The distillery known today as Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky has been making whiskey at this location since 1773. In 2019 the distillery welcomed 293,996 guests, a 35% increase over the previous year. That ever increasing number came to a screaching halt in mid-March of this year when the distillery closed its doors to the public because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The good news is that’s all about to change.
With the beginning of summer upon us whiskey fans have been waiting patiently for their favorite distilleries to reopen. Buffalo Trace Distillery and the other Sazerac Co. owned properties including Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, The Sazerac House in New Orleans, Louisiana and A. Smith Bowman in Fredericksburg, Virginia have officially announced they are reopening July 1, 2020.
“We are taking every step we can to address the health, safety and comfort of our guests to ensure the best experience possible,” said Buffalo Trace Distillery Homeplace Development Director Meredith Moody. “Our goal is to create a safe haven for all visitors while providing the same rich history and experiences for which we’re known. We can’t wait to reopen to the public and show guests our expanded Visitor Center and tasting rooms.”
Whiskey fans need to prepare for a new normal as nothing about the re-opening will be business as usual as the distilleries try to provide visitors and employees with the safest possible environment for their bourbon encounter. Guests can expect to experience the same rich whiskey history but with new measures in accordance with CDC guidelines and government recommendations.
What Will Buffalo Trace Distillery Tours & Tastings Look Like Starting July 1, 2020?
- All tours, tastings and events require guests to pre-register prior to arrival at the distillery.
- All visitors must have a temperature screen onsite. Those with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asked to leave along with their travel companions.
- Guests will receive a wrist band to indicate they have completed a temperature screen.
- All visitors except children under the age of 2 years old are required to wear masks while on property.
- Visitors may remove their mask during the tasting.
- All tours and tastings will remain complimentary.
Guests will be required to register for a tour or event in advance of their visit in order for the distillery to efficiently manage tour and group sizes with respect to social distancing. The distillery grounds and playground will only be available to guests who have registered and checked-in.
Arriving guests will need to check in, where their individual contact information will be recorded in the event contact tracing needs to be performed, and have their temperature taken. Those with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asked to leave along with their travel companions.
Guests will also be required to wear a face mask. For anyone who forgets theirs, one will be provided. All employees at the distillery will also be wearing face masks and will have had their temperatures taken upon entrance.
Tours and events will be kept to small, comfortable groups to allow for social distancing, and protective shields have been installed at the bars and cash registers. Gift Shop capacity will also be limited to allow for safe, enjoyable shopping experiences.
To make social distancing a little easier, Buffalo Trace will be reopening with a newly expanded visitor center, which triples the size of the original Visitor Center, and will allow ample space and comfort for guests exploring the Gift Shop or tasting in the new expansive tasting rooms.
With all of these safeguards, as well as the expanded visitor center, guests can expect to explore decades of bourbon making history, sample award-winning products, and experience the charm of this National Historic Landmark, as in the past.
Full details of requirements and FAQs can be found on the distillery website. Operating hours for Buffalo Trace Distillery will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
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