KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR® ITINERARY
THE KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR®
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® is an essential adventure for the Bourbon enthusiast looking to go deeper than ever. Winding through the rolling hills and Bluegrass fields, this tour takes you further into the unrivaled craftsmanship of Kentucky’s Bourbon industry than ever before.
We have completely revamped the Craft Tour that you all know and love…and we think you’re in for a treat! The passport is now a 60+ bound book featuring 19 distilleries and includes helpful contact info, photos, cocktail recipes and details about each distillery experience. Passports may be purchased for $3 at any KBTCT distillery, or in advance by clicking here (ordering online will include fees for tax and shipping).
And there’s another big change you might notice. We have broken down this experience into 4 bite-sized regions – Northern, Central, Western, and Bluegrass. Once you complete an entire region, you get a challenge coin. Once you have completed all 4 regions and have all your coins, you will receive a commemorative stave to house your coins and the official tasting glass of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®!
We suggest setting aside about 1 week to complete the full KBT Craft Tour Passport, but take your time and savor the experience. Like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® is best planned around the charming communities and cities where you’d like to spend the night. There’s something for everyone – big-city nightlife, quaint country towns, Bourbon-themed hotels and historic bed & breakfast accommodations. Travelers along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® should note that some of the micro-distilleries may have limited touring days. The itinerary below outlines just one path to visiting each distillery, but feel free to arrange the trip any way you want.
(Good things come to those who wait! Please remember that our Craft distilleries are setting their Bourbon back to age but some may not be ready for sampling or purchase. There will be a Bourbon barrel designation in the passport for distilleries whose main output is Bourbon.)
Want to leave the driving and planning to someone else? We support planning ahead and staying safe on the KBT tours. Book today with one of our trusted Transportation partners.
Northern Kentucky has played an important role in the movement and production of whiskey throughout our country’s history. Today visitors can explore their booming craft distillery scene, catch a ballgame, shop at Newport on the Levee, and enjoy a delicious meal and cocktails at any of the top-notch NKY establishments. Need another challenge? While you’re at it, drop in to at least 2 distilleries, 2 bars and 2 restaurants listed on your B-Line passport for a full Northern Kentucky experience.
Start your Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® passport at New Riff Distilling. Discover how New Riff is putting their own modern spin on an age-old tradition, making high quality Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and rye. Make sure to stop by the Party Source next door to peruse their Bourbons and hundreds of spirits offerings.
Just a few miles away you will find Second Sight Spirits, a small distillery with a huge entertainment factor. Founded by two industrial designers that left the Vegas strip for the thriving metropolis of Ludlow, Kentucky, Second Sight makes a variety of spirits on a self-engineered, one-of-a-kind still that has to be seen to be believed. Good fortune awaits next door at their tasting and events room, so check their calendar often for offerings only Carus and Rick could imagine.
From Second Sight, following the river to Maysville – a picturesque town nestled on the banks of the Ohio River in northeastern Kentucky, just one hour southeast of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Old Pogue Distillery is operated by fifth and sixth generations of the Pogue family whose ancestors began operations in Maysville in 1876. Old Pogue makes only Kentucky Bourbon and rye whiskies using their time honored family recipes. Be sure to make an online tour reservation at Old Pogue as walk-ins are not always available.
Make your way back west to the home of the Boone County Distilling Co. Boone County has taken up the tradition of a distillery that once was located only miles from the facility. Stop in to see why their spirits are “made by ghosts” and sample their Kentucky Bourbon, Bourbon Cream and their White Whiskey, Tanner’s Curse.
The last stop in the Northern Region is the Neeley Family Distillery. To see what 11 generations of distilling heritage looks like, and how they transitioned their focus from moonshine to Kentucky Bourbon, drop in for a tasting and an amazing history lesson.
Your next destination is nestled in the quiet countryside just outside Louisville. Kentucky Artisan Distillery produces its own label, Whiskey Row Bourbon, a blend of small batch barrels mirroring the recipes that came about during the westward expansion of the United States.
Just a quick jog off the interstate in downtown Louisville brings you to the Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Learn how the Taylors are preserving their family’s 130-year distilling tradition as you tour their beautiful facility. Take home some of their rye whiskey or their newly released Bourbon and ask about the family distilling history that dates back almost 100 years.
When you visit Jeptha Creed Distillery, you feel like family. The Netherys use an heirloom variety of “bloody butcher” corn to make their Bourbon, and raise their own produce they use to infuse their spirits with. After your tour, grab a cocktail and gaze over the rolling hills and rickhouses.
