Home of the Kentucky Derby and the Urban Bourbon Experience
Louisville’s rich Bourbon heritage begins with its strategic location along the Ohio River in the late 18th century when frontier farmers in Kentucky first started using the land’s distinctly limestone-filtered water to distill whiskey. As Louisville became a vital commercial hub in the second half of the 19th century, the city’s Main Street was dubbed “Whiskey Row” due to the large concentration of Bourbon-related offices and warehouses in the district. Many cast-iron storefronts built between 1852 and 1905 stand firm on what was also dubbed the “Wall Street of Whiskey,” some now housing popular Bourbon attractions and watering holes.
Visitors to Louisville have ample opportunities to explore the Urban Bourbon Experience in town or use the city as a home base when wandering the rest of Bourbon Country. There are ten distillery tours in Bourbon City with half within walking distance of each other in the downtown corridor. As Bourbon continues to explode in popularity worldwide, booking tours before your visit is highly recommended.
- Angel's Envy
- Brough Brothers
- Buzzard's Roost Spirits
- Copper & Kings
- Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
- Kentucky Artisan
- Kentucky Peerless
- Old Forester
- Prohibition Craft Spirits
- Rabbit Hole
- Stitzel-Weller Experience
Beyond the Distillery
Bourbon City reclaimed its bourbon heritage in the last decade by opening 10 urban distilleries. America’s Native Spirit is part of the core fabric of the city, and Louisville’s bourbon culture extends far beyond its production tours. It’s woven into the culinary scene and receives prime billing at festivals and events. It’s even on display in many unique accommodations and a headline exhibit at the Frazier History Museum, the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and features its own tasting experience and the highly Instagrammable Wall of Bourbon.
In addition to the distilleries, Louisville is home to the Urban Bourbon Trail® – a cocktail and culinary experience highlighting the city’s best Bourbon bars and restaurants. This elevated “pub crawl” has 40 unique stops, each stocked with at least 60 bourbons. Recently, the decade-old trail has gone digital with a mobile-friendly version to promote a more user-friendly experience. From jazz-aged grand hotel bars to hidden speakeasies and neighborhood dives, there is an Urban Bourbon Trail spot to suit all tastes.
And if that’s not enough to whet your whistle, you might enjoy one of the many distillery-owned bar experiences open to the public even without a tour. As the peak season may cause tours to sell out early, there is usually room at a distillery bar for a signature cocktail to get a taste of their brand experience. This is, of course, in addition to always being able to browse the well-themed retail areas of the top Bourbon brands.