Sip, Taste, and Shop at these Bardstown Bourbon Distilleries
There’s a familiar sound that we all know: the clink of the ice as it hits an empty glass, the crack of a seal breaking, and the distinctive rush of a two-finger pour. The aroma is strong with hints of oak, char, brown sugar, and smoke; the smooth taste like nothing else and warming your entire body. Once you’ve had a premium bourbon, you’ll never settle for anything less. Welcome to Kentucky, the home of some of the world’s best Bardstown bourbon distilleries.
Bourbon was born in Bardstown, so if you genuinely want to learn and explore the world of whiskey, then you want to start where it all began. There are more than 70 whiskey distilleries in the state of Kentucky, and quite a few of those lie within the Bardstown city limits. After all, we didn’t get the nickname “Bourbon Capital of the World” without a good reason. It’s no surprise that tasting at Bardstown bourbon distilleries is by far the most popular pastime in our area.
Each year in our charming small town, we celebrate the Bardstown bourbon distilleries and others across the state with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival—a huge party in the downtown area with live music and festivities. We’re also the official trailhead for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Additionally, if that wasn’t enough, Bardstown is also home to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey, a place of worship for the brown liquid, showcasing the history and artifacts to the craft of distilling.
As you begin to plan your trip to visit these Bardstown bourbon distilleries, lodging will come into play, and thankfully there is no better match for a whiskey-focused vacation than the Bourbon Manor Bed and Breakfast. Case in point, each of our ten luxurious guest suites has a favorite bourbon-based cocktail-themed name, and we celebrate with one of those delicious craft beverages each day come happy hour. Our Inn is the perfect place to call your home away from home!
We can’t wait to be your hosts as you explore the history and beauty of our area. Join us for a tour of the best Bardstown bourbon distilleries, a favorite cocktail (or two), and book your elegant suite today!
The 6 Best Bardstown Bourbon Distilleries for Tastings
Locals in Bardstown often credit a Baptist minister, Elijah Craig, as the inventor of Kentucky Bourbon. While the history behind bourbon’s origin is a bit murky, what’s very clear is that Bourbon is the quintessential American spirit. Settlers from Ireland, Scotland, and other European countries came to the Bardstown area over 200 years ago and brought knowledge of distilling and recipes from their homelands. These settlers began to use corn (found in abundance in Kentucky) as mash for their whiskeys, and this tradition continues today.
Here are six of our favorite local Bardstown Bourbon Distilleries not to miss on your visit to Kentucky:
- Barton 1792 Distillery: Established in 1879, this stalwart whiskey maker remains as the oldest of the Bardstown bourbon distilleries still in operation today. Situated on 196 pastoral acres in the heart of bourbon country, guests can tour the beautiful grounds and taste some of their small-batch creations.
- Heaven Hill: You’ll find three iconic tasting room options in Bardstown at the enormous and newly remodeled Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience Visitor’s Center and Gift Shop. On the “Connoisseur Tasting Experience,” During this experience, your host will discuss the unique characteristics of at least four of Heaven Hill’s premium or limited release American Whiskeys, focusing on the color, aroma, taste and finish. The tasting includes a showing in the 1935 Distillery Theater and access to the self-guided exhibits. “You Do Bourbon” is a 90 minute, completely unique experience where you can taste three different products specific to You Do Bourbon, choose your favorite and get the opportunity to bottle it and personalize it yourself. You will also explore the hands on You Do Bourbon lab. “Magic of the Mashbill,” lasts 45 minutes, priced at $18.00/person. During this experience, you’ll learn about five nationally acclaimed American Whiskeys, each from a different mashbill, in one of the iconic tasting rooms. The tasting includes a showing in the 1935 Distillery Theater and access to the self-guided exhibits.
- Willett Distillery: This is one of the Bardstown bourbon distilleries founded in the 1930s and continues to create small-batch bourbons and ryes. Choose from the quick tasting or more extended guided walking tour of the distillery. Either way, be sure to block time for a cocktail and an appetizer at the Bar at Willett—a dark, romantic craft bar with skilled mixologists and chefs.
- Preservation Distillery: Producing micro-batch whiskeys and ryes in 1 to 3 barrel batches, this family-owned and operated distillery is the only 100 percent pot-still producer in Bardstown. Head out to their working farm and distillery for tastings and tours for a behind-the-scenes look at this old-school method of producing these brown spirits.
