What is Mint Julep Experiences?
Mint Julep Experiences (formerly Mint Julep Tours) is a Louisville, Kentucky-based company specializing in tours of the Bluegrass State to bourbon distilleries, horse farms, breweries, wineries, historic landmarks and beyond. We offer ticketed public tours, limited elevated experiences, and customized group tours of any size. Our experience coordinators can also plan events, coordinate meals and act as your concierge and trip planner. While we are based in Louisville, we can coordinate your customized tour to pick you up anywhere in Kentucky including Lexington, Frankfort and Bardstown, or nearby cities like Nashville, Indianapolis or Cincinnati. Our sister company Bourbon City Cruisers operates tuk tuk sightseeing tours of downtown Louisville.
How do I sign up for a tour?
Any of our public tours can be booked online or by calling 502-583-1433. To customize a trip for your group, call 502-583-1433 or fill out our online form to start planning your destinations and itinerary with an experience coordinator.
What is the difference between a public tour and a custom tour?
Public tours have pre-set itineraries that depart from one location. Guests on a public tour will travel with other Mint Julep Tours customers to each planned destination on one of our buses. Custom tours are hand-crafted with your own itinerary created by working one-on-one with one of our experience coordinators. You will travel privately with your group to each destination. You chose the pickup and drop-off locations that work best for your group.
Are there age restrictions on bourbon tours?
To legally drink in Kentucky, you must be 21 years of age and have a valid form of identification. Underage guests or guests without ID will not be permitted to drink on a Mint Julep Tours bus or at a distillery. However, most distilleries allow underage guests to tour without tasting spirits. Tour price remains the same if you drink alcohol or abstain. For ticketed public bourbon tours through Mint Julep Tours, children must be 12 years of age or older.
Do I have to drink on a bourbon tour?
No! Many guests chose to enjoy Bourbon Country without ever tasting bourbon. Bourbon tours share the history of America’s native spirit and its craftsmanship, offering a learning opportunity for everyone. Every guest comes away with a newfound appreciation of the spirit and the state of Kentucky whether they chose to drink or not.
What kind of vehicles do you use for tours?
Most public bourbon tours travel in one of our comfortable 23-passenger buses. Custom groups can chose from our fleet of vehicles ranging from luxury SUVs to large buses. Tuk tuk (6-passenger electric vehicle) tours are available through our sister company Bourbon City Cruisers for public tours and private charters.
Can I bring alcohol on the tour bus?
Yes! On public tours, Mint Julep Tours guests may bring a cooler (12×12 or smaller) with snacks and beverages. On custom tours, cooler size may be larger depending on the size of your group. In all cases, you must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol. Travelers are encouraged to drink responsibly. Company policy dictates that no alcohol may be consumed before a tour of a horse farm or cooperage for safety reasons. Ice and bottled water are provided on all Mint Julep Tours.
Do you offer gift certificates?
Yes! You can purchase a gift certificate online or by calling 502-583-1433. Gifts can be made in any amount or for any tour. If you need help choosing a dollar amount or ordering, just call.
What will I learn from my tour guide or driver?
Our staff of more than 30 enthusiastic and experienced tour leaders and drivers will be your guide to Kentucky. If you are on a public bourbon tour, your tour leader will share history and fun facts for most of the time you are on the bus. We fill in the blanks between what you learn at each distillery stop and expand upon tour facts. He or she can answer any questions you have along the way. If you are on a custom tour, your driver and/or tour leader can be as informative and involved as you would like him or her to be. Many of our tour leaders are certified bourbon stewards with the Stave & Thief Society, which requires intensive study and a certification test.
How far in advance should I book my tour?
We suggest booking as soon as you have your travel dates selected. In busy seasons, some public tours may sell out 2-3 months in advance. In slower times, you may be able to hop on a tour with a couple days’ notice. Custom tours can be planned well in advance or on short notice. To ensure you can visit your top picks for destinations and secure the vehicle of your choice, we suggest calling as soon as you have a headcount and dates. The most popular months to visit Kentucky are April, May, June, September and October.
What should I bring on my tour?
If you are visiting a distillery or horse farm, we suggest wearing closed-toe shoes. Dress is casual. Please bring valid ID if you plan to consume alcohol. You may bring a cooler (limited 12×12 or smaller on public tours) with snacks and beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) on the bus.
What shouldn’t I bring on my tour?
All Mint Julep Tours vehicles are non-smoking. Some distilleries have designated areas for smoking. Possession of firearms or other weapons is strictly prohibited.
