LEBANON, Ky. — Lebanon, located in the geographic heart of Kentucky and home to Maker’s Mark and Limestone Branch distilleries, has been named an Official Trailhead of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.
Adam Johnson, Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® program, said Lebanon’s reputation as a legendary entertainment hotspot has made it a favorite with visitors and a welcome sponsor.
“Lebanon is a community that thrives on excitement, music and adventure,” Johnson said. “It’s overflowing with activities and attractions, from Bourbon to Civil War battlefields, holy sites and a ton of fantastic events.”
Carla Wagner, executive director of the Lebanon Tourist & Convention Commission, said the growing popularity of its Bourbon attractions, including the Kentucky Cooperage with its barrel factory tours, continues to draw more visitors to the area.
“With its rich Bourbon experience and deep spiritual legacies, Lebanon is a community that thrives on its unique history and heritage,” she said.
“We are proud to invite our Bourbon enthusiasts to get a taste of true Southern hospitality, local cuisine and a Bourbon tasting experience at any of our eateries.”
For more information about Lebanon, go to www.visitlebanonky.com.
As part of its designation, visitors who finish tours at all Kentucky Bourbon Trail® distilleries can now pick up their commemorative T-shirt in Lebanon instead of waiting for mail delivery, Wagner said.
Travelers can redeem their Kentucky Bourbon Trail® stamped Passport at the Lebanon Tourist & Convention Commission, 239 North Spalding Avenue, suite 200, in downtown. Call (270) 692-0021 for directions or additional information.
Created in 1999 by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour is a first-hand and educational exploration into the art and science behind crafting the world’s finest Bourbon, and one of the Commonwealth’s most popular attractions.
The unique experience features Four Roses and Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg; Heaven Hill in Bardstown; Jim Beam in Clermont; Maker’s Mark in Loretto; Town Branch in Lexington and Woodford Reserve in Versailles.
Heaven Hill Distilleries’ Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, opening fall of 2013 along historic Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville, will be the tour’s eighth official stop.
Go to www.kybourbontrail.com for directions, tour hours, events and more information.
KDA President Eric Gregory thanked Wagner for Lebanon’s longtime support of the Bourbon industry. Maker’s Mark was a founding member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and the Kentucky Cooperage has been making barrels for 100 years.
“Lebanon and Marion County is one of my favorite places to visit, especially during the holidays,” he said. “Downtown Lebanon is decorated like a Norman Rockwell print, and the candlelight tours at Maker’s Mark are incredible.
“Lebanon is filled with history, nightlife and, of course, some of the best Bourbon in the Bluegrass. You won’t want to miss this gem on your Kentucky Bourbon Trail journey.”
Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon, producing 95 percent of the world’s supply, generating $2 billion in gross state product, providing 9,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $415 million and creating $126 million in local and state tax revenue every year.
Visits to Kentucky Bourbon Trail® distilleries broke the half-million mark in 2012 for the first time ever, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. More than 2.5 million people have visited participating distilleries in the last five years alone, Johnson said.
The KDA’s Passport program — which rewards visitors who tour all seven distilleries — also set an all-time high in 2012 with 18,360 completions. That is a 56 percent over 2011 numbers and a 9,614 percent increase since the Passport program started in 2007.
“Kentucky is the only place in the world where visitors can enjoy the one, true authentic Bourbon experience,” Johnson said, “and Lebanon adds much to the Bourbon character of the Commonwealth. It truly is the heart of Kentucky.”
For more information, contact Carla Wagner at (270) 692-0021 or Adam Johnson at (502) 875-9351, mobile (859) 583-0301.
The KDA, a non-profit trade association founded in 1880, is the state’s foremost voice on spirits issues. Members include Beam Inc. (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark), Brown-Forman Corp., Diageo North America, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., and Wild Turkey Distillery.
Craft distillery members include Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery, Barrel House Distilling Co., Corsair Artisan Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, The Old Pogue Distillery, Silver Trail Distillery and The Willett Distillery. Educational members include Distilled Spirits Epicenter.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Bourbon Trail™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Go to www.kybourbon.com and www.kybourbontrail.com for more information. Please drink responsibly.