenir.

Tickets are $179 a person and the remaining dates in 2014 are September 19th, October 3rd and November 7th.  The tour departs from the Galt House in downtown Louisville at 1:15pm and returns at 7:30. More information and tickets are available at http://bourbontrailtours.com/Makers-Mark:–After-Dark-Experience.html or by calling 502-583-1433.

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A Mint Julep Tours Guide’s Perspective

Trying something new here this week on the blog that we think will be pretty fun.  We asked one of our awesome tour guides here at Mint Julep Tours if he would share with us what he loves about his job, some of his favorite experiences and provide a unique perspective on what it is that truly sets Mint Julep Tours apart.

What I love about being a Mint Julep Tours guide

As a tour guide with Mint Julep Tours, I lead groups through Bourbon Country and visit stops along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  I keep our guests entertained with facts and stories about Kentucky history, horses, moonshine, and bourbon.  We cover lots of territory between stops so I’m usually able to squeeze in a few bad jokes as well. 

I love getting to know our guests.  We get all kinds on the bourbon bus.  The folks on a typical tour range in age from twenty something hipsters exploring their love of bourbon to senior citizens that want to take in the bluegrass and horses as we cruise through thoroughbred farms.  We often have veterans and active duty military as guests.  Everyone has a story to tell.  I’m often shocked by our guest’s stories about home distillation and moonshining.  The common thread amongst our guests seems to be an appreciation of fun.  Mint Julep Tours’ motto is “The purpose of fun is to have some, so come join us!”, and we DEFINITELY have fun out on the trail. 

An especially fun part of exploring Kentucky with MJT is coming across interesting characters along the way.  One of the most interesting people we’re likely to bump in to is Freddie Johnson at Buffalo Trace distillery.  Freddie is a tour guide extraordinaire.  He is the third generation from his family to work at Buffalo Trace and he is bubbling over with information and charisma.  He can read an audience like an A-list comedian and creates incredibly memorable and interactive tours for our guests.  Your sides will hurt after one of Freddie’s tours. 

We sometimes have the opportunity to meet important people at the distilleries we visit.  One of my most memorable experiences was leading a group through the Wild Turkey distillery and meeting Jimmy Russell the octogenarian master distiller.  He visited with our guests, posed for photos, and signed bottles.   He finally had to leave, explaining that he had to fly to the west coast for an important marketing meeting with some “guys in suits”.  I was astonished to see him climb into a twenty year old, rusty pickup truck and drive away.   Here is a gentleman that has achieved success and wealth that most of us can only dream of and he is still very much a man of the people and as down to earth as the bourbon he creates.

I never get tired of driving through the lovely Kentucky countryside and meeting new and interesting people.  By the end of a bourbon tour I usually have at least a dozen new friends.  The wide variety of bourbon, the characters, the behind-the-scenes look at where the greatest whiskeys in the world are made…. Yeah, I have the best job ever!!  

Brendan has been in the bourbon industry for several years and has been with Mint Julep Tours for over a year.

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Support For A Good Cause, “On The Rocks”

If you’ve been online at all in the past few months you’ve probably seen video after video of your friends, family members or celebrities dumping buckets of water on their heads as part of the “Ice Bucket Challenge”.  This viral sensation is of course in support of The ALS Foundation and has been extremely successful in raising both awareness and funds for the cause. Close to 30 million dollars to be exact, and that number is still growing as more and more videos are popping up on our news feeds with each one “nominating” others to follow suit. It was only a matter of time then for the Ice Bucket Challenge to reach us here at Mint Julep Tours.

Last week, one of our own employees David Nichols accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and in addition to dumping a bucket of ice water on his head, David made a personal donation to The ALS Association in honor of his late uncle who passed away earlier this year from ALS. Mint Julep Tours continually supports the causes and non-profits most dear to their employees, drivers and guides so it was only fitting that David recorded his video after work in front of a Mint Julep Tours bus.  You can check out David’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8AFugm0xJA

David Ice Bucket

In addition to David, numerous other local companies have accepted the challenge with some even putting their own twist on it. The Kentucky Derby accepted their Ice Bucket Challenge with a “Mint Julep” spin as a nod to the famous Churchill Downs cocktail. Mixed in with the standard water and ice each person added sugar, bourbon and of course mint!  They also made a donation of $1,000 in support of of the cause and challenged Arlington Park Racetrack, Fair Grounds Race Course, PGA Championship and Kentucky HBPA.  You can view this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-38lE_na0E

