The Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour just got bigger – by adding some little guys. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour will include seven micro-distilleries that stretch from Marshall to Mason counties:
- Barrel House Distillery, Lexington
- Corsair Artisan Distillery, Bowling Green
- Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon
- MB Roland Distillery, Pembroke
- Old Pogue Distillery, Maysville
- Silver Trail Distillery, Hardin
- Willett Distillery, Bardstown
Just like the original tour, which has shattered attendance records each of the past few years, the Craft Tour will have a passport program to reward visitors who collect stamps at each of the seven stops. For the original tour, that reward is a T-shirt. Adam Johnson, director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour, said the new reward is still in the works but promised it would be “cool and coveted.”
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which created the original Trail in 1999, only recently changed its bylaws to admit craft distillers, which it defines as those with barrel inventories of less than 25,000. Such artisanal distilleries are popping up all over the country; the American Distilling Institute estimates that by the end of 2015 there will be more than 400. But Kentucky is the first state to have an official craft distillery excursion.
The new initiative was announced today by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear at Barrel House in Lexington, but the tour will officially launch on Oct. 18 with “The Bung Heard ‘Round the World.” Each participating distillery will have a press conference with local dignitaries and pound a bung into a barrel at 10 a.m. EST to signify that the tour is open for business.
Today’s announcement didn’t surprise me. In an interview earlier this year about the growth of craft distilling, the KDA’s Eric Gregory told me that his office was getting an increasing number of calls from people who had completed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour and wanted to know, “Where are those craft distillers located?” There is tremendous interest in bourbon right now, and we are fortunate to be right in the heart of it.
For more information on the tour, visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail site, here.