Louisville is a great place to begin your Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures – 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. We are also pleased to announce that the Frazier Museum is the home of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center! Make time to peruse their Spirit of Kentucky® Bourbon exhibition, shop for Bourbon-y gifts, take a selfie in the bottle hall, and look for the secret speakeasy entrance. The Frazier staff is also an excellent resource for mapping out your trip, so use them as your ‘concierge’ for all things Bourbon.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Bust out the tennies, Whiskey Row is calling! When you walk out of the Frazier Museum, there are four KBT distilleries and one KBTCT distillery within a one mile stretch of Main Street – Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Old Forester Distilling Co., Angel’s Envy Distillery, and Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. These experiences are super walkable, but if you choose to drive, make sure to reverse course as Main Street is one-way. If you would like to leave the driving to someone else, there are plenty of transportation options – click here.
To start your KBT Craft Tour passport, stop by 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.
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, ask about the self-fill bottle station, and head upstairs for something delicious. 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.
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.
Get your shades ready for your 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.
Continue your journey with a 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).
Continue your Louisville experience in the beloved NuLu district at 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.
NEW! Make plans to stop into the Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery where they carefully craft brandy for Bourbon lovers. Make reservations at their Rooftop Bar & Restaurant for a casual yet unforgettable meal and libations overlooking the city.
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. Bring your appetite to the new Garden & Gun Club where southern fare is on full display. (Stitzel-Weller is closed on Tuesdays.)
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.
Now that you’ve left the city limits, make your way to nearby Shelbyville 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.)
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.
The Butchertown Grocery Bakery is the only bakery in the state that also sells Bourbon! Not only will you enjoy fresh-baked European style breakfast and lunch treats, but you will also be able to purchase unique single barrel selections handpicked by Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Johnson. Just check out their IG page and try not to drool!
Kentucky Derby Museum is the place where Derby legends, horses and Bourbon come together to create unforgettable experiences. The Derby Café & Bourbon Bar has more than 100 Bourbons on the menu, making it the perfect spot to stop after one of the Museum’s exclusive tours of Churchill Downs. Guests who go on the Bourbon & Bridles Experience learn why Kentucky’s most iconic treasures – Bourbon & Thoroughbreds – make the perfect pair. The Museum is a quick ten-minute drive from Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Did someone say horses? For an extra special adventure, head to the scenic outskirts of Louisville to the Hermitage Farm where you can take a tour of their working horse farm, stroll through their art walk, peruse their culinary garden, enjoy a Bourbon tasting or cocktail class in a horse barn with some equine friends (hide your peppermints!), and dine at the worldclass Barn 8 Restaurant.
Time to stock up! Grab some old favorites and maybe some hard to find gems at Westport Whiskey & Wine. Show your Bourbon Trail™ Passport & Field Guide 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.
Rest your tired feet and recharge with some great food and drinks. Grab an Urban Bourbon Trail® passport and start dining your way around town and discover what “Bourbonism” means to us.
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 some downtown options check into the storied Seelbach Hotel, order a famed “Seelbach” cocktail, and ask about Al Capone’s getaway tunnels! Nestled in downtown Louisville on historic West Main Street, along Museum Row, 21c Museum Hotel Louisville is a contemporary art museum, an award-winning 91-room boutique hotel, and home to acclaimed Proof on Main restaurant. 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.