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The bourbon industry itself has gotten involved starting with Heaven Hill Master Distiller Craig Beam accepting the Ice “Barrel” Challenge.  Yup,  that’s right… Craig had a bourbon barrel full of ice water dumped on his head in support of his father and legendary Master Distiller Parker Beam, who has been diagnosed with ALS. The Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund was set up as a way to help the ALS Association raise funds to find a cure for the disease, additionally Parker himself came up with a creative idea. Last fall, the seventh edition of the exceptional Parker’s Heritage Collection Bourbon was released.  The barrels for this bourbon came hand selected by Parker himself from the best locations in the rick house to deliver the perfect age and proof for this rare batch.  Heaven Hill Distilleries donated $20 from the sale of every bottle to the ALS Promise Fund – a campaign that will raise a quarter million dollars.

Craig challenged fellow Master Distillers Jim Rutledge of Four Roses Bourbon, Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Greg Davis of Maker’s Mark, Chris Morris of Woodford Reserve, and Fred Noe of Jim Beam to the Ice “Barrel” Challenge. He also challenged Max Shapira, President of Heaven Hill Distilleries. You can view this video on the Evan Williams Facebook page.

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Learn more about ALS, the Ice Bucket Challenge and how you can donate at www.alsa.org. You can also find out more information about the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund at http://web.alsa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Parkerbeam_Promise_Fund

 

Two Unique Ways To Experience Jim Beam This Friday

Public Bourbon Tours

The Jim Beam Super Premium Tour is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Are you ready to experience Jim Beam in a way that has never before been offered to the public?  If so, the exclusive Jim Beam Super Premium Tour was made for you.  On this tour you’ll dive into “all things whiskey, Beam style” with a day filled with special tours, unique stories, memorable bourbon tastings and more!

The highlight of this exclusive tour is a private experience with the Master Distiller Fred Noe, 7th generation Beam family member. The quick-witted, sociable, and knowledgeable Fred Noe introduces people around the world to his family’s bourbons.  Fred’s stories of growing up on the distillery grounds are legendary, and people come in droves to see this real Kentucky bourbon legend talk about his family’s heritage.

In addition to that you’ll get a behind the scenes tour of the Jim Beam Distillery, including the bourbon barrel dumping station and one of the largest barrel warehouses in the industry.  For you mixologists and culinary fans, there will be a private sampling of the Beam Brands with a Beam bourbon expert and then you’re off to experience a bourbon themed meal on the porch of the Knob Creek house on the scenic grounds of the distillery. To top off your experience, all tour participants will receive a commemorative etched bottle of Jim Beam which is truly a one-of-a-kind collectable.

The August Jim Beam Super Premium tour had previously sold out, however we have opened up a second vehicle and limited tickets are still available! Departure time on Friday August 15th is 9:00am and you will return to Louisville at 3:00pm. The cost is $199 per person and you can purchase tickets online here by clicking on the “Exclusive Experiences” tab or by calling 502-583-1433.

Jim Beam American Stillhouse hosts Bourbon, Barbeque & Music

Can’t make the Jim Beam Super Premium Tour? No worries, the Jim Beam American Stillhouse will still be rocking into the afternoon with their next installment of the distillery’s Summer Concert Series.  Spend Friday, August 15th with bourbon fans from all over and celebrate Jim Beam with mouth-watering barbeque from Fred’s Smokehouse, live music on the distillery lawn and an inside look at how the world’s No. 1 selling bourbon whiskey is made.  Samples of “America’s Native Spirit” will be poured for guests of legal drinking age.

The event runs from 12:00pm to 5:00pm and is free to attend, however guests will need to purchase and reserve their distillery tours ahead of time which can be done online here.  For more information on this event please contact the Jim Beam American Stillhouse at 502-543-9877.

Secrets of Louisville Chefs Truly a Unique Experience

While Mint Julep Tours is certainly dedicated to all different kinds of tours focused on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, we also offer some other amazing exclusive experiences that surely won’t disappoint. One of those events is the chance to be a part of the live studio audience for the filming of the popular television show Secrets of Louisville Chefs.

You’ll join us in Kitchen Studio at Bourbon Barrel Foods located in historic Butchertown where you will see two show tapings as Louisville’s top chefs cook with Tim Laird, Brown-Forman’s Chief Entertaining Officer and Kevin Harned, WAVE 3 TV Chief Meteorologist. You will have reserved VIP seats along with a champagne cocktail meet-and-greet with the hosts and producers of the show. At the conclusion of the show, you will be able to sample food that the chefs have prepared.