Louisville is a great place to end (or begin) your Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventure – after all, their official drink is the Old Fashioned! When you’re not touring one of Louisville’s legendary distilleries, you can dine, shop, relax, and discover what “Bourbonism” means to us. Don’t forget to grab an Urban Bourbon Trail® passport and start dining your way around town.
We are pleased to announce that the Frazier Museum is the home of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center and is now open on historic Whiskey Row! Stop in for help in planning your Bourbon travels, shop for Bourbon-y gifts, take a selfie in the bottle hall, and peruse their amazing Spirit of Kentucky exhibition.
Time to stock up! Grab some old favorites and maybe some hard to find gems at Westport Whiskey & Wine. Show your Kentucky Bourbon Trail® or Craft Tour passport and ask about their discounts and special offers! Need to take a walk on the sweet side? Indulge in delectable Bourbon truffles and other divine confections at Art Eatables. Get your belly full and enjoy a well-crafted Bourbon flight at Bourbons Bistro, Louisville’s foremost Bourbon bar, located in the historic Clifton district. With a selection of more than 130 Bourbons, including an exclusive barrel selection program, Bourbons Bistro has a seasonal menu that is Bourbon inspired and locally sourced. Make reservations at ALEX&NDER for a casual yet unforgettable meal and libations overlooking the city.
Need a place to stay? We have options! When booking at the Marriott Louisville East, ask about the Bourbon suite complete with Bourbon-barrel decor. Enjoy a “Bourbon of the day” and other nightly drink specials at Charr’d Bourbon Kitchen & Lounge. For a downtown option check into the storied Seelbach Hotel, order a famed “Seelbach” cocktail, and ask about Al Capone’s getaway tunnels! If you’re looking for luxurious, southern accommodations a little off the beaten path, make reservations at the Chateau Bourbon B&B for a great night’s sleep and a Bourbon-inspired breakfast.
On your way to Bardstown, make a pit stop in Shepherdsville – a perfect and convenient place to go shopping, dine or lay your head after so much Bourbon education. Don’t miss the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest across from Jim Beam.
Continue your journey in historic Bardstown – the Bourbon Capital of the World® and an Official Gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail™.
Start your experience in Bardstown at another historic distillery rich in family history. Tour the grounds at Willett Distillery and make reservations at The Bar at Willett for an unforgettable cocktail and dining experience (I bet you didn’t know you liked egg salad until you try this!).
Less than 2 miles from the center of enchanting Bardstown on an old tobacco farm you’ll find Preservation Distillery + Farms, a small operating farm and distillery making 100% pot distilled Bourbon and whiskey in 1-3 barrel batches. Longhorn cattle roam the property, and with itty bitty releases of their Olde St Nick, Wattie Boone, Cowboy Little Barrel and Preservation you’re sure to have a worthwhile visit.
Don’t miss an opportunity to dine on classic Kentucky fare in the Old Talbott Tavern (try the fried green tomatoes), have a nightcap in the “world’s oldest Bourbon bar”, and even spend the night if you feel so inclined. And take a stroll through the past in the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History.
Next you’re going to head west to get some more stamps in your passport. Just outside of Bardstown in Radcliff, stop into Boundary Oak Distillery and try their small batch offerings such as their Lincoln Straight Bourbon, Patton Armored Diesel, and Kentucky Amber.
And just up the road is Casey Jones Distillery, a beautiful property that is perfect for some porch-sipping of their fine spirits. Makers of traditional moonshine and other spirits, Casey Jones’ scenic setting and fantastic hospitality will leave you an expert on how to create the world famous Moonarita.
Next up – MB Roland Distillery. A complete grain-to-glass distillery, MB Roland uses local grains to produce their line of spirits. During the summer and fall months they offer their “Pickin’ on the Porch” concert series right on the porch of the distillery.
Make your way to the charming Dueling Grounds Distillery to sample their newly released Linkumpinch Bourbon or their delicious fruit liqueurs.
(Note to KBTCT passport holders: Corsair Distillery is consolidating its operations to Nashville and the Bowling Green location is closed and a stamp is no longer needed for this location.)
Lebanon is literally the “heart” of Kentucky — it’s the geographic center of the Bluegrass State–and an Official Trailhead of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail™. There’s a lot of history in this small town with the Civil War Trail and the John Hunt Morgan Trail. Grab a snack downtown and then stop by the beautiful Limestone Branch Distillery, a founding member of the KBT Craft Tour®. 7th generation Beams – Steve & Paul – will let you sample some of their award-winning products including the Yellowstone Bourbon and Minor Case Rye.
