Contact Bar

Stateline Whiskey Tour KY / TN

Stateline Whiskey Tour KY / TN

3 Distilleries, 30 Miles, Countless Memories

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

3 Distilleries. 30 Miles. Countless Memories.

Old Glory Distilling Co. (Clarksville, TN), Casey Jones Distillery (Hopkinsville, KY), and MB Roland Distillery (Pembroke, KY) have joined forces to create the Stateline Whiskey Tour. This self guided tour takes you from scenic Hopkinsville, Kentucky to historic Clarksville, Tennessee. Each distillery has its own special story and its own delicious spirits. From Kentucky Bourbon to Tennessee Whiskey, and many other spirit creations in between, you’ll be certain to enjoy a variation from each distillery. You’ll be able to sample the spirits and purchase bottles at each gift shop (hours vary by distillery); even enjoy a delicious cocktail on most days!

Take the tour with each distillery and get your passport stamped at each stop to receive a completion gift (ages 21+) at the final completed distillery tour.

We look forward to your visit!

Meet the Distilleries

Old glory distilling co..

Old Glory Distilling Co. - Clarksville, TN

Casey Jones Distillery

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

MB Roland Distillery

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

What People Are Saying

If you like what we do, tell others.

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

-- Casey Jones: Always a pleasure to visit

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

-- Old Glory: You need to stop here.

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

-- MB Roland: Wonderful place and even better people.

-- casey jones: very friendly and very interesting.

Guide527156

-- MB Roland: This veteran owned distillery is awesome.

-- old glory: the tasting was great.

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

An Insider’s Guide to Touring Kentucky and Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon Distilleries

An overview of the whiskey trails through Tennessee and Kentucky, with recommendations for best tours and visits.

By Stephanie Stewart-Howard on April 20, 2017

The Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Ky., offers "Corn to Cork" tours.

Across the country, microdistilleries are taking off; whether you live in Oregon or Iowa, there’s probably something interesting happening. But the real cradle of whiskey and bourbon in the U.S. remains Tennessee and Kentucky , where the limestone filtered water produces excellent product, and where the history of both dates back to the beginnings of the country. Whiskey around here is an American tradition at least as old and venerated as apple pie – and they take it seriously.

To help you navigate these spirited waters, we’ve put together a primer on bourbon, whiskey, and tips for touring distilleries in Tennessee and Kentucky.

In This Article

What’s the Difference Between Whiskey and Bourbon?

There’s a distinct difference between whiskey and bourbon: In short, all bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbons. In Tennessee and Kentucky, producers must adhere to strict definitions governing whether their labels can read “Tennessee whiskey” or “Kentucky bourbon.” That’s important now especially, as several of the large distilleries have been bought by multinationals, and some of those are now legally challenging those definitions in an effort to take shortcuts to making their beverages. Happily, the traditions in each state are winning the legal battles.

Both products must be aged in new, single-use, charred oak barrels. It’s vital because amber color and the distinctive butterscotch, maple syrup, vanilla and caramel flavors come from that wood, as over the years, the whiskey in the barrel aging expands and contracts with the temperature, seeping into the wood and back out again. A reused barrel won’t have the same power to impart the classic characteristics (though they’re great of aging other products, from beers to rum).

Tennessee whiskey must contain 51 percent corn mash and be free from any artificial colorants or adulterants, as well as be produced in the state. It ages for at least two years, which is why moonshine (white lightening, white dog, pick your term) can’t be classified as whiskey or bourbon – it’s not aged. Many use the so-called “Lincoln County” process, which filters the spirit through a maple charcoal. Kentucky bourbon has very similar requirements, with a minimum of 51 percent corn, blended with rye and malted barley; and of course, it must be made in Kentucky to carry that “Kentucky” label.

When you visit the growing number of distilleries, good tour guides will give you the exact statistics for their individual products, so you have a sense of the real differences – but it’s quickly obvious that taste-testing will tell you what you like best.

