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Kentucky Bourbon Country

Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide

Susan Reigler
Photographs by Pam Spaulding
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Kentucky Bourbon Country
    Book Description:

    Like wine lovers who dream of traveling to Bordeaux or beer enthusiasts with visions of the breweries of Belgium, bourbon lovers plan their pilgrimages to Kentucky's bourbon country. And what a country it is! Some of the most famous distilleries are tucked away in the scenic countryside of the Bluegrass region, stretching between Louisville, Bardstown, and Lexington. Locals and tourists alike seek out the finest flavors of Kentucky as interest in America's only native spirit continues to grow.

    InKentucky Bourbon Country, Susan Reigler offers essential information and practical advice to anyone considering a trip to the state's distilleries or to the restaurants and bars on the Urban Bourbon Trail. Featuring more than 150 full-color photographs and a bourbon glossary, the book is organized by region and provides valuable details about the Bluegrass -- including attractions near each distillery and notes on restaurants, lodging, shopping, and seasonal events in Kentucky's beautiful historic towns.

    In addition to providing knowledge about each point of interest,Kentucky Bourbon Countryweaves in little-known facts about the region's best-kept secrets, such as the historic distillery used as a set in the movieStripesand the surprising ingredient in the mint juleps served at the Kentucky Derby. Whether you're interested in visiting the place where your favorite bourbon is made or hoping to discover exciting new varieties, this handy and practical guide discovering the best of bourbon.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4270-8
    Subjects: Sociology, American Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[vii])
  3. [Maps]
    (pp. [viii]-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    Greetings, bourbon-loving traveler, for that is who you are if you have picked up this book. Like a wine lover who dreams of traveling to Bordeaux or a beer enthusiast with visions of visiting the breweries of Belgium, you are probably planning a pilgrimage to Kentucky’s bourbon country. This guide will help you get the most out of your bourbon tour of the Bluegrass State.

    Between this book’s covers you will find information about each of the distilleries that offer tours, as well as other stops of interest to a bourbon aficionado—contemporary and historic sites with bourbon connections, restaurants...

  5. 1. Bourbon Basics: Made in America
    (pp. 10-25)

    To make whiskey, you start by mixing a cooked mash of grain and water; then you add yeast and ferment the mash to produce alcohol. This process actually results in a three-grain beer. If you carry on and distill this liquid to increase its alcohol percentage by volume, you will end up with whiskey. Of course, unless you have a distilling license, this could get you arrested. Although it is legal to be a home brewer or to make wine for your own consumption, the U.S. government does not condone amateur distilling—it would lose too much tax revenue (in...

  6. 2. Louisville: The Beginning of Bourbon Country
    (pp. 26-61)

    When you drive east on Interstate 64 and cross the Ohio River from Indiana into Kentucky, prominent signs along the highway welcome you to “The Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.” You are arriving in Louisville, the state’s largest city, with a population of more than 600,000. To the left of the highway is the river’s canal, with a series of locks allowing boats and barges to navigate what would otherwise be a stretch of rocky rapids. In 1827 a teenaged Lincoln was one of the laborers who built the original canal.

    If you glance into the city to your right as...

  7. 3. Frankfort and Midway: Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve
    (pp. 62-95)

    When Kentucky became a state in 1792, officials in both Louisville and Lexington believed their respective cities should become the capital. The new state legislature decided to take bids, and the city offering the best deal would win the honor. A Frankfort landowner agreed to provide property for government buildings, the materials to construct them, a percentage of rents from his tobacco warehouses, and the princely sum of $3,000. So tiny Frankfort (current population 27,000, compared with Louisville’s 600,000 and Lexington’s 300,000) became the seat of the state government.

    Thanks to its location on a double bend in the limestone-rich...

  8. 4. Lexington and Horse Country: Town Branch
    (pp. 96-113)

    Lexington calls itself the Horse Capital of the World, and it has every right to do so. The countryside surrounding the city is home to nearly 500 Thoroughbred and Standardbred farms. Keeneland Race Course is the site not only of racing meets held in the spring and fall but also of four yearly horse sales, including the world’s largest auction of yearlings. And in addition to welcoming visitors to its museum exhibits and horse demonstrations, the Kentucky Horse Park is a venue for major national and international equestrian events.

    Although no one knows exactly how many thousands of horses live...

  9. 5. Lawrenceburg: Four Roses and Wild Turkey
    (pp. 114-141)

    Incorporated in 1820, Lawrenceburg was named after local tavern owner William Lawrence. Appropriately, Lawrenceburg is home today to not one but two distilleries. Wild Turkey and Four Roses are only a few minutes’ drive from each other and are easily reached via US 127 from Frankfort. The Bluegrass Parkway also serves as a conduit from Lexington or Bardstown.

    One warning about US 127: During the first week of August every year, 690 miles of the highway from Michigan to Alabama is the site of the World’s Longest Yard Sale. Traffic slows to a crawl. Since neither Four Roses nor Wild...

  10. 6. Bardstown: The Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Barton 1792, Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Maker’s Mark, and Jim Beam
    (pp. 142-192)

    Bardstown calls itself the Bourbon Capital of the World, and with good reason. It is home to the Barton 1792 Distillery; headquarters of Heaven Hill Distilleries, along with its bottling plant and warehouses; Kentucky Bourbon Distillers’ Willett Distillery; and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Maker’s Mark Distillery is about half an hour south of town, and both the Jim Beam Distillery and the Four Roses warehouses and bottling operation are about a twenty-minute drive northwest. As if that weren’t enough to lay claim to the name, Bardstown also hosts the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, an annual six-day celebration of...

  11. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 193-194)
  12. Appendix A: More Resources for Bourbon Lovers
    (pp. 195-198)
  13. Appendix B: Bourbon Retailers
    (pp. 199-202)
  14. Glossary: The Bourbon Lexicon
    (pp. 203-210)
  15. Index
    (pp. 211-221)
  16. About the Author and Photographer
    (pp. 222-222)