Bourbon Hospitality – One Distillery at a Time
By American Honey
Experiences mean everything when visiting a distillery here in Kentucky. My first distillery tour was a memorable one for certain, but unfortunately at the time I had no idea what was about to take place. It was an overcast day in Clermont driving into the long driveway of one of the most iconic bourbon brands distillery. I was meeting one of Jim Beam’s Whiskey Professors David Mays to join them on a press tour, tasting and luncheon with Fred Noe, 6th generation Master Distiller for the company. I had no idea at the time, the magnitude of what I was about to experience.
This was my first bourbon distillery tour, and I was extremely lucky to have been ushered around the facilities, learning about bourbon production, and tasting from the mash tubs with Fred! Although at the time it was a lot of information to absorb, I was in awe of everything around me. At the end of the tour (and corn mash snack) I got to sit next to Fred at the amazingly beautiful Knob Creek House for lunch. It was at this moment I realized how down to earth even legendary people were in Kentucky. There I sat next to one of the most recognized distillers in the world, and he talked with all of us as if we were dear old friends.
Six Kentucky trips later nothing has changed except for a few shuffles of distillers who have
retired such as Jim Rutledge from Four Roses and Ken Pierce from Barton. Even with the
continued growth in bourbon popularity personal attention and time is dedicated to each
individual who visits each distillery.
Many of our readers have no doubt visited wine country numerous times. Wineries in Napa and
Sonoma are breathtakingly beautiful, and each has their own unique charm. If you are lucky
you will encounter a friendly yet knowledge staff member during your tasting, however it can
often be hit or miss especially if you visit during the weekend! Although the distilleries in
Kentucky are not as accessible as the wineries are in wine country, you will not be disappointed
at the high level of friendliness and expertise of staff as you visit each distillery. And just like the
wineries, each distillery has its own personality. An necessary experience for all to enjoy!
To find out more information visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail website.