Bourbon Trail Craft Tour expands, adds prize

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2019


News release

FRANKFORT — WIlderness Trail Distillery in Danville is one of 20 on a new expanded Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.

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Seven years ago, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association created the nation’s first and only tourism attraction to showcase its flourishing artisan distilling movement — the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.

Recently, KDA announced that the adventure is expanding to include new spirits producers and is rewarding visitors who tour all 20 distilleries with an enhanced Passport, regional itineraries and a “challenging” finishing prize.

“The tremendous growth of Kentucky’s craft industry has spurred local tourism with visitors looking for homegrown, intimate experiences around all kinds of boutique spirits,” KDA President Eric Gregory said.

“The KBT Craft Tour now welcomes innovative micro distillers who are making everything from flavored moonshine using locally grown ingredients to barrel-aged rums and vodka, brandy, gin, and, of course, our state’s signature Kentucky bourbon.”

The expanded Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour will break down into four regions — Northern, Central, Western and Bluegrass — to better help guests map out their distillery excursions to all corners of the Commonwealth.

Adam Johnson, Senior Director of the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail Experiences, said each region will have streamlined itineraries and suggested stops, with visitors earning a collectible challenge coin after completing each territory.

Fans who tour all 20 KBTCT stops will earn a free, custom-designed barrel stave to display their coins, Johnson said.

The showpiece stave also comes with an official KBT tasting glass engineered by Kentucky’s legendary Master Distillers specifically to savor the complexities of bourbon whiskey.

“It’s a tougher quest to complete now, so we had to significantly up the bar on the finishing prize,” he said.

The Craft Tour Passport has been redesigned as a souvenir guidebook, Johnson said, with nearly 70 pages of distillery information, cocktail recipes, suggested travel routes, maps, events and more.

Passports can be purchased at participating distilleries for $3, with proceeds going to further the KDA’s efforts to craft a better drinking culture with select social responsibility and environmental sustainability partners.

The KBT Craft Tour tallied 340,000 distillery stops last year, the most since its founding in 2012 as a complement to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour. The original tour logged more than 1 million visits last year for the first time since its creation by the KDA in 1999.

That means bourbon tourists made a record 1.4 million distillery stops in 2018 – a 370% increase over the last 10 years.