Distillery hopping around America: 6 US distilleries you can visit

From rum to moonshine to bourbon, these distilleries offer tours with benefits … you get to try the product.

Martin Kníže / Unsplash

Who doesn’t enjoy a few sips of a fine spirit now and then? If you’re looking for a deeper connection with one of the favorites, check out these six U.S. distilleries that you can visit. From rum to moonshine to bourbon, these distilleries offer tours with benefits … you get to try the product.


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Papa’s Pilar at Hemingway Rum Company

Located in Key West, the Hemingway Rum Company draws its inspiration from the great Ernest Hemingway’s spirit of adventure. This namesake distillery seeks to apply that same vigor towards the making of its rum. Hemingway Rum Company is part tasting room, part trading post, part distillery, part tribute, and wholly an exciting new destination for any rum enthusiast. Tours are offered every hour beginning at 11 AM where you’ll witness production as the company’s 350-gallon Hamilton Pot Still churns out up to 80 gallons per day. But Papa’s Pilar isn’t just a hotspot for rum lovers. Honoring their figurehead, who was once a Key West resident himself, the company employs all local staff. You’re not just satisfying your rum craving at Papa’s Pilar, you’re supporting a local business.

Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 10 am-6 pm
Sunday: 11 am-6 pm
Telephone: (305) 414-8754
www.papaspilar.com

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Traverse City Whiskey Company

Dating back to the late 1800’s, this upstart company is a family run distillery with deep enough roots to rival bourbon manufacturers in Kentucky. Perhaps that’s why it’s called “The Whiskey of the North.” Michigan based, TCWC sources grains from the Midwest to ensure quality products, which visitors can buy at the stillhouse’s gift shop after completing an expansive tour of the distillery, of course. Tours are available weekdays at 2 and 4PM. For those of you wondering: don’t worry, samples are part of the process. If you’re thirsty for more, extend your whiskey experience in downtown Traverse City at the Stillhouse Cocktail Bar.

Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 12 pm-9 pm
Friday-Saturday: 12 pm-11 pm
Sunday: 12 pm-7 pm
Telephone: (231) 922-8292
www.tcwhiskey.com

Ole Smoky Distillery

If you’re curious about moonshine, it’s hard to get more prolific than Ole Smoky. Though Tennessee law just recently allowed for the mass production of moonshine (in 2009), Ole Smoky can trace its origins back to the early settlers of the Smoky Mountains, which means it’s as authentic as the jugs from which it’s sipped. Twenty unique flavors comprise Ole Smoky’s line-up, including White Lightnin’, Moonshine Cherries, and Apple Pie … just to name a few. Enjoy a distillery tour with tastings at either of Ole Smoky’s East Tennessee locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Ole Smoky is soon moving into Nashville’s burgeoning SoBro neighborhood where it’s teaming up with Yee Haw Beer and Music City Roots to open an entertainment venue. Beginning in the fall of 2018, you’ll be able to enjoy a jar of moonshine while watching an intimate performance of the best that the Tennessee’s music scene has to offer.

Hours:
Monday-Saturday 10 am-11 pm
Sunday: 10 am-11 pm
Telephone: (865) 436-6995
www.olesmoky.com

KOVAL

Robert and Sonat Birnecker brought a distillery back to Chicago with the opening of KOVAL in 2008. The first in the city since Prohibition, KOVAL has grown to be one of the country’s leading small batch, craft distilleries winning awards at every turn. Drawing from the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian family, this innovative couple makes organic spirits from scratch using only the “heart” cut of the distillate. The grains are locally sourced, and the entire process is carefully monitored to ensure the finest grain-to-bottle spirits. Learn more about the creation of small batch spirits and observe the process for yourself at KOVAL’s distillery. Tours are given on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with numerous tastings along the way. If you want to learn more, sign up for one of KOVAL’s cocktail classes or whiskey workshops.

Hours:
Monday-Friday: 2 pm-7 pm
Saturday: 1 pm-6:30 pm
Sunday: 2 pm-5 pm
Telephone: (312) 878-7988
www.koval-distillery.com

Four Roses Bourbon

Kentucky Bourbon is legendary, and Four Roses is a legend all its own. Four Roses is one of the famous distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  More than 130 years ago, a young whiskey man, Paul Jones Jr., named his bourbon to commemorate his true love saying “yes” with a corsage of four red roses. Bourbon lovers have been saying yes to Four Roses ever since. Located on the picturesque Salt River in Lawrenceburg, the Four Roses distillery is housed in a Spanish mission-style building, not exactly typical in KentuckyInside you’ll discover the unique characters and flavors of the company’s 10 recipes—all blended by hand. Understand the nuances of the various flavor profiles on the full distillery tour with tastings, which is led by a competent guide on weekdays on the hour from 9AM to 3PM and on Sundays from noon to 3PM.  Alternatively, the “Taste of History” tour provides a discussion on the unique aspects of Four Roses along with the company’s history. Nestled in the quiet Kentucky countryside at Cox’s Creek, the Four Roses Warehouse and Bottling Facility is also open to visitors. Don’t worry, they’ll open a bottle for tasting there too. www.fourrosesbourbon.com

Hours:
Monday-Saturday 9 am-4 pm
Sunday: 12 pm-4 pm
Telephone: (502) 839-3436
www.fourrosesbourbon.com

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort is the granddaddy of all American distilleries. The oldest continuously operating distillery in America, Buffalo Trace has been crafting fine Bourbon for more than 200 years. This family-owned company has weathered floods, fire, tornadoes, and Prohibition to emerge as the most award-winning distillery in the world. Explore the Distillery’s dedication to preserving its authenticity and rich history while producing legendary bourbon on the complimentary “Trace Tour.” Offered hourly Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 4PM and on Sunday from noon to 3PM, the tour begins with a video on the distillery’s history and continues with a walk along the path between the bourbon barrels—take a deep breath and soak in that rich bourbon aroma. The tour concludes with tastings of the award-winning bourbons. Thanks, Grandpa.

Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 9 am-5:30 pm
Sunday: 12 pm-5 pm
Telephone: (502) 696-5926
www.buffalotracedistillery.com

This article first appeared on Travel Squire

 


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