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Kentucky Bourbon Trail Sees Record Number of Visitors in 2013

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s bourbon distillers are celebrating a record number of visitors in 2013.

The eight facilities that make up the Kentucky Bourbon Trail saw a 12 percent jump in visits last year, with nearly 572,000 visitors touring facilities such as Four Roses,  Maker’s Mark, and the recently-opened Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail director Adam Johnson  attributes part of the tourism draw to the efforts distillers have made to improve their facilities.

“Name the distillery, and they’ve put some serious money in expanding that experience for their visitors," Johnson told WKU Public Radio. "Woodford Reserve, for example—they’re working hard on their place and hope to be open in the spring with a much more expanded experience, just like Jim Beam has done, just like Maker’s Mark has done, just as Wild Turkey has done.”

Johnson says the rising popularity of bourbon and other Kentucky-made spirits has also trickled down to the commonwealth’s growing list of smaller craft distilleries. Nearly 62,000 visits were made last year to members of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, including Corsair Artisan Distillery in Bowling Green, and Limestone Branch in Lebanon.

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 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

Original post:

The eight distilleries that make up the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are reporting a 12 percent increase in visitors last year over 2012.

Nearly 572,000 people, a new record, toured one of the bourbon trail members, which includes famous names like Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Woodford Reserve.

The number of people visiting Kentucky bourbon distilleries is even higher than the annual tally released Thursday, because the figures don’t include Buffalo Trace or Barton’s, which are not members of the Kentucky Distillers Association.

Nearly 62,000 people also visited one of Kentucky’s smaller craft distilleries, including Corsair Artisan Distillery in Bowling Green.

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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