Is it customary to tip the tour guide or driver?
Gratuity is always appreciated. It is up to you if you’d like to show any extra appreciation to your guide or driver.
Visiting Kentucky FAQs
Where should I stay in Louisville?
Mint Julep Tours works with a number of partner hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and AirBnBs to offer lodging for guests visiting Louisville. Some even offer discounts for our tour customers. View our list of suggested places to stay.
What else should I do in Louisville?
Where do we begin! Louisville is a vibrant and exciting city year-round. Popular attractions include Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum and Bat Factory, Louisville Mega Cavern, the Muhammad Ali Center, and Waterfront Park. Consider a sightseeing tour with us to see as much as you can. Local sports include University of Louisville college athletics, Louisville Bats baseball, Louisville City Football Club USL soccer, and, of course, horse racing including the Kentucky Derby. With many vibrant neighborhoods with unique assets, like NuLu, Germantown, The Highlands, Butchertown and Clifton, there’s plenty to see and do in Louisville.
Where should I eat in Louisville?
Louisville’s local culinary scene has been praised by publications and critics from worldwide. Our diverse restaurant offerings take advantage of Kentucky’s rich agrarian culture for farm-to-table cooking, showcase chef’s inspirations and whims, and range to all price points and styles. Ask your experience coordinator or tour leader to give suggestions based on your personal taste to plan the ultimate foodie adventure.
Where can I buy rare bourbon?
Many distilleries offer limited releases on-site that are not available outside the premises or the state. Ask your tour leader what you may be able to find at each destination or to suggest liquor stores to visit. Some bourbon distilleries offer ways to customize your own bottle for a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
What is the best time of year to visit Kentucky?
When isn’t a good time to visit Kentucky? With four distinct seasons, there are great adventures to be had in the Bluegrass State year-round. Our busiest and most popular months are April, May, June, September and October. For a calendar of annual music and art festivals, sporting events and recurring outdoor entertainment, visit our Events page.
What is the weather like in Kentucky?
Kentucky experiences four distinct seasons with warm summers and mild winters. Weather can vary a lot from day to day. Always check the forecast before your tour to see if an umbrella or jacket would be helpful. Spring and fall are the most common seasons for travel to Kentucky, but you may find good deal and see less crowded attractions in winter and summer.
Can I tour bourbon distilleries without leaving Louisville?
Absolutely! The city of Louisville is now home to several fine bourbon and spirits distilleries. Craft makers offer tours and tastings to learn Kentucky’s bourbon culture without traveling far out into the state. To plan a Louisville city tour, call 502-583-1433 or fill out our contact form.
Can I meet a master distiller?
Maybe. Mint Julep Tours works with several distilleries for exclusive experiences including some guided tours and tastings with master distillers. Availability may vary – they’re very busy!
What are the TSA rules for traveling with alcohol?
We are often asked how our guests can bring their favorite Kentucky bourbons back home after their visit. Visit our blog for up to date TSA alcohol guidelines and regulations for planes.
Public Tour FAQs
What is included on a public bourbon tour?
Each public bourbon tour includes transportation to all destinations Falls City Market in the Omni Louisville Hotel in downtown Louisville in a Mint Julep Tours vehicle. All distillery admissions for the day and tastings at each location are included. Lunch at a local restaurant is also included. Lunch location varies. Guests will be able to choose one option from a special menu. If you would like to purchase alcohol at lunch or any souvenirs or bottles to take home, that is not included. Gratuity for your tour leader is also not included but always appreciated. Kentucky sales tax and a convenience fee will be added at checkout. Parking is not included in your ticket fee. For Louisville parking information, visit PARC Map or PARC Garage websites.
How much walking is involved on a public tour?
Each distillery tour varies but there is a fair amount of walking in Bourbon Country. We do suggest comfortable closed-toe shoes on all tours. Most distilleries are wheelchair accessible and can accommodate special circumstances. Most tours are partially outdoors.
Where is the pickup location?
All public bourbon tours and most other ticketed tours depart downtown Louisville. Tours depart from the Mint Julep Hub in the Omni Louisville Hotel. Please check in at least 15 minutes before your departure time. Your tour leader will check you in, give you a wristband, and lead you to the bus as a group.
Can I buy a ticket the day of a tour?
It is unlikely that we will be able to accommodate same-day requests. If you see a tour online that is less than 24 hours away, you can call 502-583-1433 to ask about availability. We have an on-call employee outside of business hours that may be able to find you a seat but there is no guarantee.
