Kentucky Distilleries: Book Distillery Tours in Advance


October 3, 2022

Bourbon Barrels Rickhouse distillery tourHeaven Hill

It isn’t like the old days, when if you wanted to take a distillery tour in Kentucky, you often could simply show up. Today, you have to book in advance.

And that’s exactly what the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail want their guests to do. On the heels of National Bourbon Heritage Month, The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) announced that 2022 is on track to be the highest distillery visitation year in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail’s 23-year history. This milestone for Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour distilleries will likely exceed the record 1.7 million combined visits set in 2019, prior to pandemic shutdowns. 

Due to the rise in Bourbon tourism and a growing demand for distillery tours and experiences, many of Kentucky’s iconic distilleries are asking visitors to book their tours well in advance. To that end, the KDA launched a campaign asking people to “Book Now, Bourbon Later.” 

A collaborative effort among KBT and KBTCT distilleries, the campaign aims to increase awareness of the need for visitors to plan their distillery experiences ahead of time to ensure they get the most out of their visit. In addition to social media and blog content created by the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, participating distilleries will also promote the campaign. 

Since reopening their doors to visitors after the pandemic shutdown, distilleries have seen staggering growth in visitation and distillery tour demand, Kentucky Bourbon Trail Experiences Director Mandy Ryan said.

“The last thing we want is for any Bourbon fan to miss out on the experience they want,” Ryan said. “Since most of our larger brands cannot accommodate walk-in visitors, reservations are the key to a successful Kentucky Bourbon adventure.”

While not all 42 distilleries on the KBT and KBTCT require, or even offer reservations, the vast majority do. Same-day reservations or walk-in availability can be sporadic, and it’s better for visitors to not leave their distillery tours and experiences up to chance. Availability and experiences vary by distillery, which makes planning ahead a necessity. Many distilleries share availability, events and resources on social media to help visitors keep up with important updates. 

“We want your visit to be as smooth as Kentucky Bourbon, so make sure to secure your distillery experiences, hotels and dining reservations well in advance of your trip,” said Ryan.

In addition to encouraging people to plan ahead, the KDA reminds visitors to experience the state’s legendary distilleries like a Kentuckian–with kindness, dignity and respect. 

“Kentucky’s Bourbon culture is unlike anything in the world, and it deserves to be upheld with the utmost respect and appreciation,” said Dee Ford, brand home general manager of Angel’s Envy in Louisville. “When visiting our distilleries, please remember to be kind and respectful to our people, our spirits and the cities we call home. As interest in Bourbon continues to grow, let’s all do our part to represent the spirit of true Kentucky hospitality.”