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Another Year, Another Record Number of Visitors Along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Abbey Oldham

Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail is celebrating another record-breaking year in attendance. The Trail’s nine participating distilleries greeted 627,032 visitors in 2014, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year.

The nine smaller facilities that make up the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour are also seeing an explosion in popularity.

“The first craft distillers that came in are now on their second and third phases of expansion,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association. “And just in the first year of our Craft Tour—from the first to second years—(attendance) has gone up over 50 percent.”

Gregory said he expects the number of Craft Tour distilleries to increase to at least a dozen by the end of the year. He also expressed optimism that the Bourbon Trail, which is mostly made up by the state’s larger “heritage” distilleries, will see increased membership in 2015.

“We’ve got a number of big-name distilleries that have announced, like Michter’s in downtown Louisville. It’s our hope that Angel’s Envy, when they get up and running, will come on board. Brown-Forman has announced the Old Forester distillery on Whiskey Row.”

Frankfort-based Buffalo Trace, which is not a member of the Bourbon Trail, saw a 26 percent increase in visitors last year.

Here is a list of the member distilleries that are a part of the Bourbon Trail and Craft Tours:

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Maker’s Mark in Loretto; Jim Beam in Clermont; Town Branch in Lexington; Woodford Reserve in Versailles; Four Roses and Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg; Heaven Hill in Bardstown; Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience in Louisville

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour

Wilderness Trace in Danville; Barrel House in Lexington; Corsair Artisan Distillery in Bowling Green; Limestone Branch in Lebanon; M.B. Rowland in Pembroke; Old Pogue in Maysville; Silver Trail in Hardin; Willett in Bardstown; New Riff Distillery in Newport

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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