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Kentucky Bourbon Trail Mash Appeal Logo wants to know if were YOU one of a half more than 500,000 people visited Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries in 2012?

If YES, tell us below on this link and which distillery tour was your favorite. If we select you from the list below, you’ll receive non-alcoholic special gift to celebrate (must be at 21 or over, we will contact you by email, some restrictions apply). congratulates Kentucky Bourbon Trail as this is the first time that the world-renowned tourism attraction has broken the half-million mark since its inception in 1999!

We’ve been following the stories of Bourbon and whiskey both on the trail and beyond Kentucky since 2005. At, we’re the first to bring you the news from the world of Bourbon and we’re excited to bring you this news today.

The new attendance record of 509,292 is a 15 percent increase over 2011, with travelers from all 50 states and more than 50 countries making the iconic Bluegrass journey, said Adam Johnson, Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience.

Town Branch BourbonFour Roses Distillery, improved their tourism experiences in 2012 with a new visitors center (see video below). Wild Turkey broke ground on its new visitor’s center that’s set to debut later this year (see video below), and Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery joined the tour in September.  Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark unveiled new visitors experiences.

The tour also welcomed official sponsors to enhance the visitor experience, including the Louisville Marriott East, R & R Limo, The Woodford Inn, The Beaumont Inn, Art Eatables and more.

Created by the KDA in 1999, the landmark tour features Four Roses and Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg; Heaven Hill in Bardstown; Jim Beam in Clermont; Maker’s Mark in Loretto; Town Branch in Lexington and Woodford Reserve in Versailles.

“We are happily overwhelmed,” Johnson tells us . “Our legendary distilleries are doing more than ever to welcome Bourbon visitors and give them a first-hand, educational and interactive look at the art and science behind our timeless craft.”

The attendance record wasn’t the only milestone set in 2012, Johnson said. The KDA’s “Passport” program that rewards visitors who receive stamps at all Kentucky Bourbon Trail® distilleries also reached an all-time high.

A total of 18,360 people from 50 states and 11 countries completed their Passport in 2012. That’s a 56 percent increase over the previous year and a whopping 9,614 percent increase since the Passport program started in 2007. Each Passport holder receives a free t-shirt to commemorate their achievement.


Four Roses Distillery New Visitors Center

Four Roses Distillery New Visitors Center opened in September 2012 and was there for the opening in the video below

The KDA expects to record its 50,000th Passport holder in early 2013, Johnson said.

Passport holders are bringing much-needed revenue to local communities with a Kentucky Bourbon Trail distillery,  KDA President Eric Gregory tells A University of Louisville study found that each person who completes the tour spends $737 on average.

“That means the tour has poured more than $32 million into local coffers in the last five years alone,” Gregory said, noting that 85 percent of Kentucky Bourbon Trail® visitors come from outside the Commonwealth.

“We believe the fiscal impact is actually much higher because it does not include the millions of people who haven’t finished their Passports,” Gregory said. “We hope they come back soon and get those final stamps.”


Watch our videos below and here are a few other noteworthy visitor statistics that the Kentucky Bourbon Trail shared with us from 2012

Charr'd Bourbon Lounge at Louisville Marriott East Bourbon Themed Hotel

Charr’d Bourbon Lounge at Louisville Marriott East Bourbon Themed Hotel

– Ohio overtook Kentucky as the top state for Passport completion

– 75 percent of visitors stayed in a hotel or bed and breakfast

– More than 53 percent had household incomes above $80,00

– 70 percent came to Kentucky just for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour



‘s Video of Four Roses Distillery New Visitor Center Opening Day‘s Video of Wild TUrkey


Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport


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19 Responses to “Kentucky Bourbon Trail Record, were YOU one of a half million in 2012?”

  1. Kurt Koeplin

    My wife and I spent Spring Break ’12 on The Trail. 10 distilleries in 6 days, and a Hot Brown to boot. We loved it, got the t-shirt, and now we’re working on our ’13 shirts. We tell everyone about our trip and how much we enjoy spending time in KY.

