It may be hard to find that elusive bottle of 23 Year Old Pappy Van Winkle Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey but it’s not difficult for bourbon fans to find their way to where it’s made. The historic Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky is celebrating another year of record growth in the number of visitors to its distillery.
More than a Quarter Million Bourbon Fans Visit Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace welcomed a record-breaking 293,996 visitors in 2019, a 35% increase over the previous year. Looking over the last 10 years the distillery has seen an increase in visitation to the National Historic Landmark Distillery by 466% since 2010.
The last expansion of the visitor center at Buffalo Trace was completed in 2015. Construction is now under way to accommodate the continued tourism growth. The existing visitor center will receive updates and work is going on to make the building a larger space. The distillery anticipates the visitor center expansion to wrap up later this year.
“The growth we are seeing in all aspects of the distillery is really exciting,” said Director of Homeplace Development Meredith Moody. “We are eager to show all of our distilling upgrades to new and returning guests on our updated Hard Hat Tour. It’s a whole new experience, whether you are a first time visitor or have toured many times.”
Buffalo Trace sees visitors from all 50 states with more than 80% coming from outside of Kentucky. The top five states for visitors come from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Florida and Texas. Last year they also welcomed international visitors from 20 different countries with Canada representing the largest group.
The expanded visitor center will be utilized to exhibit more distillery archives. The space will back up to the recently completed fermenter expansion and will allow backdoor access to the whiskey making process. The new space will also include another event location for hosting evening parties.
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Buffalo Trace Offers a Variety of Tours
Buffalo Trace is currently offering a modified Hard Hat Tour during construction which takes guests through the recent fermenter expansion. The distillery anticipates reincorporating the updated Mash House into the Hard Hat Tour route by early February once final construction elements are complete in that building.
Buffalo Trace Distillery offers five different tours including The Trace Tour, Hard Hat Tour, National Historic Landmark Tour, Bourbon Barrel Tour, Ghost Tour, E.H. Taylor Tour (Bourbon Pompeii).
Moody added, “All of our tours are popular, and all our reservation tours fill up on a regular basis. Additionally, our Trace Tour continues to see large crowds even when it’s 28 degrees like it was yesterday. (Brrrr.) We continue to develop new and different tours. It’s hard to say which ones are the most popular, as they are designed for different interests.”
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