Distilleries Hope Tourists Will Return To Kentucky Bourbon Trail In Spring

By Anna Gallegos

April 5, 2021

Bourbon distillers are confident that business and tourists will return in 2021.

Like in most other industries, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail took a hit during the pandemic. Visitor in 2020 only took 587,307 tours at the 18 distilleries that make up the trail. That was down 66% from 2019.

“Bourbon has become not just a drink, but a culture, a lifestyle and a main economic and tourism driver. All that suffered under COVID," Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory told WLKY in February.

With more people getting the COVID-19 vaccine and spring starting, distillers hope to see tours pick back up.

Not all 18 distilleries are open, but those that are are offering smaller tours for social distancing. Most places require guests to wear masks and book in advance.

Tours at Heaven Hill Distillery in downtown Louisville and Bardstown have been at capacity since March so its owners are thinking about expanding their tours.

"There's a lot more foot traffic on the sidewalk on the weekends, and from my understanding, hotel occupancy is increasing quickly. I feel like we're on a rebirth of downtown Louisville once again," Jeff Crowe of Heaven Hill told the Courier Journal.

Photo: Getty Images

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