Bourbon Distillery Tour

New routes available for public Kentucky bourbon distillery tours

Your all-inclusive ticket to Bourbon Country just got better! Mint Julep Tours has expanded options for full-day public bourbon tours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Public Bourbon Tours

Jim Beam TourStarting July 21, additional routes are open to explore the Bourbon Country with Mint Julep Tours. Each day trip includes stops at three fine Kentucky distilleries, lunch at a locally-owned restaurant, all admissions and planning, and comfortable transportation with an enthusiastic tour leader. 

  • Thursday guests tour Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Heaven Hill.
  • Friday guests can chose to tour distilleries on one of two routes: Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey; or Maker’s Mark, Limestone Branch and Heaven Hill.
  • Saturday guests can chose to tour distilleries on one of two routes: Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Barton 1792; or Bulleit Frontier Experience, Town Branch and Barrel House.

On a Mint Julep Tours public bourbon tour, guests visit two distilleries for tours with tastings and one distillery for a tasting-only experience. Every stop includes a visit to the gift shop for your Kentucky souvenirs.

Your Mint Julep tour leader will guide your way giving insight into Kentucky’s rich distillery history, bourbon traditions and whiskey wisdom throughout the day. Each 8+ hour bourbon tour departs from the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville. You’ll meet your Mint Julep Tours bus there and ride comfortably to each distillery and then returning to the Galt House that evening. Guests are welcome to bring their own coolers with snacks and beverages on the bus. Mint Julep Tours encourages you to drink responsibly.

3-Day Bourbon Country Adventures

You can even make it a three-day adventure to 9 different distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® in three consecutive days.

To book your next Kentucky bourbon tour, shop online or call us at 502-583-1433.

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.”

Map to Mint Julep Tours OfficeMint 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.

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, call 502-583-1433, or email

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.

Kentucky Cooperage where Bourbon Barrels are madeThe 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.

Brown-Forman Cooperage TourPaying 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 to book a tour today.

Two Unique Ways To Experience Jim Beam This Friday

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.

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

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 More information and a flyer for the tour can be found at