Buffalo Trace Distillery sets new TOURISM RECORD, exceeds pre-pandemic visitation

Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery. Image: Seth Thompson

The surprises and good vibes just keep rolling along in Bourbon Country.

Buffalo Trace Distillery (Frankfort, KY) announced today a new ALL TIME RECORD was set in 2021 for its distillery visits as 340,000+ guests walked the enchanting hollow grounds of amber.

It’s a 160% increase of visits vs 2020 and a 16% bump up vs 2019 (pre-pandemic). For more perspective, foot traffic is up 556% since 2010.

The Distillery completed a massive expansion of its Visitor Center in 2020 during the onset of the pandemic. The Visitor Center triples the size of the previous Visitor Center and conveniently allows for easier social distancing and provides ample space and comfort for guests exploring the Gift Shop or tasting in the new expansive tasting rooms. But with visitation continuing to grow at pre-pandemic rates, the Distillery is making further adjustments.

To further accommodate the increasing number of guests as they arrive to the Distillery, Buffalo Trace is renovating its historical Freehouse, located in the visitor parking lot into a full welcome center. Over the past year, this space has served as the visitor COVID health and safety check-in. The renovations, which are anticipated to be completed by mid-February 2022, will allow the Distillery to check-in visitors for all activities within the same space by early March. The building will retain its historically significant design features and be updated to support the modern needs of visitors, including reservation check-in and WiFi. Plans also include updated landscaping and murals for photo opportunities for arriving visitors.

“We are thankful that, despite the challenges the last couple of years have brought, our fans continue to feel comfortable at the Distillery and are traveling from all over to visit us,” Director of Homeplace Development, Meredith Moody said. “We look forward to incorporating our new Welcome Center into our visitor operations in the coming months and are excited to welcome even more guests throughout the year.”

Visitation to the Distillery isn’t the only thing growing. Buffalo Trace is continuing to produce even more bourbon, and is making significant progress on its ongoing $1.2 billion distillery expansion to increase production for future bourbon demand.

In step with the increasing bourbon production and number of guests visiting the Distillery is the number of virtual visitors the Distillery is hosting.

Buffalo Trace enhanced its social media based #WhiskeyWednesday series in 2021, to include two new formats, called Trace Talk and Homeplace History. Over the course of the year the campaign reached more than 4.1 million viewers worldwide.

Trace Talk episodes sit down with celebrities and influencers and feature the Distillery’s brands, and has included guests such as NFL Legend Joe Thomas, Olympic medalists Lee Kieffer and Gerek Meinhardt, and comedian Rocky Dale Davis to date. Homeplace History episodes dive into the people, places and events that have shaped Buffalo Trace, featuring a variety of Distillery experts. The #WhiskeyWednesday episodes can be viewed on the Buffalo Trace Distillery FacebookInstagram and YouTube pages.

“Whether virtually or in person, we love sharing our rich history and award-winning products with our guests,” Moody said. “We are continually working to better accommodate our growing number of visitors and are excited to see what 2022 brings.”

How To Book Your Tour & Safety Procedures To Follow

Tours of Buffalo Trace Distillery remain complimentary. In order to better accommodate social distancing, the Distillery is limiting tour group sizes and accepts tour visitors by reservation only. As the number of guests visiting the Distillery has increased, Buffalo Trace has accordingly increased the number of tours and tastings offered, though tours continue to book quickly.  

Registrations for the Trace Tour, Old Taylor Tour, Bourbon Barrel Tour and Expansion Tour can be made at https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/visit-us.html.

All tours are complimentary and include a socially distanced tasting. Operating hours for Buffalo Trace Distillery are 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday. To visit the Distillery’s online gift shop, visit https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/shop.html.

A complete list of safety procedures, along with information about enacted sanitation measures and protective equipment in use can be found here.