Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Ushers in Adventurous New Era of Bourbon Tourism

June 20, 2024

Federal, State, and Local Officials Join Celebration of Industry’s Impact Across Kentucky Through its Thriving Global Tourist Attraction

FRANKFORT, Ky. – In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour is getting a bold new look, a sleek new digital experience for visitors to build their own amber adventure, and a reimagined future by combining the original excursion with its Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Congressman Andy Barr, co-chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, and Kentucky Sen. David Yates of Louisville unveiled the newly reimagined Kentucky Bourbon Trail® before 200 Bourbon luminaries at the Frazier History Museum along historic Whiskey Row in Louisville.

The new-look Bourbon Trail® experience will showcase 46 of the Commonwealth’s finest distilleries, giving visitors more options to plan their trip and fully focus their attention on the laid-back hospitality, local culture and cuisine, scenic hidden gems and natural wonders on their journey.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® pilgrimage in 1999 to educate visitors on the art and science behind making America’s only native spirit. It was America’s first spirits tour and has since welcomed more than 18 million visitors from all 50 states and dozens of countries.

“We knew we had something special, but we never could have dreamed it would evolve from a simple industrial tour of distilleries into an international bucket list experience filled with rare and behind-the- scenes adventures,” Gregory said.

Following rapid growth and innovation by distillers, the KDA created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® in 2012 to showcase smaller distilleries. Its 28 craft distilleries will now join the 18 members of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, forming one statewide Bourbon TrailTM experience.

“All Kentucky distilleries – big and small have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into their tourism experiences, resulting in record-breaking economic development, jobs, tax dollars, restaurants, hotels, and more that build off of Bourbon’s popularity.

“It’s a lucrative path for Bourbon to give back to local communities.”

Elected Officials Toast the Past and Cheer the Future

Congressman Barr’s Congressional Bourbon Caucus is a bipartisan group of members that are dedicated to strengthening the Bourbon industry and educating other Representatives on legislative and regulatory issues that impact it.

“As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, we honor the tradition, craftsmanship, and economic vitality that Bourbon brings to our Commonwealth,” said Rep. Barr, who is from Lexington, one of the KBT’s official Gateway communities.

“This milestone underscores our rich heritage and the global recognition of Kentucky as the true home of Bourbon. Cheers to another 25 years of excellence and innovation in one of our homegrown signature industries!”

Rep. Morgan McGarvey, co-chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, was scheduled to participate in the event but had an unexpected emergency. Sen. Yates, the chamber’s Minority Whip and former President of the Louisville Metro Council, stepped in to discuss the KBT’s local and state impact.

“It’s been amazing to see how the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Bourbonism has revitalized tourism in Louisville, especially on our historic Whiskey Row,” Sen. Yates said. “Bourbon is unique to our Commonwealth and important to its future. I’m proud to work alongside legislators on both sides of the aisle and each level of government to protect and elevate its importance in Kentucky.”

To celebrate the 25th anniversary and all that is to come, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® received special recognition from the federal and state government. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s tribute in the Congressional Record honored the success of the Kentucky landmark.

“I want to thank all those involved for their stewardship of Kentucky’s heritage and their work to build our State’s vibrant Bourbon industry,” McConnell said. “As the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® celebrates its silver jubilee, I’d like to extend my best wishes to its dedicated team and all the hard-working Kentuckians who have contributed to the enduring popularity and legacy of Bourbon whiskey.”

Additionally, Governor Andy Beshear proclaimed June 20, 2024, as “Bourbon TrailTM Day in the Commonwealth.” Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman delivered the proclamation and offered a toast to the KBT’s past and future.

“For years, Kentucky’s signature spirit has spurred tourism and economic development helping build our communities,” she said. “With billions in Bourbon investments underway and a bright new future for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, the world will continue to know that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the undisputed home of Bourbon.”

A Global Bucket-List Future for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Adventure

To plan for the future of the behemoth tourist attraction, the KDA engaged IQS Research to personally interview thousands of KBT® visitors over the last year. The findings clearly proved that the Bourbon TrailTM is elevating Kentucky tourism with an affluent demographic featuring:

– 76% of visitors come from outside of Kentucky;
– Visitors are coming in packs and staying in the region for 3 to 5 days;
– Guests typically spend between $600 and $1,400 on dining, entertainment, lodging, and transportation.
– More than 60% have incomes above $100,000;
– 60% of visitors are male, 36% female, 4% non-binary;
– 12% identified as a racial minority and 7% identified as LGBTQIA+;
– 91% discovered a new product or Bourbon brand during their trip; and
– 97% were highly satisfied with their distillery experience, and 96% would recommend the KBT® to their family and friends.

Following a nationwide search for a marketing partner to help formulate the Bourbon Trail’s future, the KDA began working with Nashville-based agency Lewis.

Utilizing the IQS data and the KDA’s biennial economic impact report, the Lewis team held in-depth interviews with leadership and frontline employees at Kentucky Bourbon Trail® attractions and conducted further in-depth research in key feeder markets to collect potential visitors’ impressions.

The impressive result is an all-new brand identity that is modern, adventurous, and reflective of the new and elevated offerings at distilleries. The new logo embraces the rich colors and textures of the Commonwealth’s Bourbon legacy and features typography that’s symbolic of iconic trailhead signs, evoking a keen sense of adventure.

Recognizing the TrailTM experience can no longer be completed in a long weekend, the reimagined Kentucky Bourbon Trail® will shift away from incentivizing the desire to quickly finish the journey to instead slowing down, savoring the adventure and exploring the possibilities.