SOLC-Blog-PhotoKitchen Studio at Bourbon Barrel Foods

The featured chefs for August are Dustin Staggers of The Monkey Wrench and Dallas McGarity of Marketplace Restaurant.  For a little bit of background on Chef Dustin Staggers, he has been at The Monkey Wrench since November of last year and was brought in to remake the menu with his creative take on Southern cuisine. It was also recently announced that Staggers will be co-opening “Roux” with his brother in the former Le Gallo Rosso space on Bardstown Rd.  Roux will be a New Orleans style restaurant serving classic New Orleans dishes.  Chef Dallas McGarity came to Louisville in 2004 working as a sous chef at Volare Restaurant and quickly moved up the food scene working at local favorites including Equus & Jack’s Lounge.  In 2010, Dallas became Executive Chef/Partner at Marketplace Restaurant and continues to be heavily involved in the local culinary scene and many charitable organizations.

Hungry yet? Here are the details you need to know:

Secrets of Louisville Chefs August Taping – Dustin Staggers and Dallas McGarity

Saturday, August 16th from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Tickets: $50 and can be purchased here

Mint Julep Tours Announces October Chuck Cowdery VIP Bourbon & History Tour Experience

We’re proud to announce the details and information for the Chuck Cowdery VIP Bourbon & History Tour Experience. Chuck is your personal tour guide for this 3-day bourbon adventure that is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Chuck Cowdery is an internationally renowned whiskey writer, specializing in American whiskey. He is a Kentucky Coloniel and a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. He’s the author of Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey (2004) and the producer/director of “Made and Bottled in Kentucky” (1992). He is a regular contributor to Whisky Advocate Magazine and WHISKY Magazine, as well as the editor and publisher of The Bourbon Country Reader. More information on Chuck and some great bourbon talk can be found on his blog at http://www.chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/.

The three day adventure starts on Wednesday at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse with an exclusive behind the scenes tour and tasting with Freddie Noe, 8th generation Beam. You’ll enjoy an authentic Kentucky southern style lunch and then head to the Oscar Gratz Museum of Whiskey History. The day concludes with a VIP tour of Maker’s Mark Distillery with Bill Samuels Jr., son of Maker’s Mark founder. This exclusive Maker’s experience culminates with cocktails, appetizers and the opportunity to dip your own bottle in a barrel warehouse under the Chihuly blown glass art ceiling.

Your experience continues Thursday with a trip to Versailles Cemetery to visit the grave of Dr. James C. Crow, then it’s off to the Woodford County Historical Society & Museum. You’ll then head to Woodford Reserve Distillery for a tour and tasting before lunch. After lunch you’ll head to the famous Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory which is where bourbon ball chocolate candies were invented. The day wraps up a with a bourbon tasting some quality bourbon shopping with Chuck.

Friday kicks off with a driving tour of Whiskey Row, Brown-Forman Campus, Bernheim Distillery, and Stitzel-Weller before your tour of the Brown-Forman Barrel Cooperage.  You’ll then take a break for a BBQ lunch. After lunch you’ll head to Churchill Downs for a tour of exclusive areas and a tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum. The day wraps up with with a visit and tour of Vendome Copper & Brass Works who have been building stills on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville for more than 100 years.

This 3 day bourbon adventure runs from October 15th – 17th and the cost is $599 per person which includes all your transportation, admissions, appetizers, lunches, a bourbon tasting with Chuck and an autographed copy of his book. There are only 20 spots available and you must book by September 1st. Reserve your spot today by calling Mint Julep Tours at 502-583-1433 or sending an email to chasta@mintjuleptours.com. More information and a flyer for the tour can be found at http://bourbontrailtours.com/Exclusive-Experiences.html

Makers Mark® & Mint Julep Tours Team Up to offer Ultra Exclusive Access To Distillery

You may have been on a Maker’s Mark® tour, but you have never seen the distillery like this. Mint Julep Tours and the world-famous Bourbon Brand have joined forces to allow you to “Experience the Maker.”

Beginning June 27th Mint Julep Tours is offering an exclusive PRIVATE tour of Makers Mark Distillery. Guests will hop aboard a customized Mint Julep Tours vehicle and be transported to the picturesque distillery for an evening of exceptional adventure. When the tours end at Maker’s Mark®, the doors will open only to you to experience the Bourbon Mecca after hours.