Ready to Tour a Whiskey or Bourbon Trail?

If you want to tour the distilleries in both states, major and minor, there’s plenty to experience. Below are some worthwhile stops, as you drive up Interstate 65 from the Alabama border, through Tennessee, to Bluegrass Parkway over to Lexington, KY (with a couple of side trips off I-65 in Tennessee).

Give yourself several days, because while you can absolutely hit five or six in a weekend, you should take more time if you have the luxury. Each stop is a new experience and well worth lingering. Don’t forget to take your favorites home for taste-testing and sipping with friends.

And while it’s always nice to hit the big names like Jack Daniel and Jim Beam, don’t miss the smaller distilleries that have popped up in recent years. You’ll be astonished at your discoveries. Most offer tastings as part of your tour fee, which is fairly inexpensive to tour at most places. Tickets typically range from about $5 to $15 per person and include a tour, tasting and sometimes a souvenir glass.

Lynchburg, TN

Jack Daniel : Lynchburg, TN is a great little town, but it’s a dry county, so don’t look to buy any alcohol except at the distillery itself. The tour is terrific for neophytes especially, who want to learn the basics of Tennessee whiskey. I highly recommend this as a first stop if you’re starting south and driving north, and the town as much as the distillery will delight you. Pure fun.

Prichard’s Distillery : A little off the road in Kelso, TN, Prichard’s is making a really good whiskey, and the rum is no slouch either. Master distiller Phil Prichard is a devotee of classic American styles. Prichard’s also has a new secondary location at Fontanel, just outside Nashville – a good plan if you want to take in a concert at the amphitheater there as well. It may not be a huge name, but it’s a fantastic product line.

Nashville, TN and Bowling Green, KY

Corsair Artisan : Darek and Andrew at Corsair were my first introduction to Nashville’s microdistillery world, and I can’t rave enough about both their Nashville, TN , and Bowling Green, KY, locations. They do several iterations of whiskey and bourbon, and also fantastic vanilla vodka, spiced rum, red absinthe, and a true ginhead-style gin with lots of juniper and citrus.

Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery : The source of Belle Meade Bourbon, Nelson’s is a new take on a family whiskey with a history as rich in Tennessee as Dickel or Daniel. Their product makes the best possible Manhattan, in my opinion, and GM James Hensley is the go-to guy on artisan spirits and cocktails. Tours may need to be arranged in advance, so contact the distillery.

Woodbury, TN

Short Mountain Distillery : You’ll have to drive to small town Woodbury, TN, to visit this one, but they get old school moonshine just right, and they know the old traditions as taught by whiskey runners from back in the day. It’s also a gorgeous drive, heavy on charm.

Versailles, KY

Woodford Reserve : I have bourbon-loving friends who call this one “mecca.” Woodford, owned like JD by Brown-Forman, is a smooth, rich, very drinkable product, with a long and intriguing story behind it. The distillery tour, like Jack Daniel, is a little like the Disney of bourbon, but it’s utterly beautiful country and the history of the place, with its stone buildings and rolling hills, will charm you completely. Watch out for the 18-year-old barrel storage mouser, Elijah. You’ve got to love a distillery that treats its cat so well – and its guests too.

Lexington, KY

Town Branch : Set in the midst of Lexington, KY , this new discovery is now high on my list of favorites. They make a bourbon that sips like an Irish whiskey (thanks to native Irish owner Dr. Pearse Lyons), and they also have a heck of a microbrewery as well, with seven or so options there for the tasting. The modern setting is lovely, with a bit of an Irish pub feel to the tasting room, a hop garden and a few more surprises along the way.

Barrel House : Tiny Barrel House in Lexington, KY is so new they haven’t yet bottled their first bourbon, set in casks six years ago. What they do have is a smooth, devilish moonshine – a lovely corn-based vodka with a hint of sweetness made for sipping, and a luscious oak-barrel aged rum with a butterscotch nose to die for. Their location happens to be Kentucky legend Elijah Pepper’s first bottling house, which seems very fitting.

