Kentucky Bourbon Festivals in Bardstown, Kentucky

by Kristy Ambrose
A shot glass of bourbon, America's only native spirit.

A shot glass of bourbon, America's only native spirit.

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Bourbon was actually invented in Kentucky and the state still produces 95 percent of the world's supply. Bardstown is the bustling center of this activity, home to several bourbon distilleries and official host city of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and other bourbon-related events. If you're a bourbon drinker, Bardstown is the place for you. And if you're not, this is the town to go to if you want to become one.

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival

The small town of Bardstown lives up to its reputation as the world's bourbon capital by hosting the state-wide bourbon festival. The festival takes place every year in September. The festival is hosted by the many local distilleries and features daily bourbon tasting and other promotional events such as demonstrations of barrel making and historic tours. Other festival features include cocktails, music and cigars, which also go great with a glass of bourbon.

The Chapeze House

The Chapeze House Spirits and Spirits Tour ( includes a narrative historic tour of this three story mansion and its grounds. The structure is apparently one of the most haunted in Bardstown, reflecting the long and sordid history of the state's liquor barons. The tour concludes with a Bourbon Toddy in the dark cellar next to the oaken distillery kegs. Tours run from Monday to Saturday at 9:30 p.m. and costs $15 a person.

The Bourbon Heritage Center

In case you find yourself in Bardstown hoping to experience a bourbon related festival or event but aren't sure where to turn for information, visit the Bourbon Heritage Center ( Upcoming events listed by the center include a behind the scenes tour and Bourbon Connoisseur training at Heaven Hills Bourbon Heritage Center. The seminar lasts a half-day and includes a seminar and member of the public can become Bourbon Ambassadors.

Kentucky's Bourbon Trail

An interesting twist on fur trade trails or sightseeing walks, bourbon is so ubiquitous in Kentucky that there's a famous trail where this spirit is the central theme. Most of the points of interest on this trail are in or near Bardstown, including the Heaven Hill and Jeam Beam distilleries. The trail was created in 1999 by the Kentucky Distillers' Association and in 2010 the number of visitors to the trail topped more than 9,000 people.

About the Author

Kristy Ambrose enjoys writing about teaching, travel and pet care. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Victoria.

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