Visitors will begin to see the changes throughout the summer, including:

– A fresh new look that conveys a sense of discovery, elevated adventure and attainable luxury;

– A combined Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® into one Bourbon Trail program;

– An all-new digital experience to help guests explore and prepare for their trip like never before;

– Ability to Build Your Own Bourbon Trail®, allowing visitors to imagine and explore a wide range of possible itineraries before they ever arrive in Kentucky. #BYOBT

“Our guides on the frontline of the Bourbon TrailTM know there is an experience that’s perfect for each and every visitor, and the reimagined Kentucky Bourbon Trail® will be even easier to explore and discover,” said Jes Pendergrass, Chair of the KDA Board of Directors and General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer at Heaven Hill.

“Just as every Bourbon is a unique expression, each distillery brings its own personality to the visitor experience, and the Bourbon TrailTM has more offerings than ever before. We encourage our visitors to take their time, sip and savor each moment, and come back often to relax and enjoy our laid-back Kentucky Bourbon culture.”

Katie Peninger, Vice President of Account Service at Lewis, said, “What we learned is that Bourbon tourists know what they want, why they’re here, and what their priorities are. With #BYOBT, the visitor decides what’s important, and the website presents them with the distilleries, hotels and restaurants that match their preferences.”

Visitors can follow Kentucky Bourbon Trail® on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date and be the first to know when the new digital experiences are ready for use. For more information, go to

Media Inquiries: [email protected] or (832) 878-2904


The Kentucky Distillers’ Association is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association that passionately unites, promotes, protects and elevates the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. The KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving.


Please enjoy Bourbon like a true Kentuckian – Responsibly


Governor Andy Beshear

“Congratulations to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® for its wildly successful 25 years of showing the world why Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon and America’s only native spirit. From seven distilleries on the Trail to 46 distilleries and more than 18 million visitors later, it’s a shining example of what Team Kentucky has to offer. For decades, Bourbon has been an integral part of building Kentucky’s economy and bringing people together, and I am excited to see the Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® usher in the next era of sharing Kentucky’s Bourbon heritage with folks from near and far.”

U.S. Representative Morgan McGarvey, CoChair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus

“Bourbon is America’s spirit — and it’s a billion-dollar industry that creates jobs for hardworking Kentuckians across our Commonwealth. As co-chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, it’s an honor to be celebrating 25 years of the iconic Kentucky Bourbon Trail. I look forward to seeing our bourbon industry thrive for the next 25 years and beyond!”

Robert Stivers, President of the Kentucky Senate

“I am proud of the thriving Bourbon industry and the positive impact our legislative initiatives have had in creating an environment for one of our signature industries to flourish,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester. “We changed the tax code and improved the regulatory process to make each Bourbon Trail attraction a destination that draws even more tourists to our beautiful state.”

David Osborne, Kentucky Speaker of the House

“Kentucky is in the middle of a $5.4 billion Bourbon building boom, in large part due to the popularity of the industry’s tourism arm – the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour. America’s only native spirit, Bourbon is the reason that more than 18 million people have visited the Bourbon Trail®, contributing to local economies throughout the state. I’m excited to see how the industry continues to build and grow in communities across the Commonwealth while showing off who we are to the world!”

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg

“Kentucky Bourbon is part of our heritage, our culture and the success of our city and state and we are fortunate to have the Kentucky Distillers’ Association amplifying the importance of the industry for 25 years,” said Mayor Craig Greenberg. “The spirit of Louisville is made stronger by Kentucky Bourbon and we are thrilled to support the KDA as it transforms to ensure the future of this essential industry is brighter than ever before.”

Lindy Casebier, Secretary of Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet

“Bourbon tourism has exploded over the last 25 years, as Kentucky has become a destination for folks from across the country and around the world. We appreciate the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s efforts in spreading the word on Bourbon, and we congratulate them on 25 years of guiding connoisseurs on the pilgrimage known as the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour.”

Julie Kirkpatrick, President & CEO, meetNKY

“The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® has provided millions of visitors with their first sip of our world-famous hospitality and given them a gateway to explore the rich heritage of our Commonwealth. Northern Kentucky is proud to serve as a one of the unique access points to the Kentucky Bourbon experience, offering visitors our unique blend of historic charm and modern attractions that sets the stage for an unforgettable journey.”

Mary Quinn Ramer, President, VisitLEX

“Bourbon is tantamount with Kentucky, thanks to 25 phenomenal years of growth along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® adventure. All corners of the Commonwealth have been positively impacted by the significant interest in Bourbon tourism. Experiences along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® journey are rich and authentic and a true testament to Kentucky’s abundant natural resources and our genuine hospitality. Cheers to the next 25 years of Kentucky’s signature spirit and adventures along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour!”

Stacey Phelps, President, Visit Bardstown

“The Kentucky Bourbon Trail tourist attraction has contributed to the growth of local economies, boosted hospitality, and helped make the Bluegrass State a premier destination for Bourbon enthusiasts and travelers alike. Centered around Bourbon, Bardstown has become a thriving destination with a rich cultural and economic landscape, cementing our place in history as the ‘Bourbon Capital of the World.’”

Cleo Battle, President and CEO, Louisville Tourism

“Over the last 25 years, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experience has revolutionized tourism in our area, bringing in visitors from all over the world to experience the rich history and culture of America’s only native spirit. The economic impact of the Bourbon TrailTM to Louisville has been immense, driving nearly a million visitors in 2023 alone, establishing Bourbon City as the most visited region on the Trail(TM) — a distinction held annually since 2018. We are thrilled to see an updated Bourbon TrailTM unveiled, which promises to offer even more immersive and unforgettable experiences for all who embark on our state’s signature journey.”

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly