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You don’t have to venture outside of Louisville to find bourbon distilleries! There are now several bourbon experiences easily accessible to downtown Louisville. From small batch distillers to major brand experiences, there’s something for every bourbon connoisseur.

To get a glimpse of them all in one outing, book a custom bourbon tour with Mint Julep Experiences and craft an itinerary along the Urban Bourbon Trail. Learn about Louisville’s bourbon history including the Bourbon District, Whiskey Row and famous distillers of the past. Stop in gift shops for bourbon souvenirs and limited edition bottles of bourbon to take home. Read on for more about the bourbon scene in Louisville, Kentucky.


bourbon district louisville

Bourbon District

Nestled in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky, the Bourbon District stands as a testament to the city’s rich bourbon heritage and vibrant culture. This historic district, encompassing iconic landmarks such as Whiskey Row and the Urban Bourbon Trail, serves as a mecca for bourbon enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. Here, the air is infused with the sweet aroma of aging bourbon, and the cobblestone streets echo with tales of bourbon barons and distilling legends.

Visitors can embark on immersive distillery tours, sampling small-batch bourbons and learning about the meticulous craftsmanship behind each bottle. Beyond the distilleries, the Bourbon District boasts an array of renowned bourbon bars, restaurants, and shops, offering a diverse selection of bourbon-inspired cuisine and memorabilia. Whether savoring a classic bourbon cocktail or exploring the rich history of America’s native spirit, the Bourbon District invites all to experience the timeless allure of bourbon in Louisville.


Whiskey Row

Whiskey Row is a historic district located along Main Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. It earned its name due to its rich history as a hub for bourbon production and warehousing in the 19th century. The area was once home to numerous bourbon distilleries and wholesale liquor businesses, hence the moniker “Whiskey Row.” Today, it has transformed into a vibrant destination boasting a mix of bourbon distilleries, bars, speakeasies, and other bourbon-related experiences. Notable establishments include the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, showcasing the history of Kentucky’s native spirit, and the Old Forester Distillery, offering guided tours and tastings. Visitors can also enjoy renowned bourbon bars like Doc Crow’s and Hell or High Water, which offer extensive bourbon selections and expertly crafted cocktails.

The allure of Whiskey Row lies in its rich heritage, offering travelers and locals alike a chance to immerse themselves in the traditions and flavors of Kentucky bourbon culture. The district’s historic charm, coupled with its array of bourbon-centric attractions and establishments, makes it an enticing destination for bourbon enthusiasts and curious visitors seeking an authentic taste of Louisville’s distilling legacy.

Frazier Welcome Center Lobby.jpeg

Official Starting Point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®

Nestled within the vibrant tapestry of downtown Louisville, the Frazier History Museum stands as more than just a starting point for the renowned Kentucky Bourbon Trail®; it’s a living testament to the state’s rich bourbon heritage. Here, visitors are not only greeted by the anticipation of embarking on a journey through Kentucky’s iconic distilleries but are also treated to an immersive tasting experience like no other. At the museum’s dedicated bourbon tasting room, enthusiasts can indulge in a sensory adventure, savoring the nuanced flavors and aromas that define the essence of Kentucky bourbon.

Moreover, the Frazier History Museum boasts its own Instagram-worthy attraction: the Wall of Bourbon. This captivating display showcases an impressive array of bourbon bottles, each representing a unique chapter in the state’s illustrious distilling history. Against the backdrop of this visually striking homage to Kentucky’s liquid gold, visitors find themselves irresistibly drawn to capture and share the essence of their bourbon pilgrimage. From the first sip to the last snapshot, the Frazier History Museum sets the stage for an unforgettable exploration of bourbon’s past, present, and future.


Still looking for places to stay in downtown Louisville, check out this Louisville hotel guide to plan your route and staying close to the distilleries you love.


History Of Bourbon Distilleries In Louisville

The history of bourbon distilleries in Louisville is deeply intertwined with the city’s rich cultural heritage and its pivotal role in the bourbon industry. Dating back to the late 18th century, when Kentucky settlers began distilling surplus corn into whiskey, Louisville quickly emerged as a prominent hub for bourbon production. One of the earliest distilleries in the region, the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, pays homage to this legacy, as it is named after the Welsh immigrant who established one of the first commercial distilleries in Louisville in 1783.

