The 8 Best Distillery Tours in Kentucky of 2019

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Makers Mark – Buy Tickets at Viator

"History, location and reputation. Makers Mark earns the accolade of No.1 distillery tour."

Best Budget Tour: Four Roses Bourbon – Buy Tickets at fourrosesbourbon.com

"An in-depth tour of a famed distillery, all for $14."

Best Legacy Tour: Kentucky Bourbon Tour to Maker's Mark and Jim Beam – Buy Tickets at Viator

"Seven generations of Beam sustain this Kentucky legacy."

Best Class/Experience Tour: Kentucky Bourbon Tour to Maker's Mark & Bardstown Bourbon Company – Buy Tickets at makersmark.com

"The unique classes run at Makers Mark promise fun-filled events."

Best Behind the Scenes Tour: Buffalo Trace Distillery – Buy Tickets at buffalotracedistillery.com

"Buffalo Trace’s intricate distilling process continues to enthrall."

Best After Hours Tour: Buffalo Trace Distillery Ghost Tour – Buy Tickets at buffalotracedistillery.com

"Ghouls and folk-law. Are there more spirits than the ones trapped in the barrels?"

Best Warehouse Tour: 1792 Distillery – Buy Tickets at 1792distillery.com

"The world’s largest barrel proves to be a great event for the entire family."

Best Setting Tour: Bourbon Trail Tour to Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Wild Turkey – Buy Tickets at Viator

"Situated in the bluegrass hills of Kentucky, Woodford Reserve is a quaint distillery."

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Best Overall: Makers Mark

Makers Mark

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A perennial favorite among visitors to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Makers Mark is a renowned brand whose distillery tour combines fabulous insight into the making of bourbon,

Makers Mark prides themselves on their "old-fashioned" techniques that they explain in detail throughout the year-round tours. Each tour has a duration of two hours and departs at 9:30 a.m.

What's included: Round-up transportation in an air-conditioned bus, a professional guide, admission to both Maker's Mark Distillery and Bardstown Bourbon Company, bottled water, and lunch.

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Best Budget Tour: Four Roses Bourbon

Bourbon

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The Four Roses label offer two locations for those wishing to tour and taste this famous bourbon. The Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg or the Four Roses Warehouse and Bottling Facility in Cox’s Creek, both of which give prospective visitors a thrilling insight into the intricate bourbon process. 

The distillery tour combines history, heritage, and craftsmanship, an ethos held since 1888. Visits to Four Roses Historic Spanish mission style distillery are available every day throughout the year. The $10, one-hour walking tours will transport visitors through the distillery and grounds, exploring the distillation process, and ending with a taste of their award-winning bourbons. A complimentary tasting glass is included. Parties are limited to 1-15 guests. Parties of a greater number require a reservation. 

A Taste of History is a shorter, 21-minute tour that allows visitors to discover what makes Four Roses truly unique. A brief synopsis of the legend and history of their alcohol, as well as a tasting of 3 award-winning bourbons are included at the distillery for $7. 

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Best Legacy Tour: Kentucky Bourbon Tour to Maker's Mark and Jim Beam

Jim Beam

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Jim Beam is a brand that is synonymous with bourbon history. 7 generations of Beam Family Master Distillers have poured knowledge and love into each of their bourbon bottles. As visitors tour the working distillery with a knowledgeable guide, they will learn about the entire journey of each bourbon bottle, beginning with the natural limestone water to the mashing, distilling, barreling, and bottling. 

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Best Class/Experience Tour: Kentucky Bourbon Tour to Maker's Mark & Bardstown Bourbon Company

Bourbon

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Many distilleries in the Kentucky area offer more than a standard distillery tour. Brands such as Makers Mark have begun to create ‘Mixology’, ‘Cocktail 101’ or even ‘Bourbon and Brunch’ events. 

Makers Mark mixology class is designed for those with a passion for both bourbon and cocktails. A brief synopsis of a ‘Behind The Bar’ tour will be included and then a lesson on how to craft four unique cocktails and the history behind them. A bourbon specialist will teach each participant the tricks of the trade and the delights that bourbon can add to a mixed drink. 

Each class is limited to eight people and will last two hours. The price of the experience is $75 per person which includes a gift and an optional tour of the distillery in advance of the class; participants should arrive by 2 p.m. if touring the distillery before the 4 p.m. class. Makers Mark offers a range of experiences throughout the year, however, the Mixology experience will be held between September 21 – October 26. 

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Best Behind the Scenes Tour: Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace

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Buffalo Trace offers a spectacular one-hour distillery tour that allows visitors an unparalleled look into the behind-the-scenes work that is involved with the production of this award-winning bourbon. The cocktails, tour will include the entire life cycle of each bottle’s production and a unique tour of the E.H Taylor Jr. Microstill, where the distillery’s experimental collection whiskeys are made. 

The website states that tour participants should be ready for a large amount of walking, and that comfortable footwear is recommended. The tours include various tastings of the products and are run either on Mondays to Fridays at 10:30 am or 1:30 pm, or on Saturdays at 10:30 am. Prices vary and reservations are required. 

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Best After-Hours Tour: Buffalo Trace Distillery Ghost Tour

Ghost Bourbon. Scary

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With vast warehouses in sprawling, rural Kentucky, it is of no surprise that folklore is associated with whiskey distilleries. The distillery of Buffalo Trace has such a reputation. Featured on the popular Ghost Hunters TV show, the distillery is rumored to have had visits from the supernatural, even the ghost of bourbon aristocrat Col. Blanton. Tours include legendary stories and visits to haunted sites including Stony Point Mansion where the Colonel died in 1959. 

Reservations are required for the one-hour tour held every Thursday to Saturday at 7 p.m. Enquire on the website for price details and complimentary tastings. 

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Best Warehouse Tour: 1792 Distillery

Bourbon

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Barton 1792 is a distillery steeped in history. The 1792 estate tour is one of the more thorough tours in the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Guests have the opportunity to walk through the world’s largest palletized barrel-aging warehouse. The two-hour tour is conducted via motorized vehicle and takes visitors behind the scenes from the distilling rooms to the barrel and dumping processing rooms. Highlights of the tour include a stop at the worlds largest whiskey barrel and the Tom Moore Spring where each Barton bottle draws its essential iron-free limestone water.

Tours run through Monday to Friday and begin at 11 a.m. Due to the extent of area covered, 196 acres to be exact, groups are restricted to five people and reservations are required. 

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