Planning your Kentucky-wide bourbon distillery tour? Checkout these hidden gems

There are more than 90 distilleries to choose from, and some of them are more well known than others. Obviously. One thing all bourbon fans should keep in mind is that for every big-name distillery like Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, there are dozens of small, family-owned establishments that offer delicious bourbons and a completely unique and personal tour experience. Here are some that you should checkout during your next spirits excursion.


James E. Pepper Distilling Co. – Lexington

For those who love history with their cocktails, be sure to stop by the James E. Pepper Distillery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in the heart of Lexington’s Distillery District. Learn about the distillery’s rich history as well as how they craft their bourbon on a tour and a tasting. Afterwards sit on the patio with a cocktail as you make plans to visit any number of the nearby shops and restaurants in the neighborhood.


Whiskey Thief Distilling Co. – Frankfort

Whiskey Thief Distillery

Just a few miles from the state capitol, nestled amongst some of the most beautiful farmland Franklin County has to offer, you will find Whiskey Thief Distilling. During this in-depth and hands-on tour experience not only will the bourbon stewards show you the Whiskey Thief distilling process, but they will let you fill your own bottle straight from the barrel. After the tour, grab a glassful and hang out on the back patio to soak in the view and the company.


Bardstown Bourbon Co. – Bardstown

You can’t really say you’ve experienced bourbon country if you have not been through Bardstown, also known as the Bourbon Capital of the World™? While you are making your way through the idyllic hamlet, be sure to stop off at Bardstown Bourbon Company. The distillery offers a vast array of tours and experiences on any number of bourbon subjects from crafting the perfect old fashioned, to the art of bourbon blending. When it is all said and done, be sure to stop by the kitchen and bar for some locally sourced, classic and reimagined Kentucky cuisine.


Peerless Distilling Co.  – Louisville

Peerless Distilling Co. traces its roots back to the late 1800s in Henderson, Ky. For years it enjoyed success as one of the premier distilleries in Kentucky before ceasing production due to the passage Prohibition.  In 2015, the historic brand was revived.  In a newly renovated, century old building in the heart of Louisville, you can see the entire bourbon and rye making process from grain to bottle all under one roof. In addition to the tour itself make sure you stick around for the complete bourbon and rye whiskey tasting.Second Sight Spirits


Second Sight Spirits – Ludlow

For those who like a little show with their beverage, look no further than Northern Kentucky’s Second Sight Spirits.  Drawing from their past careers as set designers for big ticket Las Vegas magic shows, the distillery’s founders have designed a tour like no other. The tour not only covers how the spirits are distilled, but also gives a fascinating background story on how the founders got into craft distilling. 

Limestone Branch Distillery – Lebanon

Just south of Kentucky’s geographic center, surrounded by acres and acres of beautiful farmland, stands the Limestone Branch Distillery. Since opening Limestone Branch in 2010 cultivated a loyal following of spirit lovers by producing small batch Yellowstone bourbons, rye and gin. In addition to giving the public an in-look behind the scenes, it does a deep dive into the Beam Family’s long and storied history of distilling.  The tour selection does not end there. Learn to make different variations on classic cocktails with the Minor’s Mixology Course. On weekend nights, make sure to checkout the Spirits and Strings concert series in Minor’s Lounge.

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