“The Maker’s Mark After Hours event brings a whole new meaning to the bourbon experience at this historic distillery. We are thrilled to partner with a bourbon legend and offer these events through Mint Julep Tours,” said Sean Higgins, Chief Fun Officer at Mint Julep Tours.

Guests will enjoy a guided tour showcasing the bourbon making process, from grain to bottle. The night will be complete with a tasting with Maker’s Mark® inspired cocktails and southern style appetizers under the “Spirit of the Maker,” a new hand-blown glass ceiling by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.  

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with Mint Julep Tours to open our doors after hours for those Ambassador’s and fans of Makers Mark that wish to have an exclusive experience. To enjoy our distillery in this private and relaxing manner is something we are excited to share,” said Sydina H. Bradshaw, Director of Visitor Relations with Makers Mark®.

Guests can also dip their own bottle and enjoy a private shopping experience. Tickets start at $179 a person and dates are limited. The tour is open June 27th, July 25th, August 29th, September 19th, October 3rd and November 7th. Book now to reserve your spot exclusively through Mint Julep Tours at http://bourbontrailtours.com/Makers-Mark:–After-Dark-Experience.html

Mint Julep Tours Announces the Launch of Louisville City Tours

After more than 6 exciting years, Mint Julep Tours and Transportation will enrich it’s offerings into the area it knows best – the City of Louisville. Mint Julep will now offer 2 tours showcasing the city and highlighting the places that make the Derby City unique. They have affectionately named these tours the “Horses and Hooch” Tours. These tours will be available with advanced on-line purchasing at MintJulepTours.com.

What better way to discover the City of Louisville’s incredible sights and historical attractions than by letting Mint Julep Tour guides introduce you to the home of bourbon, horses, and the history of America’s 16th largest city, featuring The Cast Iron District, Whiskey Row and the largest Victorian Neighborhood in America. As a culmination of each tour they will take their guests to either the Kentucky Derby Museum or local distillery for a tour and tasting.  

Choose from the following 2 guided city tours:

Guided City Tour & the Kentucky Derby Museum: 
9am-12noon – offered Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, & Sunday

Enjoy a guided tour of the city, highlighting the Falls of the Ohio, Whiskey Row, Cast Iron District, NuLu, Louisville Slugger Museum, Museum Row featuring the Muhammad Ali Center, Victorian Homes in Old Louisville, Waterfront Park and see the historic Vendome Brass and Copper Company which makes the worlds copper stills in our hometown. This three-hour tour experience includes a visit to The Kentucky Derby Museum and tour of Churchill Downs (home of the most famous horse race in America – the Kentucky Derby).

Guided City Tour & visit a local distilling operation and  tasting: 
1pm-4pm – offered Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, & Sunday

This tour includes a guided city tour highlighting the Falls of the Ohio, Whiskey Row, Cast Iron District, NuLu, Louisville Slugger Museum, Museum Row featuring the Muhammad Ali Center, Victorian Homes in Old Louisville, Waterfront Park and see the historic Vendome Brass and Copper Company which makes the worlds copper stills in our hometown. This three-hour tour culminates with an additional excursion to a local operating distillery.  Visitors will tour, taste and witness the full process of manufacturing distilled spirits during this part of their experience.

“Having been in love with Louisville and all that makes it such a special place most of my life, we are excited to be able to open the eyes of others to the beauty of the place we call home,” said Chief Fun Officer of Mint Julep Tours, Sean Higgins. “Whether it’s your first time to Louisville or you grew up here, we promise you will see another side of the city and make you fall in love with it. There is no better way to showcase this great town than to culminate our tours with two of our historical industries”.

“With 12.7 million visitors coming to town every year, Louisville continues to grow as a top tourism destination. What better way to get a taste of the city’s top attractions than being able to start your visit with a Mint Julep City Tour,” says Stacey Yates, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Purpose of Fun is to have some, so come enjoy the Mint Julep Tours Experience!

Mint Julep Tours Announces Exclusive Touring Partnership with Vendome Copper & Brass Works

Louisville-based Tour, Transportation & Event Company announces exclusive tour experience with Vendome Copper & Brass Works, in Louisville, Ky.

Mint Julep Tours & Transportation is excited to announce this launch of an exclusive touring opportunity with Vendome Copper & Brass Works. 

Vendome Copper & Brass Works has been building copper stills on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville for more than 110 years.  Vendome is one of only a few copper fabricators world-wide, who make copper stills for the distillation industry.  Vendome is also recognized as a major supplier of vessels and processing equipment to the chemical, pharmaceutical, confectionery, food, dairy and brewing industries.Vendome

Bourbon is booming and the boom in craft distilling is keeping this fourth-generation family owned company busier than ever. 

