You’ve come a long way baby. Kentucky Distillers’ Association – KDA created the now world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® in 1999. As distilling laws have changed over the years Kentucky started to see more and more startup craft distilleries pop up around the state. In 2012 the KDA created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® to more easily allow bourbon and whiskey fans to discover the many new distilleries scattered around the Bluegrass State.
Other than a slight downtick in visitors during the Covid years, visitors on the Trail have continued to set records year after year. In fact, if you are planning a Kentucky Bourbon Trail visit you had better plan ahead, well ahead, as many distilleries sell out days to weeks in advance.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour Adds 4 New Distilleries
The good news is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour just added four more stops. In fact, according to the KDA Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® is embarking on its largest expansion in its history.
The newest additions include two in Northern Kentucky, and two in Lexington:
207 Seminary Ave.
Augusta, Kentucky 41002
Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co. 377 E Main St., Suite 100, Lexington, Kentucky 40507
Pensive Distilling Co.
720 Monmouth St.
Newport, Kentucky, 41071
Registered Distillery One
1170 Manchester St.
Lexington, Kentucky, 40508
Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.
KDA President Eric Gregory said the new members swell the ranks of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour to an all-time high of 28 distilleries. The craft distilleries highlight the burgeoning boutique distilling movement, and its impact continues to grow, bringing all the benefits of the bourbon economy with it.
Coupled with the 18 larger-scale distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, the KDA now boasts a record 46 immersive experiences for Bourbon and spirits lovers to enjoy year-round.
“Our Kentucky Bourbon Trail experiences continue to elevate and grow tourism at an astounding pace, educating visitors from around the world about our signature spirit and pouring millions of dollars of revenue into local communities and coffers,” Gregory said.
“In the last 10 years, attendance has skyrocketed by a phenomenal 370%. The diversity of experiences available at these new stops is outstanding — from secret speakeasies to pairings of delicious Bourbon and bites all the way to full dining experiences. Bourbon has really proven itself over the last couple of decades and has enabled many communities to be a part of its growth. We’re thrilled to welcome these four new distilleries to our amber adventure and encourage visitors to discover the intriguing experiences that each of them has to offer.”
Research shows Bourbon tourists trend younger, spend between $400 and $1,200 on their trip, travel in large groups and stay longer than the average visitor to Kentucky. More than 70% of visitors are from outside Kentucky and nearly half have household incomes over $100,000.
Who is on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour?
New Members Look Forward to Being on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Augusta Distillery Founder and Board Vice Chairman Judd Weiss said, “Being included on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour puts Augusta Distillery in an even better position to share our charming town, distillery and award-winning Bourbon.”
Fresh Bourbon Distillery Founder Tia Edwards expressed excitement to being added as a destination on the Craft Tour. “We believe in bringing a unique approach to the Kentucky Bourbon experience by hosting guests in our elegant distillery and having them experience Bourbon luxury.”
Pensive Distilling Co. owner Scott Quigley said that joining the Craft Tour shines a spotlight on their establishment and helps grow tourism in Northern Kentucky. “The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® spreads our open invitation for all to come and enjoy Newport and the Pensive experience.”
RD1 Vice President of Marketing Chris Tetterton said, “It is an awesome privilege to be a part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. This group of distilleries tells the story of America’s native spirit along with the proud history, tradition, and future of Kentucky’s leading role in Bourbon.”
Pro Tip When Visiting Kentucky Distilleries – “Book Now, Bourbon Later”
As visits to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail become more popular, trying to get in to visit a distillery gets a little harder. It is always a good idea to book ahead online or call ahead to make reservations. The same thing is true for dining and overnight accommodations, book early.
The KDA encouraging people to “Book Now, Bourbon Later” due to the rise in Bourbon tourism and a growing demand for authentic, curated and rare experiences.
- Plan your route first.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to book.
- Know that most distilleries cannot accommodate walk-ins.
- Don’t forget to make restaurant reservations, too.
- Remember to respect the Trail. Be kind, be responsible and be respectful.
- Bonus Tip: If it is festival time like during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival make plans well in advance.
Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the legendary voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from historic, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s landmark economic engine and its thriving, timeless craft. Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences through the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour adventures.