    – Kurt n Cathy Koeplin
    Roswell, GA

  2. Mark B

    Being from Chicago, people here find it interesting that I have been to the bourbon trail. They, however, think I’m crazy that I have made multiple trips in one year by myself to see the distilleries. While Wild Turkey was only one of the distilleries I visited, it was by far the most memorable. The date was April 1st, 2012. After working a night shift the night before, I slept the entire day. With little convincing from a Kentucky friend and knowing UK was in the NCAA national championship the next day, I hopped in the car at 2AM and was Kentucky bound!! Multiple red bulls and about 6 hours later I found myself making a mad dash into Wild Turkey visitor center to narrowly make the first tour of the day. The friendly faces, informative tour and great bourbon (not to mention Kentucky winning their 8th title) made that trip my favorite and of course well worth it!

    Chicago, IL

  3. Jim in Cincinnati

    First stop on Bourbon Trail was Woodford Reserve January 2012. Fantastic distillery to use as start to your journey. Woodford Reserve Tour first tour led to second tour with my twenty eight year old son followed by third tour with my eighty three year old Mother !

    In 2012 also toured Wild Turkey Distillery (twice) and Four Roses (twice).

    Talking about tour with friends leads to taking them on tours.

    Buffalo Trace Distillery best toured on multiple occasions to take advantage of unique separate tours besides the introductory one hour tour.

    Buffalo Trace “Hard Hat Tour” requires reservations.

    2013 Goal is to tour remaining distilleries near Bardstown.

  4. Andy in AZ

    My best friend and I hit every stop on the Bourbon Trail while visiting for the 2012 Bourbon Festival. The best part about hitting every distillery you can: You bourbon knowledge grows with every stop. I learned something new on each tour and I proudly pass along the stories to friends when they stop by to try one of the many bourbons I have in my cabinet. We’ll be back again with more friends for the 2013 Bourbon Festival.

  5. Nick in London

    Yes – I did the entire trail with two Peace Corps buddies in June 2012. It was a fantastic time. We learned so much and enjoyed each tour. My favorite had to be the Woodford Reserve tour – we did the corn to barrel tour. Since visiting the distillery, Woodford has been added to my regular rotation of boubons.

    I would also say that I also really enjoyed the Wild Turkey tour (although I don’t particularly like their bourbon). Jimmy Russell’s grandson gave us the tour and he was fantastic.

  6. Eric Burke

    I’ve completed the bourbon trail twice. In 2012, I got my Four Roses stamp at the Four Roses Cox’s Creek Warehouse and Bottling tour. It was my favorite tour, hands down. Very personal. It was just my wife and I. Plus, we got to taste some bourbon poured right out of a barrel.

  7. David Greene

    I have completed the Bourbon Trail twice. Once this year and once last year. Jim Beams new American Stillhouse tour was absolutely amazing. You get to see every aspect of the whole bourbon process from well to bottling. Also, you get free samples at the end which doesnt hurt either!

  8. Randy

    My (adult) son and I did the Trail in October. Enjoyed all the stops. We did the Corn to Cork tour at Woodford and that would rate highest since you get more if you pay more. I’d rate Makers next best or best of the “regular” tours. A lot of the tour depends on the guide and some are better than others. Did notice a little competitive commentary from some guides and didn’t think it appropriate. Surprised that there isn’t more attention paid to the actual tasting. Makers was best at this with some discussion of sensory chacteristics. Beam simply gave two tokens to a machine. Surprised the common ownership wouldn’t lead to a common approach. Two other shout outs not part of the Trail. Independent Stave in Lebanon well worth a stop. The barrel plays a big part of the taste and they supply the barrels. Buffalo Trace needs to get back on the Trail. They do a great tour.

  9. David Wilson

    My buddies and I (4 total in group) are planning to do the Bourbon Trail in a few weeks. This is our first time doing the trail. We are planning a long weekend and were hoping to complete on a Friday/Saturday. Is it realistic to think we can hit 4 of the stops in one day?