Kentucky Bourbon Trail recognises craft whiskey distilleries
In recognition of the soaring popularity of craft distilling in the US, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) has launched the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.
The association has run the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour since 1999, featuring recognisable distilleries such as Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses and Wild Turkey.
The tour has proven indispensible to the success of bourbon tourism in the state, with a record 13,000 people completing a tour of all six participating distilleries so far this year, spending around US$10million.
“We are proud that Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon and the only place in the world where visitors can enjoy the one, true and authentic Bourbon experience,” said Adam Johnson, director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Now, to recognise and celebrate the growing number of craft distilleries in Kentucky, the KDA has launched a new tour featuring an initial seven micro-distilleries.
Visitors can pick up a free Passport to collect stamps from each distillery in, and when all seven are collected, cash it in for an exclusive present to commemorate the completion of the trail.
All the seven micro-distilleries produce small batch whiskey at different stages of ageing, while several also distil other spirits including vodka and rum.
Find out which seven craft distilleries form the new Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour by clicking through the following pages.
Barrel House Distillery, Lexington
This Lexington distillery was set up by a group of friends who came up with the idea for a small batch concept during a poker game.
Located in the barrel house of a former bourbon distillery, Barrel House is co-owned by Jeff Wiseman and Peter Wright.
It has several barrels of bourbon laid down to age in small 15-gallon barrels to hasten the ageing process, but until it is ready to release, the distillery is also producing Devil John Moonshine, Pure Blue Vodka and Oak Rum.
Corsair Artisan Distillery, Bowling Green
The Corsair Artisan Distillery was first started in Darek and Amy Lee Bell’s garage with childhood friend Andrew Webber, producing beer and wine. However after changing track to work on producing whiskey instead, the team moved premises to downtown Bowling Greebn to produce a variety of “Hand-crafted, small batch, ultra premium booze for badasses”.
Award-winning products include Wry Moon whiskey, Triple Smoke Single Malt Whiskey and Gin-Head Style Gin.
Also available are Vanilla Bean Whiskey, Red Absinthe, Spiced Rum and Pumpkin Spice Moonshine.
Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon
The distilling history in brothers Steve and Paul Beam’s family goes back generations to 1836, when their great-great grandfather Joseph Washington Dant began producing sour mash whiskey, just miles down the road from what is now the Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon.
The pair have since begun distilling their own whiskey, using a handmade 150-gallon copper pot still, selling it as TJ Pottinger MoonShine Kentucky Corn Whiskey (45% abv), and TJ Pottinger Sugar Shine (50% abv).
MB Roland Distillery, Pembroke
Formerly an Amish dairy farm, the MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke is an experimental site producing whiskey, moonshine, rum and others spirits.
Owners Merry Beth and Paul Tomaszewski produce small batch bourbon using food-grade white corn, purchased at the local granary in Pembroke, at Christian County Grain.
Its products include a white dog and black dog (made from firing corn in a tobacco barn), True Kentucky Shine, Strawberry Kentucky Shine, Apple Pie Kentucky Shine Kentucky Pink Lemonade, Blueberry Kentucky Shine and a white and spiced rum. The couple also have small two-five gallon barrels ageing for their own bourbon whiskey.
As well as making liquor and hosting visitor tours and tastings, the duo also host a range of live music events at the distillery, including an annual ‘Pumpkin Launch’.
Old Pogue Distillery, Maysville
Old Pogue claims to be one of the oldest distilleries in Kentucky, with a history dating back to 1876.
Today it produces two whiskeys – Limestone Landing Single Malt Rye, an unaged whiskey with 53% abv, and Old Pogue Bourbon, a small batch, 45.5% abv whiskey that was once the flagship product of the original H.E. Pogue Distillery in 1876.
The Indian corn and limestone water inherent to the region is thought to give Old Pogue Bourbon a “mellow character and distinguished flavour”.
Silver Trail Distillery, Hardin
The LBL ‘Most Wanted’ Moonshine produced by Silver Trail has been awarded the Best Moonshine award from SIP this year.
Having only opened in 2011, it’s an achievement owner Spencer Balentine is particularly proud of, especially as the white unaged spirit has been made to a recipe dating back to that of his great uncle in 1947.
But what really makes this distillery unique, is that fact Balentine is forbidden to sell liquor from the premises, due to county laws.
However he told local press recently that he hoped to fill in the “not being able to taste and not being able to sell with a little extra history and a little extra authenticity”.
Silver Trail Distillery may soon also offer an apple pie moonshine called Apple Cin.
Willett Distillery, Bardstown
The Willett Distillery produced its first batch of bourbon in 1936, storing the barrels on high ground to allow a fresh breeze to aid the maturation process. But in 1984 its owners retired from the company and sold the business to Even G. Kulsveen, who continues to operate the site today.
Today the Willett Distillery produces a range of bourbon, unde brands including Old Bardstown, Johnny Drum, Noah’s Mill and small batch limited edition bourbons such as Vintage Bourbon, a 17 year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with 47% abv.