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The 6 Best Distilleries to Visit in Lexington, Kentucky

The 6 Best Distilleries to Visit in Lexington, Kentucky

People think of whiskey when they think of Kentucky, but not just any whiskey. This is bourbon country, and Kentucky has a long and illustrious history. Kentucky has more whiskey barrels than people, with over 7 million barrels of the brown stuff compared to only 4.5 million residents. The famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail attracts visitors from all over the world, and Lexington is a key destination along the route. Lexington is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about (and drinking) whiskey. It is home to 14 distilleries, including the famous Woodford Reserve and smaller family-run distilleries. Here’s where you should go.

1. James E. Pepper Distillery

During the American Revolution, this Lexington institution started distilling in 1779. Unfortunately, it was forced to close in the 1960s due to a slump in the bourbon industry. The business was able to reopen in its original home distillery, which is now located in the trendy distillery district, in 2017. You can take a tour of the facility and sample their award-winning rye whiskey, “1776.” It’s also a good starting point for seeing nearby attractions like Ethereal Brewing and Crank & Boom Ice Cream.

2. Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is likely Lexington’s best-known distillery. This distillery first opened its doors in 1812 and is now a National Historic Landmark. Now that Woodford has refined the art of bourbon production, the distillery is focusing its efforts on making the method more sustainable in the future. More than 98 percent of garbage is recycled, 10 acres are set aside for native species conservation, and 97 percent of food scraps are composted. This tour takes visitors through the history and future of bourbon distilling while also allowing them to sample all of their favorites.

3. Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery, situated in Frankfort, is one of Lexington’s most renowned distillery tours, and it’s simple to understand why. Buffalo Trace is one of the country’s oldest continually operating businesses (and one of the few that survived prohibition), and it’s also unique in that it retains the mash for its products a well-guarded secret. (However, the distillery’s website includes a simulator that allows visitors to create their mash and experiment with various combinations.) While Buffalo Trace is their most well-known brand, the distillery also produces Van Winkle, Sazerac Rye, and E.H. Taylor.

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4. Town Branch Distillery

The Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company owns the Town Branch Distillery. Therefore, if you’re not a big lover of whiskey or just want to try something new between bourbon tastings, check out the brewery side! It’s one of the world’s few distilleries that also serves as a brewery. Everyone will discover a favorite beverage among the 13 various beers, eight other liquors, and their most recent line-up of hard teas. Town Branch is also one of the most accessible distilleries to visit, as it is located in downtown Lexington.

5. Castle & Key Distillery

Although Castle & Key is one of Lexington’s newest distilleries, the brand is steeped in bourbon tradition. The ruins, which used to be the Old Taylor Distillery, contained a limestone castle and old railroad tracks that had been abandoned and falling apart until 2014. The old buildings have been restored, and an outdoor space has been established that is free and available to all visitors. This riverside back patio features a botanical stroll and a bar serving Castle and Key cocktails. The Manhattan is a definite must-try!

6. Four Roses Distillery

Four Roses have been creating whiskey since 1888, making it a seasoned veteran in the industry. It’s unusual because it’s the only distillery in the world that uses five different yeast strains and two separate mashes to make ten different bourbon formulas, which are then hand-mixed to make their signature whiskey. Four Roses have a tourist center where you can enjoy a taste of a Four Roses original cocktail, as well as tours that take people through their sophisticated process.

The Author

Oladotun Olayemi

Dotun is a content enthusiast who specializes in first-in-class content, including finance, travel, crypto, blockchain, market, and business to educate and inform readers.