Bust out the tennies, Whiskey Row is calling! When you walk out of the Frazier Museum and turn left, there are four KBTTM distilleries within a one mile stretch of Main Street – Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Old Forester Distilling Co., and Angel’s Envy Distillery. These experiences are super walkable, but if you choose to drive, make sure to reverse course as Main Street is one-way.
Start your distillery tours at the home of the Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery. See the pot stills from the original Michter’s Pennsylvania Distillery, which traces its history back to 1753. Test your senses in the lab, and finish your tour off in the second floor bar. The Bar at Fort Nelson features classic cocktails curated by cocktail historian and author David Wondrich as well as modern creations by Bar Manager Carrie Casler and Bartenders David Tuney and Aron Queen (ask about the self-fill bottle station!).
Head two blocks down to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, located just a stones-throw from the port where Evan himself used to send barrels down the river. ON3 is an urban-chic loft space that is open and airy, with exposed brick and floor-to-ceiling windows. You’ll find barrel staves and bottle chandeliers at the bar, and plenty of space to sit and mingle. Enjoy flights of Bourbon, or a specially prepared cocktail from their Mixologist, Karla Plott.
Get your shades ready for you next stop! The Old Forester Distilling Co. is four floors of Bourbon education like you’ve never seen before. You will see barrels being assembled and charred (hence the shades) in their on-site cooperage and end your tour in their state of the art cocktail lounge, George’s Bar. If visiting on Fridays and Saturdays, have your camera ready as the Old Forester Whisky Drummer drums up business on Whiskey Row! Watch as the barrels built and filled in the cooperage are rolled out onto Main Street and into their vintage-style barrel truck.
Prepare your palate for this distillery’s different take on Bourbon. At Angel’s Envy, they age their Bourbon in ruby port wine casks giving it a subtle depth of flavor. After your tour, grab a hand-crafted cocktail in their gorgeous, second story bar overlooking the Ohio River. (Angel’s Envy is a reservation-only distillery and is closed on Tuesdays.)
Next, head to the beloved NuLu district to visit Rabbit Hole Distillery. Step into this ultra-modern facility to learn how the owner fell in love with Bourbon as he fell in love with a girl, and what drives him to make what he considers to be the best Bourbons and ryes. Finish your tour with a cocktail in their Overlook bar curated by Death + Co.
Make your way back to West Louisville to tour the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery. This site originally opened in 1935 has been closed to the public for years. Walk around for a few minutes and you’ll see just how much whiskey history has occurred on these hallowed grounds. (Stitzel-Weller is closed on Tuesdays.)
Leave the city limits momentarily to peruse the new home of Bulleit Distilling Co. Tour their state-of-the-art distillery, grab a cocktail from their bar, and take home a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon with your own customized label. (Bulleit is closed on Mondays.)
Take a short 40 minutes drive south on I-65 to the home of one of the world’s most noted whiskeys – the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. After seeing every step of the process, you’ll have the chance to dip your own bottle of Knob Creek right off the bottling line. After the interactive, multi-sensory tour, make sure to grab some BBQ at Fred’s Smokehouse, and sip a cocktail on the patio. Stay tuned to their events calendar for any special happenings throughout the year.
(You may choose to visit the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse in downtown Louisville to receive your stamp in your passport. Drop into the JBUS for a quick tasting or sign up for their table-side cocktail experience–and don’t forget to fill and label your own bottle of Urban Stillhouse Select)
(Just south of Jim Beam lies the Four Roses Warehouse & Bottling Facility in Cox’s Creek. You may choose to get your passport stamped here or at the distillery. This Four Roses tour focuses on its warehouse and bottling operations. Save on admission fees if you tour both within 60 days.)