You’ve seen how the whiskey is made. You’ve learned how to mix it in a cocktail. But have you ever seen the skilled craftsmen bending the staves to make the barrels, hammering on the rings, and charring the insides with a big burst of flame? Now you can! Book a cooperage tour at the Independent Stave Company in Lebanon and leave smelling like our favorite perfume – charred oak. (close-toed shoes required)
Next destination – Danville: the birthplace of Kentucky. Enjoy the beauty of the Bluegrass as you stroll through the vibrant downtown while taking in the historic, small-town charm. Make reservations at The Still at AMBRAbev for Brazilian-inspired fare and cocktails.
Settle in to the historic Beaumont Inn for dining, drinks and relaxation in Kentucky’s first settlement. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Beaumont has 31 guest rooms, spa and massage services and offers delicious Southern cuisine. Don’t miss the adjoining Old Owl Tavern and their generous selection of Bourbon brands. Call to setup your own Innkeeper’s Bourbon Tasting with house Bourbon specialist, Dixon Dedman.
If you access Lexington via Lawrenceburg, swing by Sweet Mash Southern Goods & Spirits for unique Bourbon gifts, trendy accessories, southern staples and a curated cocktail collection of Kentucky spirits, wines, and bar must-haves. They’ve been making whiskey in Anderson County for centuries, and this historic town is waiting to share their timeless secrets. If you find yourself just up the road in Frankfort, set sail on the Bourbon Boat to learn about the area’s history along the river.
Lexington’s Barrel House Distillery true to its name, is housed in the former barreling house of the James E. Pepper distilling complex which operated from 1879-1958. Grab a drink at the adjoining Elkhorn Tavern and explore the old distillery district – also now the home to the James E. Pepper distillery located just next door. After a multi-year construction effort, the historic distillery—which after fifty years of neglect had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair—has been completely restored and is now tour and tasting ready.
Located in a newly renovated complex that was formerly an old bakery and colloquially known as “the bread box”, there’s plenty to do when visiting Bluegrass Distillers. Find out how organic and locally sourced grains make all the difference in this unique Bourbon. You can’t hit the road without one of their signature mini bundt cakes (as available).
Paris is comprised of miles of rolling hills, quiet streams and some of the world’s finest thoroughbred horse farms. Contrary to its name, Bourbon County was not home to an active distillery since prohibition until Hartfield & Co. Distillery opened in 2013. Hartfield & Co. pride themselves on using local grains, most of which come from within 10 miles of the distillery. Don’t leave without enjoying a cocktail next door at Prichard & Bail.
With great Bourbon, cuisine, shopping and horses, there’s no better place to hang your hat than Lexington. Touted Horse Capital of the World, it’s the perfect place to recharge for your next day of Bourbon adventures. Speaking of horses, if you want to check out some thoroughbred farms, our friends at Horse Country Tours have a VIP seat with your name on it. Make reservations at the Campbell House – a horse farm turned award-winning historic hotel. Visit their Rackhouse Tavern and choose from over 300 Bourbons and whiskeys (Rackhouse opening late Jan ’20). For an “artful” escape, book a room at the 21c Museum Hotel – part boutique hotel, part contemporary art museum, and part restaurant in the heart of downtown Lexington. Dine at the on-site Lockbox restaurant for cuisine highlighting the region’s best ingredients, then hit the bar to sample over 60 fine Bourbons and ryes. Click here for discounts and special offers through their Bourbon Passport Club! The locals will tell you that Distilled at The Sire is the perfect spot for a romantically exquisite meal and a Bourbon or cocktail from their extensive list. You can’t leave Kentucky without popping the top on Ale-8-One, Kentucky’s oldest surviving soft drink with a kick of spicy ginger. Kentuckians love to drink it straight or mix it up in a cocktail.
With charming towns like Midway, Versailles, and Millville, Woodford County has scenic beauty (and great Bourbon) in spades. Peruse the shops, have an amazing meal, visit a real castle, and sip on America’s native spirit in one of their fine restaurants or distilleries. Follow Glenn’s Creek to Millville where The Stave Restaurant is waiting to serve you some delightful southern fare and a crafted cocktail.
(Note that Wilderness Trail Distillery has moved from the KBT Craft Tour onto the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tour. You may still get your Craft Tour book stamped here and collect your regional / completion gift, but the stamp is no longer required for completion.)