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5 Best Distilleries to Visit in Kentucky
June 22, 2020

5 Best Distilleries to Visit in Kentucky

by The CE Shop Team

See Which Distilleries Capture the Native Spirit of Kentucky

If you live in Kentucky, it should give you a sense of pride to call the state that birthed bourbon home. For such a simple ingredient list, the history of bourbon and how we enjoy it today is anything but simple.

Bourbon is the native spirit of the U.S. and has its roots in American history dating back to the 1700s. Like U.S. history, the history of bourbon has plenty of ups and downs, along with many claims to fame for being the first to distill this or experiment with that.

There are a lot of disputes as to who invented bourbon first, and many agree on the fact that it was evolved from many hands in the barrel. One of the most well-known stories is from the baptist minister Elijah Craig, who claims to have invented bourbon by aging moonshine in charred oak barrels.

Others, like the Samuels Family, like to claim the title of the oldest bourbon stemming back to 1783, although they did not start producing bourbon commercially until 1840. The first commercial distillery built was Evan Williams in 1783.

What Makes Bourbon, Bourbon?

What distinguishes a bourbon from a whiskey? Knowing what makes bourbon so unique to America is the process of making it coupled with the ingredients and resources used. Bourbon undergoes a strict review process and must meet industry standards set in place by the FDA, making it one of the most regulated products made in the country. Here are some of those FDA guidelines:

  • The mash from which the product is distilled and must contain at least 51% corn
  • The mash must be distilled at 160 proof or less
  • It must be put into the barrel at 125 proof or less, and it must not contain any additives
  • The distillate must be aged in a new charred oak barrel

Best Distilleries to Visit in Kentucky

Distillery Why You Should Visit
Four Roses Located on the Salt River in Lawrenceburg, Four Roses was built in 1910 with a unique spanish-mission style architecture. Four Roses produces 10 different bourbons all using two mash recipes and five yeast strains.
Wild Turkey Sitting on top of the Kentucky River rests Wild Turkey Distillery. Dating back to 1891, the distillery didn’t get its famous name until 1940 when company executives took the bourbon on a wild turkey hunt with friends. They create 10 different bourbons under the name Wild Turkey, ranging in different alcohol proofs and age.
Buffalo Trace The company claims to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the U.S. with a citation registered in the National Historic Landmarks dating back to 1805. Records show that distilling first started at the site in 1775. The name comes from an ancient buffalo crossing on the banks of the Kentucky River near the distillery.
Woodford Reserve Situated on Kentucky’s oldest distilling site, Woodford Reserve is one of the most recognizable names in the bourbon industry and one of the most prestigious as well. This historic distillery features copper pot stills and 100-year-old cypress wood fermenters. It’s old-school distilling at its finest.
Stitzel Weller Best known for Bulleit Bourbon, Stitzel Weller Distillery produces one of the most in-demand bourbons on the market. This distillery located near downtown Louisville is dubbed a true cathedral of American whiskey.

Now that you know which distilleries are the best in the state, use this in your career as a way to develop relationships with your clients. Use it as a closing gift or buy them tickets to tour the distilleries and get the full Kentucky experience.

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