The Frazier History Museum, in partnership with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, is proud to announce the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center and Spirit of Kentucky exhibition. Opening August 25 and offering free admission to the general public, the KBT Welcome Center on the first floor of the Frazier will serve as the Official Starting Point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tours.
“The Frazier is in the heart of the Bourbon District of downtown Louisville, Kentucky’s largest urban center,” said Chairman Emeritus of Maker’s Mark Bill Samuels, Jr. “Now that it’s the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, distilleries all around the state will benefit.”
A professional concierge service at the front desk will be on hand to help visitors plan their trips to Bourbon distilleries throughout the Commonwealth, as well as navigating the hot spots of Louisville’s burgeoning Bourbon, culinary and nightlife scenes.
“We get dozens of calls every day from visitors around the world who are planning their Kentucky Bourbon Trail journey and asking where to start,” said KDA President Eric Gregory. “Now, we’ll have the perfect answer: the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center at the Frazier History Museum.”
Also opening is Spirit of Kentucky, a visual guide to the history, craft and culture of the Bourbon industry. Located on the third floor and accessible with the cost of admission, this permanent exhibition will share stories of the people, places and milestones that have made Bourbon the signature product of Kentucky and America’s only native spirit.
“Spirit of Kentucky will offer a new perspective on Bourbon, one that differs from those of individual distilleries,” said Frazier Chairman of the Board J. McCauley “Mac” Brown. “While distilleries tend to focus on their own brands, this exhibit will present a wide-ranging overview of the history of Bourbon.”
Each room will have a theme: the first room, “Enchanted,” will examine how Kentucky’s natural features promote Bourbon-making. On display will be soil and terrain samples, slabs of shale and limestone, maps of Kentucky’s waterways, docks and piers, model replicas of historic river paddle boats and grain silos, stacks of white oak lumber and whiskey barrels, vintage plows and farm equipment, and more.
“Refined” will explore the legacy of Bourbon in mixology, advertising and popular culture, while “Gracious” will highlight the culture of camaraderie among distillers and executives. A dining room table with a digital touch screen surface in the “Gracious” room will serve as a repository of information about Bourbon history, drawing media and content from independent sources and being updated frequently.
Visitors will also get the chance to snap a selfie with a massive bottle collection — one that includes every brand of Bourbon currently being produced in the state of Kentucky.
“The Frazier History Museum is where the world meets Kentucky: the source of 95% of its Bourbon,” said Frazier President Penny Peavler. “With the launch of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center and Spirit of Kentucky exhibition, we at the Frazier want to spotlight Kentucky as the one, true home of Bourbon whiskey — America’s only native spirit.”
Opening day is scheduled to follow the completion of major renovations to the building, including a new vestibule and front entrance with a rooftop garden and park designed by world-renowned landscape artist Jon Carloftis. These changes dovetail with the surge in Bourbon-related tourism along Main Street.
“Louisville has become the epicenter of an authentic Urban Bourbon Experience,” said Karen Williams, President and CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The Frazier’s KBT Welcome Center couldn’t have come at a more spirited time in the city, as Lonely Planet just named Bourbon Country one of the “Top 10 Travel Destinations in the U.S.” for 2018.”
Last year Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour distilleries registered 1,194,233 visits: 940,780 stops at the 10 distilleries on the KBT tour and 253,453 stops at the 13 distilleries on the KBTCT.
“The popularity of Bourbon is a big reason our economy’s experiencing such tremendous growth right now,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “This Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center will help us keep that momentum going by bringing even more people to Louisville and beyond.”
The KBT tour includes Angel’s Envy, Louisville; Bulleit’s Stitzel-Weller Distillery, Louisville; Four Roses, Lawrenceburg and Cox’s Creek; Heaven Hill in Bardstown and its Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Louisville; Jim Beam in Clermont and Louisville; Maker’s Mark, Loretto; Town Branch, Lexington; Wild Turkey, Lawrenceburg; and Woodford Reserve, Versailles.
KBTCT members are Barrel House and Bluegrass Distillers in Lexington; Boone County Distilling, Richwood; Corsair, Bowling Green; Hartfield & Co., Paris; Jeptha Creed, Shelbyville; Kentucky Artisan, Crestwood; Kentucky Peerless, Louisville; Limestone Branch, Lebanon; MB Roland, Pembroke; New Riff, Newport; Old Pogue, Maysville; Wilderness Trail, Danville; and Willett, Bardstown.
Click here to learn more about the Frazier History Museum.