Bourbon tourism continues to develop at a rapid pace, with more offerings for the serious whiskey enthusiast as well as the casual visitor.
This week, Heaven Hill Distillers in Bardstown, Kentucky, makers of Evan Williams and Old Fitzgerald bourbons, will begin offering what it calls a behind-the-scenes Bourbon Connoisseur Tour, for $49.95, to complement its free tour.
As you can learn on the Heaven Hill web site, the free tour includes a 20-minute film on the history of Bourbon, a behind-the-scenes tour of a Bourbon-aging rick house, and a guided tasting of two of Heaven Hill's premium brands. Admission to the Bourbon Heritage Center (BHC) itself, which has many excellent exhibits about whiskey-making and whiskey history, is also free.
The new, paid tour includes more behind-the-scenes looks at the Bardstown facility, plus an educational seminar. Included is the cistern room, where barrels are filled; the bottling operation; the dump room, where aged barrels of bourbon are emptied; and a tour of Heaven Hill’s entire 50-acre Bardstown operation, with transportation provided by the Heaven Hill Trolley.
Unfortunately, it will not include the actual distilling operation because that is done in Louisville. Heaven Hill, founded in 1934, had a distillery in Bardstown that was destroyed by fire in 1996. They subsequently bought an existing distillery in Louisville, but kept everything else (aging, bottling, and administration) in Bardstown.
Is it worth $50? That is for the visitor to decide, but giving good value for the money is a Heaven Hill hallmark, so I suspect that the fee barely covers the costs.
Call Lynne Grant at 1-502-337-1000 for more details or to make reservations.