Distillery tourism in the U.S. is big business, especially if that tourism is taking place in Bardstown, Kentucky, the Bourbon Capital of the World. In what most would say is shocking news as distillery tourism continues to boom, Barton 1792 Distillery has announced it will end public tours by the middle of 2022.
Barton 1792 Distillery Visitor Center Ribbon Cutting 2011
Beginning with a ribbon cutting ceremony in May 2011, Barton 1792 Distillery visitors were taken on tours to learn the history of the 140-plus year-old-Distillery, see the area where the grain is received, plus the hammermill and the still used in making its many brands including Barton 1792 Bourbon, Old Barton and more recently Early Times. Tours take visitors inside Barrel Warehouse “H” to see a classic Kentucky 20,000 barrel rickhouse that was built in the 1940’s. Tours wrap up with with the best part, a bourbon tasting and visitor receive a complimentary barrel bung to go. But after more than a decade of welcoming bourbon fans that is all about to come to and end.
Barton 1792 Distillery to Wrap Up Tours on June 30, 2022
In a prepared statement from the company, they are choosing to refocus efforts at this location on production. If you have ever visited the Barton Distillery you’ve seen first-hand the amount of traffic from cars, trucks and large 18 wheeler tractor trailers traverse up and down the roads non-stop throughout the day at this very active campus.
Here is their statement that was shared with DistilleryTrail and on social media.
“After careful review of our brand needs, plant capacity, safety, and practicality we have made the difficult decision to make a change to our tour operations and will no longer be open for public tours at Barton 1792 Distillery.
We are not taking any new tour reservations at this time, but we are honoring any tours already scheduled through June 30th. The gift shop will be open until June 30th as well.
Our love for the 1792 Bourbon brand and Barton family brands is stronger than ever, and it’s because we have such confidence in the potential of the portfolio that we are adjusting our strategy at Barton 1792 Distillery to focus more acutely on meeting increasing demand for our products, concentrating the distillery on what it does best: producing the world’s best whiskey.
Tourism operations and tour offerings will not be impacted at any of our other Sazerac homeplaces – including Buffalo Trace Distillery (Kentucky), A. Smith Bowman Distillery (Virginia), Old Montreal Distillery (Montréal) and Sazerac House (New Orleans).”
Barton added, “We are working closely with anyone affected over the next few weeks to offer financial resources, as well as to place those interested in alternate appropriate roles wherever possible.”
Private Barrel Selects Will Continue at Barton 1792 Distillery
The sale of single barrels of bourbon in Kentucky has made a lot of news recently. It turns out there were no legal guidelines on the sales process for single barrels of bourbon in the state that produces 95% of the world’s bourbon. The state’s Governor recently signed into law new regulations that codify the process to make sure it will continue long into the future.
Barton 1792 Distillery confirmed that despite the distillery being closed to public tour, the single barrel sales and the selection process will continue as before at the distillery.
Factoid: The Barton 1792 Distillery visitor center is the same building as the original Oscar Getz Museum. The museum is still in operation but it’s moved a few miles away to downtown Bardstown. Bourbon fans can visit the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History that chronicles the history of American whiskey from colonial days through today.