4 Tips for Exploring Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail

4 Tips for Exploring Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail
February 28 11:10 2018 Print This Article

In the heart of the eastern United States, Kentucky’s natural splendor is joined by its rich history as America’s bourbon heartland. Recognizing this, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail was created in 1999 to give visitors a thorough tour of the distilleries and locations that make the region unique. The trail stretches from Louisville to Lexington, with 10 distilleries along the way.

While bourbon is the main focus of the Trail, the rolling hills of east-central Kentucky have their own must-see natural and historical attractions. Here are some helpful tips to get the most out of your Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience.

Use the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport

Image via Flickr by ctj71081

Before you arrive in Louisville, make sure to register your trip on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail website. You’ll receive important information about the distilleries and conditions on the trail. At your first distillery, you can request your own Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport. While it doesn’t carry the legal heft of your international passport, the KBT Passport is a fun way to remember your trip.

Each distillery on the Trail has a unique stamp, and once you’ve collected all 10, you can redeem your completed passport for a free KBT t-shirt. Don’t worry, you’ll get your passport back, too. You can choose between shipping the shirt and passport to your home address or picking up your shirt at one of five official locations along the Trail.

Make Louisville Your Focal Point

Louisville is an outstanding city and a must-see during your time on the Trail. The state’s largest city is home to the famous Kentucky Derby, three standalone KBT distilleries, and one of two Jim Beam Distillery locations. There’s also a wide array of restaurants, bars, and activities to enjoy.

Surprisingly, Louisville boasts Kentucky’s only bourbon-themed hotel, the luxurious Louisville Marriott East, but there are plenty of other Louisiana hotels to check out on Hotel Planner if you can’t get a room there.

Drive on the Bluegrass Parkway

Winding through the scenic farmland of central Kentucky, the Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway is the best vector to the KBT’s distilleries. It runs east-west between Elizabethtown and Lexington and straight through bourbon country. There’s plenty to see and do along the way.

Be Responsible

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is supposed to be a fun and leisurely way to explore central Kentucky’s distilling heritage. However, it’s easy to get carried away, and a great trip can be ruined if you make the mistake of driving after too many drinks. There’s no excuse for drunk driving, especially on the KBT.

Guided bus tours are available on the Trail so you and your group can leave the driving to a professional. Both Uber and Lyft are available in the area, with Lyft offering $5 off your first two safe rides. Furthermore, many distilleries offer discounted tours to designated drivers, meaning you and your friends can switch driving duties in order to stay responsible.

You don’t have to be a whiskey expert to appreciate Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, but you should plan your trip carefully to make sure you make the most of your time in this beautiful state.

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Clare Louise
Clare Louise

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