The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® is a definitive tourist destination in the United States. Located throughout Kentucky, the trail is dotted with dozens of distilleries both traditional and modern. Regardless if you drink bourbon or not, the distilleries and their stories offer a glimpse of America’s past, present and future and are entertaining and informative for all.
As an official sponsor of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Mint Julep is happy to provide a guide to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. In this guide you’ll find answers to the following questions often asked by those planning a trip to Bourbon Country.
- What is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
- What Distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
- What Distilleries are on the Craft Tour?
- What are the common tour routes to explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
- Best Time To Visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
- How Best To Tour The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
- Don’t Forget Your Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Passport
- Is The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Only Bourbon Distilleries?
- What To Know Before You Hit The Bourbon Trail
What is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® was established in 1999 as a road trip experience for bourbon lovers. It has grown steadily ever since and has expanded to include the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Craft Tour. The main trail features 18 distilleries dotted all throughout Kentucky, while the Craft Tour features 23 distilleries. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Craft Tour have hosted more than 3 million visits in the last five years alone welcoming folks from all 50 states and 25 countries.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Map
Distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®
There are numerous bourbon distilleries on the trail. These range from famous distilleries that put Kentucky’s Bourbon Country on the map, to newer local craft distilleries that are beginning to make a name for themselves.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Distilleries Include:
- Angel’s Envy Distillery
- Bardstown Bourbon Co.
- Bulleit Distilling Co.
- Four Roses Distillery
- Green River Distilling Co.
- Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience
- Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
- James B. Beam Distilling Co.
- Lux Row Distillers
- Maker’s Mark Distillery
- Michter’s at Fort Nelson
- Old Forester Distilling Co.
- Rabbit Hole Distillery
- Stitzel-Weller Distillery
- Town Branch Distillery
- Wild Turkey Distillery
- Wilderness Trail Distillery
- Woodford Reserve Distillery
What are the common tour routes to explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
There are four major regions of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. These regions are broken out by geographic location.
- New Riff
- Second Sight
- Old Pogue
- Boone County
- Neeley Family
- Boundary Oak
- Casey Jones
- MB Roland
- Dueling Grounds
- Kentucky Artisan
- Kentucky Peerless
- Jeptha Creed
- Limestone Branch
- Wilderness Trail
- Barrel House
- James E. Pepper
- Bluegrass Distillers
- Hartfield & Co.
Distilleries on the Craft Tour of theKentucky Bourbon Trail®
- Jeptha Creed Distillery
- Kentucky Artisan Distillery
- Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co
- Limestone Branch Distillery
- Preservation Distillery
- Willett Distillery
- Log Still Distillery
- Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery
- Second Sight Spirits
- Neeley Family Distillery
- New Riff Distillery
- The Old Pogue Distillery
- Boone County Distilling Co.
- The Bard Distillery
- MB Roland Distillery
- Dueling Grounds Distillery
- Casey Jones Distillery
- Boundary Oak Distillery
- Castle & Key Distillery
- Hartfield & Co.
- James E. Pepper Distillery
- Barrel House Distilling Co.
- Bluegrass Distillers
Best Time To Visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
The beauty with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® is you can visit anytime of the year, as the distilleries operate year-round. Some distilleries are closed to the public on certain days of the week, but most are open seven days a week.
How Best To Tour The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®?
Guided Tours and Transportation with Official Tour Company
Your best bet to embark on and enjoy the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® is to go with an esteemed tour company like Mint Julep Experiences, which has been leading Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tours for more than 10 years. Whether you’re looking for a one-day adventure or a multi-day experience, they can create an all-inclusive trip that’ll save you time and hassles.
Each custom tour comes with guaranteed admission into the distilleries of your choice, as well as guided transportation, lunch at local favorites and much, much more. Mint Julep also offers public bourbon tours that depart on select days throughout the week and include stops at three distilleries plus lunch.
Drive Yourself or Uber/Lyft to the Distilleries
If you choose to drive yourself, you’ll need to book tours in advance at each distillery and plan on covering two to three per day — as long as those distilleries are in close proximity to each other. You’ll also want to designate a driver in your group to safely get you from one distillery to the next if you’re renting or driving your own car.
Don’t Forget Your Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Passport
You can purchase your Bourbon Trail™ Passport & Field Guide at any of the 41 participating KBT and Craft Tour distilleries, our purchase one in advance here. With every bourbon experience at a Kentucky Bourbon Trail® or Craft Tour distillery you can collect a stamp on that distillery’s page in your field guide. In addition to the helpful information, history and memorabilia you can also earn rewards with the passport.
Is The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Only Bourbon Distilleries?
While the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® only includes bourbon distilleries, there is much more to see and do while here. Many cities and towns throughout Kentucky have bourbon-inspired restaurants, hotels and B&B options. You can also visit working cooperages, where bourbon barrels are made, like the Brown-Forman Cooperage in Louisville, which you can only visit with Mint Julep Experiences. Louisville also boasts the Urban Bourbon Trail®, where you can hop around to the best cocktail bars in the city to collect stamps in a passport, much like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. Louisville and Lexington are home to thriving brewery scenes as well.
What To Know Before You Hit The Bourbon Trail
- Book your tour reservations in advance — at least a week, if not more.
- Leave plenty of time between tours to assure you arrive 15 minutes before your tour starts.
- Children can attend tours as long as they’re accompanied by an adult. You must be 21 to participate in tastings.
- Some distilleries offer samples of other products during tastings, such as moonshine or vodka.
- Some distilleries sell cocktails before and/or after tours.
- Most distilleries sell bottles and other merchandise at their Visitor’s Centers.
- Plan on spending at least 90 minutes at each distillery for the tour and tasting (although some specialty tours could take longer).