Proud to serve as the Gateway to Bourbon Country as a starting point for the scenic tours of legendary countryside distilleries, Louisville is now buzzing with a unique bourbon experience all its own.
The city is alive with the sounds of hustle, bustle and exciting new developments springing up on the original Whiskey Row and elsewhere with nearly a dozen bourbon-related ventures and $1 billion in investment.
Louisville’s first distillery since Prohibition, The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, opened in the heart of downtown in the Fall of 2013, signaling a new era in the Gateway to Bourbon Country and becoming the first of 10 and counting spirits-related attractions soon to be part of Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Experience.
Familiar brands like Evan Williams, Angel’s Envy, Michter’s, Old Forester and Stitzel-Weller are now open. Less familiar but destined to have cult followings are new craft distilleries such as Peerless, Rabbit Hole, Prohibition Craft Spirits and Copper & Kings. The cocktail and culinary experience that has been the Urban Bourbon Trail since 2008 continues to grow alongside the popularity of bourbon with 30+ stops. Each is well-stocked with at least 60 bourbons and some as many as 150. All are serving the city’s official cocktail - the Old-Fashioned.
Bourbon is more than a drink in Kentucky. It’s part of the culture, tradition and heritage of the community. As America’s only native spirit, it follows the timeline of American history and the founding of Louisville. The strategic location on the river played a vital role in developing bourbon whiskey itself. Stories like this can be discovered at attractions such as the Filson Historical Society, home to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center, and Louisville Stoneware in their curated room of old whiskey jugs. Bourbon enthusiasts can even pay homage to legendary distillers like Pappy Van Winkle by visiting the beautiful and historic grounds of Cave Hill Cemetery.
Even beyond the Urban Bourbon Trail stops you would be hard-pressed to find a local restaurant without a strong bourbon list or at least one bourbon-infused menu item. Satisfy your sweet tooth with bourbon balls, truffles or chocolates from local makers such as ArtEatables, Muth’s Candies, and Dundee Candy Shop. Try the Old-Fashioned cake at Sweet Surrender or bourbon-glazed donut at many of the city’s German heritage bakeries. Local ice cream vendors weigh in with various bourbon flavors at Comfy Cow, Louisville Cream, and Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen. Locals love the sweet endings at Feast BBQ – a bourbon slushie or a boozy peach milkshake with bourbon at Sidebar on Whiskey Row.