If a tour is sold out, is there a waitlist?
Yes. If your preferred tour is sold out, please call 502-583-1433 if you would like to be added to our waitlist. Cancellations are rare but in some cases, we will add an additional tour bus that day for you to join. We also offer customized tours seven days a week. We can tailor your itinerary to visit your favorite destinations in a private vehicle. Call or contact us for availability and pricing.
How far in advance can I book my bourbon tour?
In most cases, booking opens 180 days in advance of tour departure date. Online booking automatically cuts off 24 hours in advance of departure. For help booking outside these times, call 502-583-1433 and our on-call staff can help any time! Because itineraries, availability at distilleries, timing and pricing may change, we only allow booking 6 months in advance.
Do I need to print my ticket for a public tour?
No, it is not necessary to bring a physical copy of your tour booking confirmation. Your Mint Julep Tours tour leader will have a roster of guests at check-in.
Can I book a tour by phone instead of online?
Absolutely – just call 502-583-1433.
What is your cancellation policy?
Our tours are non-refundable. In rare cases, we may allow you to rebook your tour on a new date due to extreme circumstances. To request a change to your booking, call 502-583-1433.
What happens if I miss my tour?
Our tour buses will leave at their scheduled departure time to ensure each guest gets the best experience. Our schedule does not allow for late arrivals. You will be charged the full tour fee. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your departure time. Mint Julep Tours will not be responsible for delays due to traffic conditions, accidents, or any other causes beyond its control.
What are ‘elevated experiences’?
Mint Julep Tours offers elevated experiences to give guests a premium tour outing to some of Kentucky’s most popular destinations. Each elevated experience includes elements that are not available to the public, often including with behind-the-scenes access, rare tastings, master distiller meet-and-greets, and special chef’s menus.
Do you offer tours the week of the Kentucky Derby?
Yes – each year, we develop special tours given the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday of Kentucky Derby week. Public tours to horse farms and bourbon distilleries vary. See our Derby Week tours page for details. Advance booking for the next year’s Derby Week tours opens in June. Plan early, they often sell out!
Custom Tour FAQs
What are the options for customized tours?
The possibilities are endless. Kentucky has over 100 destinations like bourbon distilleries, horse farms, historic sites and culinary hubs to explore. Scan the destinations section of our website or call 502-583-1433 to find out which places your group would enjoy most. Custom tours can be a few hours or a few days. We’re flexible!
How many people can you accommodate on a customize tour?
We work with groups of all sizes. Travel with 1 or 100+ and we’re happy to help. Our fleet of luxury vehicles includes SUVs, vans, transits and buses. We also work with Kentucky’s best transportation companies to book affiliate vehicles for larger groups.
Do you offer VIP transportation or airport pickups?
Yes. We can coordinate for our professional drivers to pick you up anywhere needed. Ask your experience coordinator about pricing and availability.
Can you pick me up at my hotel?
Yes. Our custom tours are scheduled to best meet your needs and maximize your day.
How can I visit all 13 distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® in one trip?
Yes, it is possible to visit the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail® in about four days. Because of distillery schedules and locations, we suggest 3 or 4 distillery visits each day of your trip. Keep in mind that Kentucky is home to more than 20 more distilleries not in the official passport including craft and large-scale spirits makers.
How many distilleries can I see in one day?
We suggest 3 or 4 distillery visits per day. To maximize your itinerary, chose one of three routes (east, south or city) to visit distilleries in a centralized location each day. Many distilleries are only open for a few hours a day, with the final tour in mid-afternoon. Starting early is the best way to see the most places.
Can I tour a horse farm or thoroughbred training facility?
Absolutely. More than 20 horse farms and horse-related facilities in Kentucky are now offering tours. Plan your customized tour to incorporate any of them for a true look at Horse Country. Stud farms, nurseries, training facilities and race tracks are all options. See the list.
Do you offer sightseeing tours?
Yes. Our enthusiastic guides are great at incorporating sightseeing into any custom tour. Ask your experience coordinator about how you can see the best sites in the state. We occasionally offer public sightseeing tours. See booking for details.
Do you offer food tours?
Yes! Louisville is a fantastic food city and there are many great culinary experiences to be had across the state of Kentucky. Whether you want to taste how the real Kentucky fries chicken, search for the best biscuit, or go on a candy tour of Louisville, let us know and we’ll make it happen.