Celebration of Distilleries for Bourbon Heritage Month

I have been in the spirits business for over 20 years, and distillery tours are still such an adventure!  The transformation from my early visits to now in 2021 are experiential!  In the early 2000’s there were a few distillery tours, but the tours were basically here is the mash, the still, and there it goes in a barrel.  The idea of experiential distillery tours has been on an upward trajectory and I am surprised every time by the ingenuity of the how distilleries are now talking about the process and all of the unique features that distillers can bring to their liquids.  It isn’t just about seeing the process of distillation, but learning about the grains (and Heirloom grains people are now distilling with… heard of Bloody Butcher and Blue Corn used for distillation of bourbon??).  The industry has taken the fun experience of seeing distillation to almost a ‘Disney World’ adventure into spirits making.  The connections to the land, the grains, the water (water is a major component of bourbon!), and then the artisanal approach to grain bills is impressive.  Another art & science to the bourbon category is blending of bourbons to create new and unique blends that haven’t been on the market yet.  I am definitely in awe of the legacy and heritage of bourbon, but I am down-right nerdy about the art & science of it all.  Consumers are not only allowed and encouraged to try various bourbons, but they are now becoming more informed on why the aroma and flavor are unique through the immersive experience provided by distilleries!  If you haven’t been to a bourbon (or other spirit) distillery I encourage you to make a reservation and check out the new revolution of experiences.  Below I have included a list of distilleries that I think are representative of old school and new school approaches to making America’s Spirit!

5 Bourbon Distilleries We Love

  1. Maker’s Mark
  2. Rabbit Hole
  3. Peerless
  4. Bardstown Bourbon Company
  5. Evan Williams