The great bourbons, whiskies and moonshines of the world all have one thing in common: they were created in copper stills.  Mint Julep and Vendome are very excited to showcase the craft and let the public see first hand how the art of copper stills impact the bourbon industry.

“We are honored to have been selected by the Sherman family allowing bourbon enthusiasts to witness this age old process of manufacturing copper stills,” said Sean Higgins, Chief Fun Officer at Mint Julep Tours. “This allows Mint Julep Tours, for the first time, to offer a tour of the entire unique process of bourbon making for bourbon enthusiasts; touring Kentucky manufacturers’ of copper stills, barrels and bourbon whiskey.  It’s an experience of a lifetime and we are very proud to be trusted with this honor.”

This will be the first time the public, with the help of Mint Julep Tours, will be able to see the handmade process that is so essential to the world of Bourbon making.  This really completes the bourbon experience, giving you the 360 degree experience from grain to glass.  Vendome is one of Louisville’s most successful family-owned businesses, and the bourbon boom is placing its products all over the world, said Sean Higgins, Chief Fun Officer at Mint Julep Tours.

“We have been building copper stills since the early 1900’s and our facilities tell the story of our history in Louisville,” said Michael C. Sherman, Vice President of Vendome Copper & Brass.  “We are thrilled to be partnering with Mint Julep Tours to give visitors an insiders view of beginning of the bourbon making process,”

Mint Julep Tours will offer several tour options with the full facility tour being offered by reservation only.

NOTE: A Media Tour will be available May 14 at 10 a.m. Please RSVP to erin@inmodemarketing.com. However if you would like to tour the facilities before then let us know, we are happy to accommodate.

ABOUT MINT JULEP TOURS – Mint Julep Tours is a Louisville-based tour, transportation and event planning company with a mission statement that represents the primary purpose of the company: “The purpose of fun is to have some”. Tours include: The City of Louisville, Private Horse Farms, Bourbon Distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and special customized corporate outings and events. Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House, Rivue Tower at 140 North 4th Street Suite 326, Louisville, KY 40202.

For more information, visit: www.mintjuleptours.com, call 502-583-1433 or email info@mintjuleptours.com. 

Hot tips on Bourbon, Mint Julep’s, and the Kentucky Derby!

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There are only 9 days left till the 140th running of The Kentucky Derby.  We thought we would cover a few tips to get you off an running.

Plan out your Derby week with some hot tips below:


I’m in town for the Kentucky Derby, and I want to see the beautiful countryside and take a bourbon tour.  

What are my options? 

Funny you ask, as we are the #1 Activity in Louisville providing Bourbon Tours, Horse Farm Tours, and other exciting custom experiences.  We have a special line up for Derby week.  Check out our list of tours here.  We do have a few spots left, so call today 502-583-1433 Ext. 101 and speak with Chasta or you can book online here.

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 What’s a unique derby week activity? 

Dawn at the Downs  7:00 a.m – 9:00 a.m.

Dawn at the Downs is a popular Louisville tradition giving visitors an opportunity to enjoy breakfast inMillionaires Row while watching the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders conduct morning workouts.  From Millionaires Row 4, a host will announce the horses on the track, discuss the contenders’ past performances and provide insight to the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby races.  Morning workouts will show on the television monitors and the announcements will be heard throughout the track. The Dawn at the Downs buffet will be served from 7:00 AM through 8:30 AM.

For reservations & information for seating in Millionaires Row 4, please call 502-636-4893 or 502-636-4892 for availability, or purchase tickets here.

Dawn at the Downs will take place on Tuesday, April 29th; Wednesday, April 30th and Thursday, May 1st.

Click Here to View the Dawn at the Downs Buffet Menu


 What horses are racing?

Meet the list of contenders for the 140th Kentucky Derby here.


What to wear?

Not only should you be getting your Derby attire lined up with suits, bow ties, colorful socks, and of course for all the ladies, a spectacular hat.  Ladies, check out what to wear here!  Gents here!


 What can I take into the track?

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, Churchill Downs officials are battening down the hatches. See their What To Know page for the latest, but worth noting:

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Where do I park?

Parking is at premium around the track.  If you want to park close, regulars park in and around the yards of homes around the track.

If you want to park away from the track, and ride in on a public TARC bus, there are also options to do that as well.  Check out the parking tips here.

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