Louisville, KY

Louisville's Six Distilleries are Within Walking Distance & Offer Bourbon Aficionados Tours and Tastings

Glad Doggett


Years ago, when I reluctantly left my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, to follow my husband as he progressed in his career, the city’s crown jewel was the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Festival, a two-week long party that rings in the big day.

Upon my return to my beloved city, I quickly discovered that the Kentucky Derby and its accoutrements now share the spotlight with bourbon.

Kentucky has long been revered for its bourbon production. Maybe that’s because 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, there are now almost two barrels for every person living in Kentucky. This explains why folks come to Louisville from all over the world to imbibe the all-American amber liquid.

Today, six distilleries are within walking distance of each other in Louisville, and they are surrounded by enough eateries, museums, and other attractions to make any tourist happy.

For those who are “bourbon-curious” and for longtime lovers of the spirit, I recommend you begin your journey at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center, the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour. There you will learn all there is to know about how distilleries take grains and transform them into Kentucky’s beloved spirit.

After your formal education, it’s time for hands-on experience inside Louisville’s distilleries. Tours and tastings are on the agenda.

Below are six bourbon experiences available in Louisville:

Angel’s Envy Distillery, 500 E Main St., currently offers the Finishing Roundtable Experience. This is a reservation-only experience where guests can taste the finished bourbon and rye in the distillery’s Finishing Room. All production areas are temporarily closed to the public. Contact Angel’s Envy Distillery for more information on tour availability.

Old Forester Distillery, 119 West Main St., claims to be the first to use glass bottles as a way to guarantee consistency. Old Forester’s legacy is steeped in history and tradition. Old Forester remains the only bourbon continually sold by the same company before, during, and after prohibition.

Rabbit Hole Distillery, 711 E Jefferson St., offers an immersive one-hour tour will show you grain transforms to whiskey and how Rabbit Hole’s philosophy has made an impact on the bourbon landscape. Tours by reservation only. Contact Rabbit Hole Distillery for more information.

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, 528 West Main St., gives you a historical tour that lasts approximately one hour. Also included are the viewing of the artisanal still and a guided tasting. Contact Evan Williams for more information on tours.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., 120 N. 10th St., offers a peek behind the curtain. You will see the process of taking grain and transforming it into bourbon and rye. The distillery’s history began in Henderson, Ky., and dates back to 1889 when Henry Kraver began distilling bourbon. Corky and Carson Taylor, fourth and fifth generation descendants of Kraver, are the historic-turned-urban Bourbon makers. Contact Peerless Distillery for more information on tour availability.

Michter’s Distillery, 801 West Main St., is located in Fort Nelson building in the heart of downtown Louisville. The Fort Nelson Michter’s is proud to honor a historical legacy tracing back to the founding of America’s first whiskey company in 1753. Contact Michter’s Distillery for tour availability.

Try one or try them all. Whether you are a bourbon aficionado or a newbie, the distilleries offer entertaining and informative behind the scenes tours that any visitor can appreciate.

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Glad Doggett is a freelance writer from Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville, KY

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