Bourbon Distilleries Return to Main Street
After a long dry spell, bourbon distilling is returning to downtown Louisville with three new distillery projects currently in the works. Until the 1920s, a portion of Main Street was known as “Whiskey Row,” with as many as 50 distilleries operating along downtown’s colorful main thoroughfare.
When completed, Angel’s Share Brands, Michter’s Distillery and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience plan to offer tours of their facilities along Main Street in the city’s core tourism district.
Angel Share’s planned $12 million distillery on East Main Street will redevelop a portion of a 19th century manufacturing building known as the old Vermont American Complex. The new distillery for Angel’s Envy bourbon will include a column still, a bottling line, grain handling equipment and barrel storage areas. The distillery also will be designed to make a unique and attractive experience for public tours. For more information, visit www.angelsenvy.com
Another ambitious bourbon tourism project is in the works as Heaven Hill Distilleries converts its West Main Street office building into an attraction including a working distillery, retail shop and tasting room. The $9.5 million Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is intended to celebrate the legacy of Evan Williams, namesake of Heaven Hill’s flagship brand, who set up one of Louisville’s first distilleries nearby in 1783. The Louisville facility is slated to become the eighth stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail when it opens this fall. Heaven Hill already operates tours at its main plant in Bardstown. www.bourbonheritagecenter.com
Michter’s Distillery is renovating the historic and architecturally significant Fort Nelson Building on West Main Street to house a new distillery. The plant, located across Main Street from the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, will offer tours and tastings when it opens later this year. www.michters.com
You can sample a wide range of bourbon drinks at any of the 19 restaurants and bars on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail. Many of the establishments, which all serve at least 50 brands of bourbon, are located downtown.www.bourboncountry.com
Louisville’s Main Street tourism district also includes such well-known attractions as the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the Muhammad Ali Museum and Glassworks glass-blowing complex, all within walking distance. Other entertainment options along Main Street include the Kentucky Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville and the KFC Yum! Center.