Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

Booking the Perfect Custom Adventure with Mint Julep Tours – We Do It All Y’all!

3.3 Blog Post 1Recently, a guest suggested that our buses could benefit from a giant sign that reads: “We Do It All Y’All!” And while we prefer to keep our buses just the way they are, the passenger made a good point. When you spot a Mint Julep Tours bus crisscrossing the state, you may not realize that those onboard are often guests who have embarked on a made-to-order adventure. Did you know that Mint Julep Tours offers custom tours every day of the week and nearly every single day of the year? And that all of our custom tours are as unique as different batches of a tasty single-barrel bourbon? Maybe you’re interested in experiencing a bourbon tasting in the middle of a dimly-lit warehouse surrounded by thousands of barrels. Or perhaps a day that involves braving the zip lines at Louisville’s Mega Cavern and then traveling south to the Maker’s Mark distillery to tour, taste and dip a bottle in that signature red wax is more your speed. Or you might prefer an outing that combines a visit to a beautiful Kentucky thoroughbred horse farm, a leisurely upscale lunch in the town of Midway and then a stop to shop at the famed Zappos Shoe Outlet. In short, if you can imagine a specific, custom touring experience in Kentucky, Mint Julep Tours can make it happen! We are proud to be one of the top full service destination management companies in Kentucky. And the fun all begins with a phone call.

3.3 Blog Post 2Many of the calls to Mint Julep Tours start out the same way. An excited voice on the other end of the line makes an enthusiastic yet cautious and curious declaration: “I want do the Bourbon Trail!” Each and every custom tour booking starts with a detailed conversation with one of our coordinators. Many first-time visitors to the area have endless questions based on bits of information they’ve read, a detailed inspection of our Trip Advisor reviews or second-hand stories from friends who have taken similar treks to The Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® , Horse Farms, Louisville and beyond. Our staff’s first priority is to fill in those knowledge gaps and better understand the precise type of outing our guests want to experience. From bachelor/bachelorette parties to corporate outings and everything in between, Mint Julep Tours can accommodate groups of all sizes by creating a tour with the right itinerary, length, style and tone.

3.3 Blog Post 3One common pitfall among visitors is learning the hard way that Kentucky’s geography and state routes can be a touch confusing (just ask anyone who has attempted to travel to Loretto, KY without a quality map), and the perceived distances between major distilleries are sometimes much greater than anticipated. When you book a custom tour with Mint Julep Tours, we make sure that you don’t end up spending more time in the bus than you do at the distilleries. We also work to ensure that your planned stops are the best fit for your crew. With nearly two dozen top-notch bourbon distilleries scattered throughout the state, it can be a daunting process to choose the best options for you. Those who have a soft spot in their heart for Booker’s bourbon may be surprised to learn that the product is distilled at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. Or maybe you want to up your dinner game and enjoy a private dinner in the Stone Room at Captain’s Quarters located smack dab on the Ohio River. We can even set up private bourbon tastings for groups ranging in size from 5 to 500! But custom tours with Mint Julep Tours are so much more than just bourbon.

Over the last eight years, our buses have logged more miles on Kentucky interstates, highways and back roads than we can count. We’ve created experiences for guests at the iconic Keeneland Racecourse just outside of Lexington, sessions at The Knob Creek Gun Range and scheduled visits to both the Independent Stave Cooperage in Lebanon, KY and the Brown-Forman Cooperage next door to the Louisville International Airport. Kentucky is home to everything from Mammoth Cave to the National Corvette Museum to Abe Lincoln’s Childhood Home – all places you can visit on a Mint Julep Tours excursion as part of a custom tour.

3.3 Blog Post 4In 2015, Louisville was named among the “Friendliest Cities in America” by Travel + Leisure Magazine and we’ve helped guests experience that first hand. We’ve booked reservations at iconic Churchill Down’s Turf Club and set up tours at new attractions making waves like brandy distillery Copper & Kings. Mint Julep Tours can take you to the Falls of The Ohio State Park, Schimpff’s Confectionery, Bourbon Barrel Foods or we can even take you bowling at Vernon Lanes! If you want to go even further off the beaten path, we’ve set up Segway Races (complete with obstacle course, of course) and scavenger hunts that will have your group scurrying madly across town. Our staff can suggest the perfect restaurants and hotel as well as book reservations when needed. If you’re more interested in exploring some of the best Louisville has to offer, you’ll be hard pressed to find a staff that knows Derby City better.

A custom adventure with Mint Julep Tours is so much more than just bus a ride around Kentucky. Combine the strength of a custom tour with our professional, knowledgeable and award-winning Mint Julep Tours guides and drivers, and you’ve got the recipe for one amazing day…or maybe more! We may book tours, but we specialize in creating custom experiences and one-of-a-kind memories. And that’s why we believe “the purpose of fun is to have some.” Want to get started? The fun starts with a phone call to Mint Julep Tours today.

