12 Kentucky Distilleries All Bourbon Lovers Should Visit

These Kentucky distilleries offer tours, tastings, and more for the ultimate trip through Bourbon Country.

Most of the world's bourbon comes from nearly 70 distilleries in Kentucky's Bourbon Country. All of the big bourbon names are here — Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Maker's Mark, and Wild Turkey, among others — and there's good reason for that. Kentucky's natural environment and weather are perfect for bourbon distilling, so when European immigrants (who knew how to distill spirits) settled in Kentucky in the 1700s, it was a match made in whiskey heaven. Now, hundreds of years later, people can visit the state to experience the top Kentucky distilleries — several of which have been crafting spirits for generations — along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a route with 42 distilleries offering tastings and tours.

Urban Bourbon Trail Passport
Courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism

Kentucky distillery tours, tastings, and experiences show visitors how spirits are made, so you'll walk away with some knowledge, a more refined palate, and probably a few bottles to take home. Those looking for a well-rounded whiskey experience should start their journey at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center in Louisville. Here, visitors can learn more about bourbon history and plot their distillery stops (if you don't already know which ones you want to visit). Make Louisville your home base for a multiday trip along the trail — the city is home to its own Urban Bourbon Trail made up of the best bourbon bars around. The bars on this route have to serve at least 60 kinds of bourbon and have trained staff who can answer any questions, so you're sure to leave Kentucky with a new appreciation for the brown spirit.

Here are 12 Kentucky distilleries all bourbon fans should visit — and don't worry, some even offer gin or vodka for those hoping for a little variety in their tastings.

Kentucky Bourbon Heritage Museum
Courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism

Wild Turkey, Lawrenceburg

With an award-winning visitor center, a tasting room with an incredible view of the Kentucky River, and a gift shop selling souvenirs and Wild Turkey bourbon (of course), this is the perfect place to learn how this brand's popular spirits are made. You might even spot Hall of Fame distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell hard at work.

Wild Turkey Distillery
Courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism

Bulleit Distilling Co., Shelbyville

Bulleit Distilling Co. opened its state-of-the-art distillery to visitors in 2017. It's a relatively new addition to the Kentucky distillery scene, but the bourbon is based on family tradition dating back to the 1800s. Taste your way through the brand's whiskeys and learn about its history during an interactive, multisensory experience.

Jim Beam, Clermont

With one of the most recognizable names in Kentucky bourbon, Jim Beam is a must-experience for many visitors. Take a tour of the brand's birthplace in Clermont — the Jim Beam American Outpost. The recently-renovated distillery's new tour is a six-stage multisensory tour, where visitors also have the opportunity to pick a Single Barrel bottle and customize the label.

Maker's Mark Distillery, Loretto

An iconic bourbon brand known for its red wax-dipped bottles, the Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto offers tours of the National Historic Landmark, so guests can learn about the history of the brand and its makers. Visitors can even hand-dip their own bottle in the classic red wax for a fitting souvenir.

Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles

Visit Woodford Reserve's historic distillery in Versailles for tours and tastings, so you can learn more about the creation of this brand's bourbon. The distillery is actually a National Historic Landmark — according to Woodford Reserve, the "art of making fine bourbon first took place on the site" in 1812.

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky
Courtesy of Kentucky Department of Tourism

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort

This family-owned distillery has traditions dating back to the late 1700s, and it's a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a tour to learn more about the fascinating history of bourbon production, and taste their spirits — the distillery produces bourbon, rye, and vodka.

Four Roses Distillery, Lawrenceburg

Take a tour or enjoy a guided tasting at this Lawrenceburg distillery. This unique Spanish Mission-style distillery was built in 1910, and it's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so you can enjoy a history lesson while learning about Four Roses' unique recipes.

Angel's Envy Distillery, Louisville

Located on Louisville's Whiskey Row, this distillery offers unique tours and tasting experiences, including a Bottle Your Own Tour, which gives visitors the chance to bring home a bottle that they filled themselves.

Related: You Can Stay in an Actual Castle in Kentucky, Complete With 13 Rooms and a Working Farm

Castle & Key Distillery, Frankfort

Often regarded as one of the best distilleries in the country, Castle & Key offers tours, tastings, and more in a restored, historic distillery. Grab a drink at Counter 17 ( you can switch things up by trying their gin or vodka), and go for a stroll along the botanical trail.

Bardstown Bourbon Company, Bardstown

This innovative distillery, located in a small town south of Louisville, has several interesting experiences, ranging from immersive tastings to classic cocktail classes. There's even an on-site restaurant with craft cocktails and gourmet eats.

Green River Distilling Co., Owensboro

Learn how whiskey goes from grain to barrel and taste the spirits with the experts at Green River Distilling Co. in Owensboro. After your tour, grab a drink at the cocktail lounge.

Heaven Hill Distillery, Bardstown

Founded in 1935, Heaven Hill Distillery maintains more than 1.6 million barrels aging in 58 warehouses in Kentucky for a portfolio of brands. Go for a tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the whiskey production, or enjoy a tasting at the Five Brothers Bar.

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