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 says.
“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.
In a news release about the visitor jump, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail adds:
Visitors came from all 50 states and 50 countries and territories, including Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Spain and Vanuatu.