Kentucky’s many distilleries produce the majority of the world’s bourbon. This is due to the state’s natural landscape and climate that make it ideal for distilling whiskey. Therefore, it is unsurprising that many of the best bourbon brands are made here in Kentucky. And, with distillery tourism on the rise, now is the best time to go on one of the many tours offered. You can visit various distilleries and learn about their histories as well as the overall history of the renowned drink. Our carefully crafted list will only give you a taste of Kentucky’s must-see whiskey distilleries before you pay them a visit yourself!
New Riff Distilling
New Riff Distilling is located in Newport, which is part of the larger Cincinnati metropolitan region. This distillery was founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis, a Kentucky retailer and entrepreneur. It is a 100% family-owned and operated distillery, offering traditional bourbon and rye whiskeys and limited-edition “riffs.” They are proud of their ability to strike the appropriate balance between honoring tradition and innovating with a cause. While strolling around the distillery, you’ll learn about the real process that goes into making some of the best whiskey money can buy. Despite the fact that they follow the same process as most distilleries, they have a few tricks up their sleeves that make it a unique distillery to visit. Also, don’t miss their gift shop, where you can buy apparel, glassware, and other items for loved ones or yourself!
Second Sight Spirits
Waggoner and Couch founded Second Sight Spirits in 2012 and began distilling in 2014. It is located in Ludlow, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River, so you cannot miss it. Waggoner’s great grandfather was a sheriff who apprehended moonshiners, whereas Couch’s great grandfather was the one who produced it. This distillery, however, is not your typical one. Both of the creators were working on two of the world’s largest productions, Cirque Du Soleil’s LOVE and Viva Elvis, on the Las Vegas Strip. As a result, they’ve decided to open a distillery with a showbiz twist. The tour of this wonderful place is one you should not miss and will be one you will remember. If you’re traveling long-distance, you should be prepared for the journey by packing a few energy bars in your car. They will provide you with the energy needed to truly enjoy this unusual experience.
Boone County Distilling Company
Boone County Distilling’s spirits are “Made By Ghosts,” a distinct niche in the ever-expanding Kentucky bourbon market. In actuality, this ominous-sounding tagline is the company’s homage to the now-forgotten nineteenth-century individuals in Boone County, Kentucky, who paved the way for a massive distilling industry. So much so that by the turn of the century, the distillery had become the state’s largest whiskey manufacturer. Boone County Distilling Co was reborn in the twenty-first century in 2015 in the small city of Independence. While its location is not the same as the original, the true spirit of bourbon still remains. They also provide a daily tour of the distillery, which they describe as a “real grain-to-glass experience” that concludes with a sample of their wonderful drinks. All the distilleries described above can be visited as part of a 6-7 hour tour of Northern Kentucky’s whiskey distilleries.
Neeley Family Distillery
In December of 2015, the Neeley Family Distillery in Sparta, Kentucky, began work. R.D. Royce Neeley, the distillery’s creator, may have been the country’s youngest licensed DSP owner at the time. Although he was only 23 years old, he had great knowledge of the business since his family has been distilling for generations. This has worked out well for him, and his distillery is now one of Kentucky’s must-see whiskey distilleries. And for a good reason! One such reason is that the whiskey barrel is meticulously prepped ahead of time. The wood is exposed to the elements for eight years, rather than the industry standard of six months. The process is known as “seasoning” the wood. After that, a lovely whiskey barrel is constructed, allowing the whiskey to develop a distinct and delightful flavor as it ages. Try it out for yourself and see what you think.
Kentucky Artisan Distillery
Kentucky Artisan Distillery is located in Crestwood and is one of the best contract distillers around. It currently distills Jefferson’s Bourbon, Whiskey Row, and Billy Goat Strut. While touring the area, you will be able to sample a variety of bourbon blends. This tour will provide you with an authentic bourbon distillery experience where you will be able to properly walk around their lab and ask their distillers any questions you have. Each tour gets a close-up look at the original equipment, which includes some from the pre-Prohibition era. You’ll also observe the entire process of creating bourbon by walking through the various rooms. Even though this distillery is small in comparison to other distilleries, it is well-equipped and incredibly knowledgeable.
Three Boys Farm Distillery
The Three Boys Farm Distillery is the final stop on our list of Kentucky’s must-see whiskey distilleries. It was established in 2012 on a picturesque 127-acre farm in Franklin County. Thousands of people visit the site each year to partake in the small, genuine, family-owned craft distillery experience. This tour will give you a perfect and simplified look into how spirits are made. Walter Zausch, an entrepreneur and former architect, recently purchased the distillery and has worked hard at improving it even further. The distillery, bottling line, gift store, and barrel storage are all set among fields of rare corn varieties used in their Bourbons. The most important attribute, however, is the customer service they deliver. Drop by and see it yourself during your Kentucky Distillery Tour. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.
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Bourbon Tours Northern Kentucky