One of the perks of living along the Bourbon Trail are all the festivals and events the distilleries sponsor.
What’s the Bourbon Trail? Well, it’s kind of a self-guided sightseeing tour. There’s two dozen distilleries scattered around central Kentucky and the idea is to visit all of them and sample their spirits. Not all in one day, mind you. Even true bourbon aficionados would be hard pressed to make it through that many tours in a single day!
We stopped by Limestone Branch Distillery along the Bourbon Trail to check out the KY Craft Spirits Festival last weekend.
What’s a Craft Spirit? Any small batch alcohol production – like beer micro-breweries, family run vineyards, and the smaller whiskey and bourbon makers.
Limestone Branch qualifies as a craft producer because they only make one barrel of bourbon per day. The big corporate distillers like Jim Beam can roll out hundreds of barrels every day.
The Limestone Branch distillery has a tiny copper pot still and a handful of stainless mash tanks (fermenters) that our cousin’s welding company built. It’s a good time to be in this business because the demand for bourbon has skyrocketed.
The main event of the Craft Spirit Festival was held in a big tent out on the lawn. Tables were set up in the tent where each company could show off their products – beer, wine, and bourbon were all available to sample. You could buy a full glass for a couple of bucks, or just cruise each table for a free tasting. We opted for the free samples. Twice.
Back in the main facility, Limestone Branch was giving tours of its distilling operations and their special tasting room. Usually there’s a fee for these tours, which is worth the price just to reach the coveted tasting room. You can’t buy a drink on any of the Bourbon Trail tours, it’s prohibited by law. But they will hand out several half-shots in the tasting room and give you an education on the finer points of bourbon appreciation.
After all these free samples, if you’re still standing, you can purchase bottles of your favorite spirits at the gift shop. Then have a nice dinner in nearby Lebanon before you head back on the Bourbon Trail to find your way home.