Kentucky and bourbon are synonymous in some people’s books. Bourbon is America’s Native Spirit, but 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky. What better place to start exploring bourbon than with a tour of Louisville’s first commercial distillery.
Evan Williams was a Welsh immigrant who began distilling in 1783 in what is now Louisville. You can tour and participate in the Evan Williams Experience on Louisville’s Bourbon District, which is Main Street between Jackson and 10th Street. Here you get a taste of what Louisville was like during its bourbon heyday.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience features a distillery, guided tours, and educational Bourbon tastings. They describe themselves as the “Epcot of Whiskey Row,” and it is quite the experience.
You start off by learning a little about Evan Williams and how he established his distillery in the 1780s. Then you move to the distillery where you learn about the distilling process as well as the barrelling and aging process. Each bourbon at Evan Williams remains in the rack house in Bardstown at least four years. From there you move to a scenario of Louisville and how it evolved with the bourbon industry.
From there, it is time for a little tasting. You get to try three different straights in one of their fun tasting rooms. Our tour got to experience our tasting in the “Don Draper” room.
The next time you are in Louisville, I highly recommend trying out the Evan Williams Experience.