As one of Kentucky’s top destination management company, Mint Julep Tours can create an itinerary for the perfect custom. Call 502-583-1433 or visit us online today to begin planning your adventure.

Mint Julep Tours Announces Office Relocation, Expansion

Mint Julep Tours Announces Office Relocation, Expansion

Louisville, Kentucky – Mint Julep Tours, a local business that is a recognized leader in tours, transportation, and special events throughout Kentucky, is excited to announce it will be moving its offices and vehicle garage to a new larger property located at 1631 Mellwood Ave. Eyedia, a local furniture and home décor consignment store previously occupied the space. In addition to the 7,000 square ft. building, Mint Julep Tours will also be constructing a new garage on the property to house it’s rapidly expanding fleet of buses and vehicles.

According to Mint Julep Tours co-founder and owner, Sean Higgins, the move was necessary due to the significant growth the company has seen since its inception. “As the bourbon and tourism industries in Kentucky have grown, so have we. It was time that we made a move that allowed us to continue to expand and grow. We’re extremely excited about this new space and can’t wait for the opportunities that will come along with it.”

The new location sits near the intersection of Mellwood and Frankfort Ave., right off the I-64 exit ramp and directly across from Apocalypse Brewery. Higgins said the new location is exactly what they were looking for. “We’re thrilled to have been able to find a location that both serves our needs as a business and also keeps us close to the downtown core. There is so much going on in that area and along Frankfort Ave., which makes this move all that much more exciting.”

MJT Location Map-01Mint Julep Tours was able to secure a Louisville Metropolitan Business Development Corp., (METCO) loan to assist in the expansion costs. These loans are focused on small businesses in the Louisville economy that are looking to expand and grow their business. WorK Architecture + Design is the lead design firm that will handle the project. The new space is projected to be complete by Spring-2016.

Tours will continue to depart from the MJT Gift Shop, located in the Galt House Hotel (Rivue Tower), 140 N. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky 40202.

ABOUT MINT JULEP TOURS
Mint Julep Tours is a recognized leader in Bourbon and Kentucky adventures as well as the only dedicated tour company focused on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.  Based in Louisville, Kentucky they offer Custom and Public Bourbon Distillery Tours as well as unique Exclusive Experiences, Horse Farm Tours, Culinary Tours, and Louisville City Tours. As a truly one-of-a-kind tour company, Mint Julep Tours also offers transportation and event planning services with a focus on Special Events, Corporate Outings and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties. Specialty horse and bourbon-related gifts are available at the Mint Julep Tours retail store inside the Galt House on the third floor of the 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

The Unsung Hero of Bourbon – The Barrel

The Unsung Hero of Bourbon – The Barrel
November 11, 2015 

As most avid bourbon fans know, there are a number of strict requirements that any distillery must meet before their precious distilled spirit can legally be labeled and sold in America as “Bourbon.” Of all those requirements, perhaps the most intriguing and complicated benchmark involves a product that you’ll likely never see on the store shelf or at the bar – the bourbon barrel. By law, bourbon must be aged in charred, American oak barrels that are used once and never again for bourbon. Yup, that’s right. Every last ounce of bourbon must be aged in a fresh, new barrel. Cumbersome and costly? Perhaps. But generations of Master Distillers have agreed time and time again that it’s worth it. Many argue that the barrel and subsequent aging have the biggest impact on bourbon’s signature flavor.

When you consider that over 19 million cases of bourbon were sold in 2014, it’s pretty easy to see how the demand for an endless amount of new barrels starts adding up quickly. While this unique requirement gives the bourbon industry a specific set of challenges, it also creates some incredibly unique visitor experiences for those adventurous aficionados eager to see a different side of bourbon. While bourbon distilleries on and off the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® have soared in popularity over the years, many are making time to visit cooperages – factories where bourbon barrels are made. Today, two major cooperages provide the vast number of barrels to bourbon makers throughout Kentucky and beyond: Independent Stave Company in Lebanon, KY and The Brown-Forman Cooperage in Louisville. And for a fascinating look into the detailed and meticulous process of making a vessel in which bourbon spends years maturing, each one is worth a visit.

10.29 Photo 1The Independent Stave Company knows a thing or two about crafting the perfect barrel – they’ve been at it for over 105 years. TW Boswell (a name that for many has become just as synonymous with bourbon as the name Beam) started milling in the Missouri Ozarks in the heart of White Oak Country in 1912. These days, Independent Stave Company Trucks, which roll out of the Kentucky Cooperage location, are a common site roaming the highways and byways in counties throughout the state. After all, ISC provides thousands and thousands of new barrels to several major distilleries every year. The company offers an eye-opening detailed, industrial factory tour. Visitors here have the opportunity on twice daily tours to see the manual shaping of the staves, the fire that chars the inside of each barrel, the manual placement of the metal hoop and, most importantly, watching coopers make sure that each container is liquid-tight without any nails, glue or other manmade sealers. Any visit to ISC’s Kentucky Cooperage will provide fascinating insights into how those endless ricks of barrels you see in storage are created.