- Lux Row Distillers: Enter through a beautiful tree-lined street that ends at one of the Bardstown bourbon distilleries producing thousands of spirit barrels each year. With big names like Rebel Yell and Ezra Brooks, this 18,000 square foot modern distillery is bustling. Join them on an hour tour to witness the bourbon-making process from start to finish and then taste some of these fantastic products.
- Bardstown Bourbon Distillery: Known as one of the newcomers to the bourbon scene in Bardstown, this distillery is putting the craft of whiskey making on display. The modern facility is an open space with large glass walls separating the areas. Join them here for a host of classes, tours, and hands-on distilling experiences. Plan on dinner at the Kitchen & Bar for vintage whiskey cocktails, up-scale pub food, and Southern hospitality.
Map of Bardstown Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries
Click on any bourbon bottle icon to see the name of each distillerry
More Distilleries to Explore on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail near Bardstown
After you’ve hit the local Bardstown bourbon distilleries, there’s a lot more to explore (and taste) on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Heading out to these other tasting rooms and distilleries is a perfect way to see the beautiful scenery and countryside of our pastoral Southern state.
These four well-known Kentucky distilleries are a bit further out of Bardstown, but well worth the visit:
- Jim Beam: Founder Jacob Beam sold his first barrel of bourbon in 1795. Let’s just say that the business has flourished over its 200-year history. The freshly renovated American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky, is a destination for a fully immersive bourbon experience. The new campus serves as the hub for the Jim Beam portfolio (including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, and more) and an educational center for bourbon fans. A brand new Kitchen Table restaurant launched as well with a full-service bar and food menu.
- Four Roses Bourbon: There are two locations for bourbon tastings at this iconic brand, the historic 1910 Spanish Mission-style structure in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and their bottling and warehouse facility in Cox’s Creek, KY. The flagship Four Roses Bourbon combines ten different whiskey recipes from years of experience and creates a flavorful and very drinkable quaff.
- Woodford Reserve: Take a road trip out to Versailles, KY, for a bourbon tasting that brings you back to 1812, when they first began production at this historic location. The tour explores their peaceful grounds, the history of bourbon in the area, and into the barrel house where the magic happens. Finish up with a guided tasting of the award-winning craft whiskey.
- Maker’s Mark: Though this bourbon distillery isn’t one of the oldest in Kentucky, it is one of the most iconic bourbon brands in the world. The sealed bottles, dipped in the signature red wax, are recognizable behind a bar immediately. And while Maker’s Mark is technically not considered one of the Bardstown bourbon distilleries—it’s located just outside of town in Loretto, KY—it’s one of the true greats and you’ll find a lovely experience at a visit to the distillery.
- On a tasting tour at Maker’s Mark (tasting room pictured above), you’ll explore the historic 1,000-acre grounds known as Star Hill Farms, see the limestone where they finish the specialty bourbons, and take a hand at dipping your own bottle in the hot red wax. The perfect souvenir to bring home with you. Grab a bite to eat at the farm-to-table restaurant before you head on back to Bardstown.
Stay at Our luxury Bardstown Kentucky Bed and Breakfast
After spending a day exploring the fantastic local whiskeys and ryes at these Bardstown bourbon distilleries, you’ll be ready to head on back to the Bourbon Manor—our luxury Bardstown bed and breakfast. There’s no better place to unwind and relax with one more drink. Our historic Inn is as important to the history of Bardstown as bourbon is to Kentucky.
Each of our ten guest suites has extensive amenities. All have the perfect combination of antique furnishings and modern amenities, including cozy fireplaces, luxurious beds with designer linens, and a private bath with Turkish towels and Terry robes. Most king guest rooms feature a jetted tub as well as a walk-in shower. You’ll find seven suites in our main manor house, with three additional rooms in the carriage house on our beautiful garden grounds.
One of the biggest bonuses for whiskey fans staying at our Bardstown Bed and Breakfast is our Bardstown bourbon distilleries add-on packages. It’s the absolute best way to explore along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail without a care in the world. We take care of all your transportation needs and can even plan all of the stops at our favorite Bardstown bourbon distilleries for you. As always, we’re more than happy to make reservations and willing to answer any questions you might have about the local Bardstown bourbon distilleries and beyond.
All of our B&B guests are treated to a complimentary country breakfast each morning of their stay in our elegant dining room. In the cooler months, sitting by our wood-burning fire with a fresh cup of coffee is a perfect way to wake up. Our breakfast menu is seasonal and changes daily, but expect hearty dishes like cheesy hashbrowns casserole, and signature omelets, as well as the lighter fare of fresh fruit and homemade muffins.