Kentucky Bourbon Tours with Kids
Here are some things to consider about Kentucky Bourbon Tours with Kids
Louisville is the Bourbon tourism capital of the world. Bourbon is Kentucky’s native spirit and our bourbon heritage is rich, but is it family-friendly? Can you really take your kids to a distillery?
The answer is absolutely yes, but with a few caveats you need to consider about Kentucky Bourbon Tours with Kids. You’ll want to check with specific distilleries first about their rules about children – some are 21 and over only, and some have tours that have age limits like 12 and up because of safety reasons.
If you are inclined to make jokes about underage drinking, you’re going to make a lot of people really uncomfortable, so save those jokes for when you’re back home. If your kids won’t tolerate loud noises, funny smells, a lot of walking, and potential boredom, it’s best to make alternative plans – remember that this is a factory and it may not be quite as entertaining to them as it is to you. It’s also not designed to be child-proofed and you are responsible for ensuring your own and your child’s safety.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Main Street is a great place to test out a Kentucky Bourbon tour with kids, to see if they will find this stuff as interesting as you do. They make use of props and videos to make the storytelling really engaging, and all the distilling equipment is behind glass where curious kids can’t reach out and get burned by accident.
Locust Grove also has a farm distillery exhibit that does not produce anything, though they can mash or ferment on the premises for reenactment purposes. That’s a great way to illustrate the history of farm distilling in Kentucky.
The Frazier History Museum has a huge exhibit about the history of distilling in Kentucky that covers everything from grain to water to the finished product, which can also be a great introduction for kids about Kentucky’s signature industry. So, it’s a Kentucky Bourbon Tour with kids with the bonus of seeing all of the museum.
There is so much more to Kentucky’s Native spirit than Manhattans and Mint Juleps. For starters, early settlers started making bourbon so their crops wouldn’t spoil during the long and arduous transport to markets like New Orleans. It was a way to preserve the harvest more than anything, and storing jugs of whiskey took up a lot less room and drew fewer pests. Kentucky’s natural limestone deposits, also responsible for our world-famous bluegrass, are the main reason Kentucky bourbon is the gold standard.
There’s a lot to learn about Kentucky’s history on Kentucky Bourbon Tours with Kids, such as agriculture, geology, and more from the bourbon industry. To boot, many of the kids growing up here are likely to end up working in the bourbon industry at some point in their lives, and it’s always great to show kids what their career options are. Distilleries employ chemists, robotic engineers, chemical engineers, shipping and receiving specialists, agricultural specialists, biologists, and more, and that’s just on the scientific side. Every skill level and specialty you can think of has a place in the distilled spirits industry.
Want to take a day trip for Kentucky Bourbon Tours with Kids? Bardstown, KY is a great place to start learning about Kentucky’s history, both bourbon and non-bourbon related. In addition to Bardstown’s historic Main Street and My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown is also home to a high concentration of bourbon heritage. Visit Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Experience, which is a museum of the brand’s family history dating back to the 1930s. Visit the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum and view bourbon artifacts and historic documents such as Abraham Lincoln’s liquor license.
Another great destination for families is Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. At only an hour from Louisville this is a totally easy day trip for most of us. Their Trace Tour lasts an hour and is open to all ages. If you have kids over 12, the E.H. Taylor Tour can pique the interest of any budding archaeologists you have in your family – the distillery dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s was painstakingly uncovered under a concrete floor a few years back. In addition to these awesome tours, Buffalo Trace also hosts numerous family-friendly events throughout the year. There’s an Easter Egg Hunt, a 5k, and Disturbia at the Distillery for Halloween, among many others. Freddie Johnson of Buffalo Trace has talked about taking groups of 4H kids on distillery tours. They get to see the crops their parents grow turned into a premium product, while learning about the science and business that go into bourbon.
Distillery tours are fun for all ages. I’ve taken kids in strollers to the Maker’s Mark Distillery, where we learned about bourbon production from start to finish, visited a rick house full of bourbon barrels, and learned about the angel’s share. Check the Kentucky Bourbon Trail’s website for information about member distilleries, but keep in mind there are plenty more distilleries than that in Kentucky. Each distillery may have different rules about kids, so be sure to check before you plan your visit.