Over the decades, the city’s strategic location along the Ohio River facilitated transportation and trade, propelling its distilling industry to new heights. By the mid-19th century, Louisville boasted numerous distilleries, including stalwarts such as Brown-Forman and Stitzel-Weller, which played integral roles in shaping bourbon’s reputation as America’s native spirit. Despite facing challenges such as Prohibition in the early 20th century, the bourbon industry in Louisville persevered, with distilleries adapting to changing times and evolving tastes. Today, Louisville stands as a vibrant epicenter of bourbon culture, home to an array of distilleries, cooperages, and bourbon-themed attractions that continue to celebrate and preserve its storied whiskey heritage.


Bourbon Distilleries in Louisville

Louisville Distilleries:

  • Angel’s Envy
  • Copper & Kings
  • Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
  • Kentucky Artisan
  • Kentucky Peerless
  • Michter’s
  • Old Forester
  • Prohibition Craft Spirits
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Stitzel-Weller Experience


Angel’s Envy

What started as an idea between a father and son in 2006 is now acclaimed Angel’s Envy Distillery. Located across from Slugger Field in downtown Louisville, this urban distillery gives an insider’s look at a fully operational distilling facility. Space on guided tours is limited and by reservation only, but you can swing by for a photo op or gift shop visit.

House brands: Angel’s Envy including port finish, rum finish, cask strength and sherry cask offerings.

Located in the East Main District of downtown Louisville

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

Named after Kentucky’s first commercial distiller, Evan Williams, this artisanal distillery experience is the home of Heaven Hill’s flagship brand. It even sits across the street from the riverfront venue of Evan Williams’ late 18th century distillery. If you don’t have time for a full tour and tasting, head up to the gift shop and grab a photo by the enormous, overflowing bourbon glass in the lobby. There’s an on-site bourbon bar too called On3 for a craft cocktail before you go.

House brands: Evan Williams including single barrel, bottled in bond, 1783 and flavored expressions like Evan Williams Honey.

Located in the heart of downtown Louisville’s Whiskey Row district


Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse

This home away from home for the Jim Beam brand is in the heart of downtown Louisville. You’ll find a small working distillery and bottling line at the Fourth Street Live location. The gift shop is full of Jim Beam swag and the only place you can find non-chill filtered, limited edition Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse Select Bourbon.

House brands: Jim Beam, Booker’s, Baker’s, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden and several other whiskey expressions are part of the portfolio.


Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company

The state-of-the-art Peerless Distilling Company mills, cooks, ferments, distills and barrels all is whiskeys under one roof. The father-son duo behind Peerless calls on generations of family history in distilling to make their spirits. You’ll learn about their bourbon making forefathers and how they’re going grain-to-bottle in downtown Louisville. Peerless is on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Craft Tour.

House brands: Peerless only has Rye so far, but will be releasing Bourbon in when its properly aged later this year.

Located in the East Main District of downtown Louisville



Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery

It’s “cost be damned” approach to whiskey making put Michter’s on the map as a high quality spirits maker. As Louisville’s newest distillery experience, Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery is a tourist destination for the legacy brand that dates back to 1753. The urban distillery also has a cocktail bar called Bar at Fort Nelson featuring classic cocktails and modern creations.

House brands: Michter’s US*1 rye, bourbon and American whiskey expressions.

Located in the Shively neighborhood in western Louisville

Bourbon Tasting at Michters Distillery


Old Forester Distilling Co.

Home of the first bottled bourbon, Old Forester Distilling Co.’s downtown Louisville distillery experience shows how the famous brand is made from start to finish. This includes a unique look at the barrel raising process. Located on historic Whiskey Row, you’ll learn the local history of the Old Forester brand and its creator George Garvin Brown. Stop in George’s Bar for bourbon cocktails or a flight or visit the gift shop for bourbon cocktail provisions and more.

House brands: Old Forester expressions including Whiskey Row series (1870, 1897, 1910, 1920), President’s Choice, rye, single barrel and Statesman.

Located in the Whiskey Row district of downtown Louisville

old forester barrel room

Rabbit Hole Distillery

See a modern take on bourbon distilling at Rabbit Hole Distillery in Nulu. The craft bourbon maker’s contemporary, industrial-chic facility is a fascinating contrast to the many historic distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.

House brands: Rabbit Hole’s Kentucky bourbon and rye along with offerings finished in sherry casks and a London dry gin are all made here.

Located in the NuLu (East Market District) neighborhood, east of downtown Louisville

rabbit hole distillery at night

Copper & Kings American Brandy Company

Going against the grains, Copper & Kings American Brandy Company in Butchertown makes brandy, gin and absinthe in Bourbon Country. The innovative distillery’s eye-catching operation is a great addition to any day touring Louisville distilleries. Learn about how different spirits are made and Copper & Kings’ theories on sonic aging and other outside the box distilling techniques. It’s house cocktail bar Alex&nder has one of the best rooftop views in the city and drinks for brandy and bourbon lovers alike.

