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Distilleries Dress Up and Toast the Holiday Season on the Kentucky Bourbon Tour

Woodford Reserve, Kentucky Bourbon Tour

Woodford Reserve, Kentucky Bourbon Tour

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s dis­til­leries are ramp­ing up their activ­i­ties for the hol­i­days, adding win­ter plea­sures to their offer­ings with hol­i­day cheer.

Tours for hol­i­day guests, gift shops with ideas for dis­cern­ing shop­pers, home­made eggnog, and tast­ings for those over 21 are just some of the fes­tive activ­i­ties on the dis­til­leries’ agenda this time of year.

Like snow flakes, no two dis­til­leries are alike, so make plans to visit sev­eral to feel the unique ambi­ence of these great Kentucky land­marks. The Bourbon Trail’s eight stal­warts, Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Four Roses, Wild Turkey and Tom Moore, offer dis­tinct plea­sures to the win­ter­time visitor.

All wel­come you in with a hearty dose of Bluegrass hos­pi­tal­ity, espe­cially at this time of year. Savor the fla­vors of the sea­son, and enjoy your visit to the dis­tillers’ domain.

Each year Maker’s Mark ( ups the ante for cheer at its Loretto dis­tillery near Bardstown. This year promises to be one of the best with two annual can­dle­light tours from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 5 and Dec. 12. Ice skate from noon to 9 p.m. For more info call 270–865-2099 or for a shut­tle tour from Louisville, visit

Festive lights at Buffalo Trace Distillery at Frankfort add to the bour­bon maker’s win­ter appeal. Buffalo Trace kicks off another hol­i­day sea­son on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. with the annual light­ing. It’s a mag­i­cal evening of hol­i­day cheer, refresh­ments and a visit from the man of the hour—Santa Claus! See the lights any night Dec. 3 through Dec. 31, start­ing at dusk and end­ing at 11 p.m. For more info call 800–654-8471 or visit

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 12, the Woodford Reserve Distillery Visitor Center hosts its annual Holiday Open House along Glenn’s Creek. Near Versailles it’s a warm, invit­ing retreat where you can see how bour­bon has been made for gen­er­a­tions and take in the gor­geous sur­round­ings. Homemade baked goods and candy cane-infused Bourbon will be avail­able for sam­pling. This day only, the gift shop will offer the oppor­tu­nity to make your very own unique orna­ment. Distillery tours leave hourly, with all pro­ceeds from tour tick­ets going to God’s Pantry Food Bank in Woodford County. From Nov. 27 through Dec. 26, the annual gourmet hol­i­day lun­cheons are served Wednesdays through Saturdays (reser­va­tions rec­om­mended). For more info call 859–879-1872 or visit

Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Center prides itself on the largest indoor Christmas tree and indoor dec­o­ra­tions in Nelson County. The open house is free so come out and enjoy the fes­tiv­i­ties Dec. 7–8 and 14–15. Hitch a ride on a hol­i­day express aboard Heaven Hill Distilleries Trolley Tour which runs Dec. 8, 14 & 15. Visit their web site at for more infor­ma­tion or call 502–510-0012.

All eight dis­til­leries on The Bourbon Trail offer tours of their grounds and the win­ter sea­son pro­vides a whole new look. For more infor­ma­tion about other trail dis­til­leries’ tours, call Four Roses at 502–839-3436; Tom Moore at 502–348-3774; Wild Turkey at 502–839-4544; and Jim Beam at 502–543-9877.

Shop, dine and tour the nearby cities of Frankfort, Versailles and Bardstown along his­toric Main streets. Make it a week­end get­away and book a local bed & break­fast inn or other lodg­ing and absorb the hol­i­day cheer.

For more infor­ma­tion go to (502–875-8687); (859–873-5122) for Versailles; and (800–638-4877).

More info on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail can be found at Visit for many more ideas about things to do in bour­bon coun­try and the rest of the com­mon­wealth dur­ing the holidays.

Photo by Jesse Bruce

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