10.29 Photo 3Paying a visit to the Brown-Forman Cooperage is a quite different experience. Located less than 1,000 feet from an active runway near Louisville International Airport, the cooperage is hard to find, but full of amazing history. Brown-Forman started the Cooperage in this location back in 1945. Many modern updates have been added to the facility, but the majority of the process has remained unchanged for decades. Most notably, Brown-Forman has bragging rights as the world’s only major distiller which both owns and manufactures its own barrels. The cooperage makes more than 600,000 barrels solely for brands under the Brown-Forman umbrella such as Old Forrester, Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels. (Hey, even Tennessee Whiskeys need barrels, too.) Each barrel in this cooperage is made exclusively of white oak and holds exactly 53.4 gallons. Once complete, the empty vessels weigh more than 120 pounds. Being a cooper is hard, hot work in the summer and tough, cold work in the winter.

So, next time you raise a glass, make sure that you save a toast for the beloved and often overlooked barrel. Your drink has earned that moniker of bourbon in no small part to the effort of those charred staves adding 100% of the color and upwards of 60% of the flavor of your beverage. Never discount the role that this unsung oak hero plays in America’s native spirit. After all, bourbon is only as good as the barrel from which it was once poured!

The Independent Stave Company’s Kentucky Cooperage is located at 712 East Main Street and offers complimentary factory tours at 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM Monday-Friday. A stop at the Kentucky Cooperage can be included on a personalized, custom tour with Mint Julep Tours. The Brown-Forman Cooperage is not open for public tours, but private tours can booked exclusively through Mint Julep Tours. Call 502-583-1433 or e-mail info@MintJulepTours.com to book a tour today.

Ultimate Guide to Barreling through Bourbon Country

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8.

What is bourbon anyway?

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey – a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn.

By law, bourbon must be:

  • Produced in the USA
  • Made of a grain mix of at least 51% corn
  • Distilled at less than 160 proof (80% ABV)
  • No additives allowed (except water to reduce proof where necessary)
  • Aged in new, charred white oak barrels
  • Aged for a minimum of two years* (*to be called Kentucky Straight Bourbon)

Since 98% of the worlds Bourbon is produced in Kentucky, Louisville is a great spot to jump on the Bourbon Bus.  Ranked as a Top 10 US travel destination for 2013, Louisville is a great spot to explore all things bourbon during the day on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and at night on the Urban Bourbon Trail.

7.

How much time do we need?

If you’re looking to hit all the spots on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and beyond, you’ll need several days to get the most out of your exploration.  A great two day option is THE ULTIMATE 2 DAY TOUR, offered on Thursday/Friday or Friday Saturday.  If you only have one day open, you can experience a great day with a PUBLIC BOURBON TOUR that visits 3 distilleries.

6.

Where to stay?

THE GALT HOUSE HOTEL is a great spot to stay, centrally located in downtown Louisville by the Ohio River.  Plus it’s a convenient spot to jump on the PUBLIC BOURBON TOUR, since our tours depart from the 3rd floor RIVUE TOWER side of the GALT HOUSE HOTEL.

5.

What to wear?

Tasting bourbon in Kentucky is all about relaxation, so wear light clothing and comfortable walking shoes.

4.

What to bring?

For the bourbon and photography lover, bring along a camera to document your explorations at each distillery.  Check out the scenery our guests have found to be great for photo ops.

3.

What to buy?

We know some great spots for finding bourbon that you can’t find in your neck of the woods.  Since almost 98% of the worlds bourbon is made right here, you will find some great bottles you won’t find anywhere else.  You will also find unique bottles and gifts only offered at each distillery’s gift shop.  A unique experience is to dip your own bottle of Maker’s Mark® in the signature red wax or get your bottle etched with a message as a gift for the bourbon lover in your life.

2.

What to look for?

If you have visited our Bourbon Heaven before, look for the specialty tours that provide EXCLUSIVE experiences.  The highlight of the Jim Beam® Super Premium Tour is a private experience with the Master Distiller & 7th generation Beam family member, Fred Noe.  Or explore the BE THE BOURBON TOUR at Maker’s Mark®  Distillery to experience a behind the scenes look and taste from the folks behind the signature red wax.

1.

When to visit?

What are you waiting for?  Our Bourbon Tour Experts are waiting to tell you about our Bourbon Hospitality.  Visit our website at www.MintJulepTours.com to learn why we are the #1 activity in Louisville, according to Trip Advisor!