The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Just Expanded to 46 Distilleries

It's not as abrupt as it appears

Bardstown Bourbon Company rickhouse
Bardstown Bourbon Company, one of 46 Kentucky Bourbon Trail members
Kirk Miller

Wait, is this too much of a good thing for bourbon fans? In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail recently announced a huge expansion — the experience will now feature 46 distilleries around Kentucky, up from 18.

If that announcement sounds like something out of the Tortured Poets Department release playbook, relax. The tour is simply incorporating 28 craft distilleries from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, launched in 2012, which showcased smaller distilleries. Now, there is one seamless statewide bourbon experience.

In a statement, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail noted that “All Kentucky distilleries — big and small have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into their tourism experiences, resulting in record-breaking economic development, jobs, tax dollars, restaurants, hotels and more that build off of Bourbon’s popularity. It’s a lucrative path for Bourbon to give back to local communities.”

Important Question: Is Too Much Whiskey Being Released?
Even with distilleries we love, the limited-edition bottles never seem to end

The Bourbon Trail launched in 1999 with only seven distilleries. Today, it attracts more than 2.5 million visitors per year. The recently announced expansion also includes a revamped brand identity and a new digital experience that helps visitors build their own bourbon trail. Which is smart because 46 distilleries is a lot of ground to cover. “We’re also shifting away from the idea of completing the Trail and instead emphasizing slowing down, savoring the moment and exploring the possibilities,” says Colleen Thomas, VP of Operations for the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

Our advice is to break up your trip into a few select distilleries, alternating between big and small. Book tours early (some sell out up to 90 days in advance) and get a designated tour driver because there’s a lot of distance to cover and much whiskey to consume.


Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.