8 Must-Visit Whiskey Distilleries in Kentucky

8 Must-Visit Whiskey Distilleries in KentuckyKENTUCKY - Kentucky boasts some of the finest distilleries if you're searching for a classic bourbon, aged rye, or even an unblended American whiskey. With more new distilleries opening their doors, Kentucky now boasts more modern and creative spirits. These bourbon distilleries are revolutionizing the industry and taking it to new heights.

8 Must-Visit Whiskey Distilleries in Kentucky

Kentucky's Best Whiskey Distilleries

1. Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort is home to various spirits, including bourbon whiskey. As a National Historic Landmark and longtime leader in the American whiskey industry, this distillery continues to set standards for excellence.

It produces various products like rye whiskey, bourbon, and vodka. This company thrives in the spirit industry with an annual production capacity of more than two million gallons of spirit. There are various tours to choose from at the distillery: Trace Tour, Hard Hat Tour, and National Historic Landmark Tour.

After your tour, stop for lunch at one of the many restaurants near the distillery and try a Kentucky Hot Brown. The distillery is renowned for its award-winning whiskies. It uses corn, rye, and barley in its mash bills, then ages them in charred oak barrels.

2. Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg

Wild Turkey Bourbon has become one of the world's best-known brands since 1869, when it was created at Wild Turkey Hill in Lawrenceburg, KY. Austin Nichols founded the distillery as a wholesale grocer. He would source his bourbon from various distilleries over time.

Wild Turkey website states that the bourbon's name was inspired by a distillery executive who took his friends hunting with him and shared some sourced 101-proof 8-year-old bourbon. When they returned, they asked for more; thus, the brand was born.

Wild Turkey currently has 700,000 barrels aging in their warehouse. Their whiskey can be found in all major markets worldwide, and sales have seen an annual growth rate of 14.6% since 2016.

While in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, you should visit Wild Turkey Distillery to gain more insight into the process of crafting some of America's finest whiskey. You'll have the chance to tour their facility and even purchase some bottles to take home for later enjoyment.

3. Jim Beam in Clermont

Jim Beam bourbon has been one of the world's best-selling brands since 1795, produced in Clermont, Kentucky until Prohibition interrupted production. Suntory owns the distillery now, a Japanese conglomerate that manufactures several different types of spirits. It's considered a premium brand and one of the oldest bourbon brands in America.

You can tour the stillhouse at the distillery to learn about bourbon production and the family's history. A restaurant on site also serves traditional Jim Beam cuisine with an added Jim Beam touch. Finally, enjoy a guided tasting of Jim Beam, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden's spirits!

4. Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville

In 2017, The Bulleit Distilling Company unveiled its brand-new distillery and visitor experience in Shelbyville, KY. This facility combines cutting-edge technology on Kentucky farmland with a warm, inviting atmosphere.

The Visitor Experience boasts a retail area, cocktail bar, three tasting rooms/event space, and plenty of seating around the double-sided fireplace. Additionally, it provides educational experiences and tastings so visitors can learn more about the distilling process, sustainability initiatives, etc.

Bulleit bourbons are made with limestone-filtered water and aged in charred American oak barrels to give them a distinctive smoky taste. Furthermore, their high rye content adds bold, spicy notes to the final product.

This bourbon has an aroma of vanilla and caramel with a subtle hint of orange from its aging process. Its slightly light scent makes it an excellent choice for someone just starting with bourbon. Bulleit whiskeys can be found at local liquor stores, craft shops, and restaurants. Plus, they have their website where you can purchase bourbon online.

5. Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles

Woodford Reserve Distillery, situated in Versailles, Kentucky, is home to one of America's most esteemed whiskey brands. Since 1996, this super-premium "small batch" bourbon has gained a devoted following for its superior quality and taste.

Nestled among picturesque horse farms, this distillery has operated since 1812. As one of America's smallest and oldest distilleries, it has a proud heritage of producing traditional Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey using copper pot stills and aging in limestone warehouses.

Tours at this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcase the centuries-old process of making straight Kentucky bourbon. Some over a century old, the limestone buildings boast cypress fermentors, copper pot stills, and charred oak barrels that date back to 1629.

The distillery also features a tasting room with sample bottles and a gift shop. Owned by Brown-Forman, which also owns Jack Daniel's and Old Forester brands, the tour includes an informative short film about the distillery's history.

6. Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto

Maker's Mark, located in Loretto, KY, is one of the world's most iconic bourbon brands. As a pioneer of American Craft Bourbon culture, it helped introduce adherents to this category both within America and abroad.

The distillery's bourbon is made with soft red winter wheat instead of hard white corn, creating the signature mellow flavor profile that has become synonymous with this iconic brand. Furthermore, its nuanced maturation processes contribute to this more delicate palate. Visitors to the historic distillery can explore its visitor center, which houses furniture from the Samuels family collections and other historical items.

You can take a free Maker's Mark distillery tour on any day (except major holidays and the half hour on weekends). All tours include an accompanying tasting of Maker's Mark bourbon. Maker's Mark offers something special for everyone - bourbon connoisseurs and history buffs. As a National Historic Landmark, it is a must-see in the area.

7. Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg

Four Roses Distillery, situated near Lawrenceburg on the banks of the Salt River, is an ideal stop for bourbon enthusiasts. Constructed in 1910, its unique Spanish Mission-style architecture is one of Kentucky's few remaining examples.

The distillery boasts an inviting tasting room and gift shop. Tours cost a small fee, and you'll get a complimentary etched rock glass to take home as a souvenir! Four Roses boast 21 warehouses, each holding around 24 000 barrels. Four Roses can maintain different temperatures on its lower and upper levels as they are all single stories.

Additionally, it makes it simpler for employees to transport and store casks without compromising their quality. The company plans on building 17 additional warehouses totaling over 776,000 square feet in Bullitt County.

On our tour of the Four Roses Bourbon distillery, we learned about their intricate production process, producing ten unique recipes with two distinct mashes and five individual yeast strains. This allows them to craft complex and distinct Bourbons like Yellow Label or Small Batch products with incredible finesse.

8. Angel's Envy Distillery in Louisville

Angel's Envy Distillery, located in a former tool manufacturing plant, is an active distillery showcasing the bourbon-making process. The facility also has its own gift shop, visitor center, and tours and cocktail classes available to visitors.

Angel's Envy distillery tours are an excellent way to gain insight into the whiskey-making process and sample their finished product. They offer tours such as Inside the Barrel, Finishing Roundtable Experience, and Signature Tour.

Tours are conducted in small groups, each led by a guide who takes participants through the distilling process. It's an enchanting experience if you're visiting Louisville, KY. Once the tours are over, guests are treated to a beautiful tasting area featuring honey wood and black ironwork similar to that found throughout the building.

Angel's Envy Distillery was established in 2010 by Lincoln Henderson and his son Wes. Since then, it has grown rapidly, boasting five tasting rooms, a newly renovated gift shop, event space, and cocktail classes.