The 6 Best Distilleries to Visit in Lexington, Kentucky

A warehouse fiilled with Whiskey barrels

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

When people think of Kentucky, they think of whiskey, but not just any whiskey. This is bourbon country—and Kentucky's legacy is well earned. There are more whiskey barrels in Kentucky than there are people, with more than 7 million barrels of the brown stuff compared to just 4.5 million people. People from all over come to experience the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and Lexington is an integral stop along that trail. Home to 14 distilleries, including the renowned Woodford Reserve and smaller family-run distilleries, Lexington is a must-stop to learn about (and drink) whiskey. Here's where to go.

01 of 06

James E. Pepper Distillery

Exterior of the Pepper Distillery in the Distillery District

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

This Lexington staple first began distilling in 1779 during the American Revolution. However, it shut down during the 1960s when the bourbon industry experienced a recession. In 2017, the brand was able to reopen in its original home distillery, which is located in the now popular distillery district. You can tour the site and taste their award-winning "1776" rye whiskey. It's also a great location to check out other local spots like Ethereal Brewing and Crank and Boom Ice Cream, which are both next door.

1228 Manchester St #100, Lexington, KY 40504, USA
Phone +1 859-309-3230
02 of 06

Woodford Reserve

Two bottles of whiskey from Woodford Reserve

Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is perhaps the most well-known distillery out of Lexington. This site began distilling back in 1812 and is now considered a National Historic Landmark. Now that Woodford has perfected making bourbon, this distillery focuses its future on making the practice more sustainable. More than 98 percent of all waste material is recycled, 10 acres of land are dedicated to native species conservation, and 97 percent of all food scraps are composted. This tour takes guests through the past and future of bourbon distilling and allows them to taste all their favorites along the way.

7855 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383, USA
Phone +1 859-879-1812
03 of 06

Buffalo Trace Distillery

A warehouse filled with whiskey barrels

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Located in Frankfort, Buffalo Trace is one of the most popular distillery tours in the Lexington area, and it's easy to see why. As one of the oldest continuously running operations in the country (one of the few that lasted through prohibition), Buffalo Trace is also unique in that it keeps the mash for its products top secret. (However, the distillery's website has a simulator for guests to make up their own mash and test out different combinations.) While Buffalo Trace is their flagship brand, the distillery is also home to several other well-known brands, including cult-favorite Van Winkle, Sazerac Rye, and E.H. Taylor.

113 Great Buffalo Trce, Frankfort, KY 40601, USA
Phone +1 866-729-3722
04 of 06

Town Branch Distillery

Stacks of barrels

Courtesy of Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company

Town Branch Distillery is a part of the larger Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company. So if you’re not the biggest fan of whiskey or just craving something different between all your bourbon tastings, you can explore the brewery side! It’s one of the few distilleries in the world that doubles as a brewery. With 13 different beers, eight other liquors, and their most recent line-up of hard teas, everyone will find a favorite beverage. Town Branch is also located in downtown Lexington, making it one of the most accessible distilleries to visit.

401 Cross St, Lexington, KY 40508-2806, USA
Phone +1 859-255-2337
Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06

Castle & Key Distillery

Back patio at Castle and Key Distillery

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Castle & Key might be one of the newer distilleries in Lexington, but the brand itself holds important bourbon history. Formerly the Old Taylor Distillery, the ruins included limestone castle and old railroad tracks left abandoned and falling apart until 2014. The new owners have refurbished the historic buildings and created an outdoor space that is free and open to all visitors. This back patio sits along a river and includes a botanical walk and a bar serving up Castle and Key cocktails. The Manhattan comes highly recommended!

4445 McCracken Pike, Frankfort, KY 40601, USA
Phone +1 502-395-9070
06 of 06

Four Roses Distillery

Three bottles of whiskey on a whiskey barrel

Courtesy of Four Roses Distillery

Four Roses is a veteran in the distilling world, making whiskey since 1888. It's unique because it's the only distillery with five different yeast strains and two different mashes, ultimately coming together in 10 different bourbon recipes, later mixed by hand to create their flagship bourbon. Four Roses offer tours that take guests through their complex process and a visitor center where you can enjoy a tasting or a Four Roses original cocktail. 

1224 Bonds Mill Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342, USA
Phone +1 502-839-3436
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The 6 Best Distilleries to Visit in Lexington, Kentucky