Chasing the Bourbon Trail in Lexington’s Distillery District

I have sporadically been chasing the Lexington side of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and most recently I ventured to one of my favourite distilleries, Woodford Reserve.


Our tour guide Russell had a wonderful slow-burn sense of humour with the right mix of history and technical explanations. There was not a great amount of walking, but you will not be bored into place for long periods.


The distillery is hidden in between neighbouring horse farms and rolling hills on a beautiful property, and a bus will transport you to and from the the main buildings.


It was lovely to learn the history and methodology of the Woodford way, stories about the surrounding area, and the tradition of honouring those who distilled before them.


Staff provides an audio guide with unused headphones, which is appreciated during those loud moments inside the working sites.

And of course you will engage in a bourbon tasting at the end of the tour. After over an hour of inhaling every variation and process of mash and grains, I could hardly wait.


On the way I got a bit lost, but serendipity led me past to the Castle of Versailles, Keeneland, and some awesome craft and artisan centers.



After the tour, I pressed on into Lexington proper. It was my birthday weekend and I had made the trip to Lexington to see friends and a concert, but the day was young.


As soon as I parked downtown, a violent thunderstorm blew in, so I stopped into the nearest restaurant for a late lunch.


Pies & Pints has an incredible Cuban sandwich with smoked pork and ham on toasted garlic butter baguette, mustard vinaigrette, pickles, and cheese. You can also choose antipasto salad instead of fries. P&P carries scores of local and regional craft beers, and the staff is super friendly.


I made a new drinking buddy after he asked to join me at the bar. He schooled me about Lexington locals and how they are all basketball fanatics, in contrast to football fans everywhere else.

We watched the basketball game on tv and had a few beers until the storm blew over, then he suggested I check out Crank & Boom.


Crank & Boom is an ice cream shop in the Distillery District that uses local products to make delicious and booze-infused ice creams. I ordered two scoops- Bourbon + Honey and Coffee Stout, but they had around a dozen or more additional flavours.

They have several specialty desserts and booze float drinks. Absolutely worth the price, which I heard a lot of fuss about. Honey Bourbon and Coffee Stout were my selections.


The Distillery District runs along Manchester Avenue and you can find many other places to eat, party, and chase the bourbon trail. Consider drinks at Ethereal Brewing or tour distilleries like the Barrel House Distillery or Pepper Distillery.

My personal favourite tour was of the Town Branch Distillery, now called Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. The LBDC has the distinction of being the only place on the Bourbon Trail with its own brewery and distillery in the same location. Let me know which ones you like best!

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