Head to Kentucky and Tennessee for the perfect bourbon-themed travel experience. In addition to a plentiful amount of distillery tours, the area is also home to unique experiences where visitors can learn more about the history, science, and culture around the beloved drink. Choose from the activities below to plan a perfect Father’s Day weekend, guys trip, or bachelor party, or just make one of them a unique addition to any trip in the area.
Copper & Kings in Louisville, Kentucky recently released its first bourbon, available for guests who visit the distillery and take the new “Bottle-Your-Own” tour, part of their Barrel-to-Bottle experience. After the tour and tasting, guests can fill their bottle selected straight from the barrel, hand signed by Head Distillery Brandon O’Daniel.
If simply bottling your own drink isn’t enough, what about making your very own custom blend? In that case, try out Louisville Slugger’s unique distillery experience. Barrels and Billets offers a custom bourbon blending experience lasting approximately 45 minutes, with six different wood-finished bourbons that visitors can taste and blend. The new custom recipes will then be bottled, sealed and labeled with a custom label so guests can take their new blends home with them.
In Bardstown, Kentucky, there’s also the Whisky Magazine’s “Global Whiskey Attraction of the Year”—Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, which has been recently renovated with a new two-story wing with an expanded visitor center and three new themed tasting rooms. In addition to the new Five Brothers Bar and Kitchen, the new building also houses a hands-on experience called “You Do Bourbon” where guests receive product education before getting to select, fill and label their own bourbon to take home with them.
Revival Vintage Spirits & Bottle Shop in Covington, Kentucky features a full-service bar on the first floor with one-of-a-kind vintage spirits and cocktails plus unique tasting flights. The second floor showcases the shop’s library of 4,000+ bottles for sale, including Pappy Van Winkles to Pre-Prohibition bottles.
Keep the vintage experience going and head to Louisville, where you’ll find a 1920s-inspired bar and tasting experience at Neat Bourbon Bar and Bottle Shop. This Highlands area bar highlights historic bourbons while offering vintage spirits to buy, trade and sell.
Touring company Mint Julep Experiences has launched a new “Roll Out the Barrel” high-end adventure, where guests can fly privately to-and-from either Louisville or Nashville via helicopter to Maker’s Mark Distillery. The all-inclusive package includes black car service, a farm-to-table lunch at Star Hill Farm, a private barrel select and personalized bourbon bottles. The experience will also include two nights in luxury accommodations at either the Omni Hotel Louisville or Omni Hotel Nashville.
A new high-tech bourbon experience, Bourbon Live, opened in July 2022 in Lexington’s Distillery District. The location includes floor-to-ceiling walls painted with a special pigment transforming them into projector screens, showcasing Kentucky’s bourbon history and distilleries. It’s an opportunity for guests to learn the basics of bourbon and see bourbon sights digitally while sipping on a flight of bourbon.
Louisville, Kentucky has several unique options when it comes to fun whiskey bars. But one of the newest additions that is getting a lot of love from pet owners is Frank’s Whiskey Place, a unique new dog-friendly whiskey bar. The business is named after the owner’s dog, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd/Labrador mix named Frank, and his face is part of the bar’s logo. The bar features a custom walnut wood bar-back with live-edge walnut shelves for alcohol and dark railroad ties holding the bar up, and the walls are filled with murals from distilleries on the Urban Bourbon Trail.
Lynchburg, Tennessee is known for being the home of the Jack Daniels Distillery. They offer several different types of tours throughout the day showcasing the history and process behind making the drinks. However, if you’re looking to commemorate your trip to town with a keepsake or two, you’ll have to head elsewhere as the distillery doesn’t sell any. Nearby, The Lynchburg Hardware & General Store has a huge selection of Jack Daniel’s memorabilia. It’s a must-see stop for any visitors to town.
The James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Clermont has undergone significant renovations to upgrade visitors’ experiences. New visitor experiences include: The American Outpost, a new visitor and retail center; The Kitchen Table, a 5,000 square foot restaurant and gathering space championing local farmers; and “Beam Made Bourbon,” an immersive consumer tour showing how bourbon is made the “Beam Way”. There’s also the Fred B. Noe Craft Distillery, a new functional production facility offering special distillation process sessions with Freddie Noe, 8th generation Beam Distilling, plus hands-on activities in the blending lab, a tasting bar and state-of-the-art classroom.
The new restaurant, The Kitchen Table, features indoor and outdoor dining where guests can enjoy a meal and cocktail while taking in the distillery grounds. The restaurant is inspired by the original Beam family kitchen table, a place of storytelling, whiskey sharing and recipes, and each dish and cocktail will feature locally sourced Kentucky ingredients. Some of the new specialty cocktails offered include a “Jim Beam Highball,” a Basil Hayden-based “Golden Hour” with Aperol Aperitivo liqueur and lillet blanc, and a “Smash” featuring Old Grand-Dad, lemon, mint and sugar.