House brands: Copper & Kings American brandy, gin, absinthe and liqueurs are made here.

Located in the Butchertown neighborhood, just east of downtown Louisville



Prohibition Craft Spirits

Prohibition Craft Spirits pays homage to the Prohibition era by producing small-batch, handcrafted spirits that capture the essence of Kentucky’s distilling tradition. From meticulously aged bourbons to distinctive rye whiskies and flavorful vodkas, each product is carefully crafted using locally sourced grains and pure limestone-filtered water, resulting in spirits of unparalleled quality and character. Visitors to the distillery can experience firsthand the artistry behind each bottle through guided tours and tastings, immersing themselves in the rich history and flavor of Louisville’s thriving craft spirits scene.

Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Butchertown in Louisville


Bourbon Tasting 101

Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is aged in new charred oak barrels and made with at least 51% corn. While bourbon is not region-specific, Kentucky bourbon must be produced in the state (both distilled and aged) to be considered authentic.

The variations in the taste of bourbon can be attributed to two main factors. Firstly, the mash recipe used, with varying percentages of rye, malted barley, wheat, and corn in each bourbon.

Additionally, the flavor and color of bourbon are influenced by the level of char on the barrel and the duration of aging. The process involves the distilled mash interacting with the toasted barrel, resulting in the sweet syrupy taste and caramel hue of bourbon as it extracts sugars from the oak.

The taste of bourbon can vary greatly depending on the percentage of corn, type of barrel, and other factors involved in its production. For example, a bourbon with more corn and a lightly toasted barrel will likely have a sweeter flavor compared to one with more rye and a dark, charred barrel.

Charred Bourbon Barrel Close Up on Cooperages Craft Tour with Mint Julep Experiences

In addition, some bourbons undergo a finishing process where they are aged in a second barrel, which could be another oak barrel or one that previously held another spirit like port or sherry. Finished bourbons are known for their smoothness and sweetness, making them a popular choice for sipping, particularly when paired with chocolate, a popular offering at bourbon distilleries.

Bourbon produced in Kentucky is recognized for its distinct flavor— a sweeter flavor— attributed to the naturally limestone-filtered water found in the region.

Explore the world of bourbon in Louisville to enhance your tasting experience and learn about the intricacies of each sip. Experience Kentucky’s bourbon scene with local experts who will customize an itinerary based on your preferences, taking you to distilleries and bourbon experiences that match your taste and interests. Transportation and guides will be provided to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.


The Urban Bourbon Trail®

Louisville is recognized for its distilleries and the Urban Bourbon Trail®, which highlights the city’s top Bourbon bars and restaurants. This pub crawl features 40 stops, each offering a selection of at least 60 bourbons. The Urban Bourbon Trail offers a variety of spots, from jazz-aged grand hotel bars to hidden speakeasies and neighborhood dives, catering to all tastes.

Book a Custom Bourbon Distillery Tour with Tastings in Louisville

When planning your trip to Louisville for a bourbon tour, why not elevate it with additional activities such as sightseeing, shopping, indulging in local cuisine, or even participating in hands-on mixology cocktail classes? There’s an abundance of opportunities to enrich your experience and maximize your time in this bourbon-loving city.

To kickstart your customized bourbon tour itinerary, consider exploring some of the premier distilleries conveniently located downtown in Louisville. Delve behind the scenes with a distillery tour, where you’ll gain insights into the lifecycle of a barrel, the intricacies of bourbon char, and what sets each bourbon brand apart. Immerse yourself in a guided bourbon tasting session, where you’ll learn the art of properly nosing, smelling, and tasting bourbon. For those seeking a hands-on experience, try your hand at the craft of cocktail making with a mixology class or engage in other bourbon-infused experiences.

As the preferred transportation and tour company of Bourbon Country, Mint Julep Experiences will handcraft your itinerary to create an unforgettable, bourbon-filled experience in Louisville.

About The Author

Sara Havens has been a bourbon enthusiast and educator long before the boom began. As a Louisville-based writer, her work has appeared in various national and regional publications, including Bourbon+ Magazine, The Bourbon Review, Alcohol Professor and Food & Dining Magazine. In 2020, Havens was one of 10 finalists in the World’s Top Whiskey Taster competition held by the Bardstown Bourbon Co., beating out more than 400 contenders to represent the Kentucky region. She maintains her own website,, covering the bourbon industry and local nightlife scene, and in her down time, you can find her leading tours along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® for Mint Julep Experiences.