Lawrenceburg, KY

Four Roses : Your father or grandfather may remember back when the good stuff from Four Roses all went overseas, and all you could get was a mid-level blended whiskey. Those days are gone. Since 2002, Four Roses (owned by the Japanese firm Kirin) has been producing exceptionally good, truly drinkable bourbon. The distillery showcases the original owner’s love of Spanish Mission style, circa 1910, when it was built. Try to go on a Saturday and get Heather Boggs as your tour guide – she might be the best guide I’ve had across both states.

Buffalo Trace : After Four Roses, grab lunch at a local restaurant in the Versailles area, then proceed to nearby Buffalo Trace. Like Woodford and Four Roses, it’s also a National Historic Landmark, and completes your sense of glorious, green, rural distillery locations. It’s set on land where buffalo long ago used to cross the banks of the Kentucky River. Buffalo Trace produces a dozen or so brands, including Blanton’s Single Barrel and Sazerac Rye Whiskey, along with some lesser known but worthy products.

More To Read

Balcony at Ovation

The Best of Riverfront Living Is Coming to Newport, KY 

Incline Theater in Cincinnati

Duke Energy Promotes Urban Revitalization in Northern Kentucky

Wedding at Receptions Inc. event space

Receptions Inc. Takes Stress Out of Event Planning

Newsletter sign up.

Keep up to date with our latest rankings and articles! Enter your email to be added to our mailing list.

  • Beam Family Distilling
  • Beam Made Bourbon
  • Genuine Sustainability
  • FIND YOUR WHISKEY
  • Book a Tour
  • The Kitchen Table Restaurant
  • Distillery Events
  • Plan an Event in Clermont
  • Sign Up for Barreled & Boxed ®
  • Come See Us

JOIN US AT OUR HOME, THE DISTILLERY.

Plan your visit by time, price or experience. Must be 21+ for tasting experiences. Questions? See our FAQs .

“During July and December – the James B. Beam Distillery typically schedules maintenance and some areas along the tour path may not be accessible due to safety.”

Powered by AnyRoad

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Maps

Some of the most asked questions answered right here.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOURS?

The James B. Beam Distilling Co. is open Wednesday-Sunday 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. EST. Our on-campus restaurant, The Kitchen Table, is open Wednesday-Saturday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. We are currently CLOSED on MONDAYS and TUESDAYS. Visit https://www.beamdistilling.com/book-a-tour to check availability and book your experience.

WHERE IS THE JAMES B. BEAM DISTILLING CO. LOCATED?

Just 30 minutes from Louisville, our distillery is at 568 Happy Hollow Rd Clermont, KY 40110 .

WHAT ABOUT TOURS FOR LARGE GROUPS?

For tour groups larger than 24, go to contact us and select Visiting the Distillery, and a member of our event team will return your message shortly.

WHAT TIME ZONE IS THE DISTILLERY LOCATED IN?

What is included in the main distillery tour, are other tours offered.

A full list of our tours and experiences are at the top of this page.

ARE RESERVATIONS REQUIRED?

We strongly recommended booking your tours in advance online. That way you can guarantee your spot and preferred tour time. You can make your booking at the top of this page.

WHEN SHOULD I ARRIVE FOR MY TOUR?

How long are the tours.

Plan on spending 2-3 hours at the distillery for our Beam Made Bourbon tour and tasting with a little time to visit the gift shop after. Our other tours and experiences vary in length, which you can see at the top of this page .

ARE THERE ANY TIMES DURING THE YEAR THAT YOU AREN’T IN FULL PRODUCTION MODE?

Is the james b. beam distilling co and tour ada compliant, do you allow pets, can i take pictures while i’m on a tour, do you offer military discounts, what is your refund and cancellation policy, is there a dress code, is the james b. beam distilling co. closed on holidays, if i purchase a bottle of bourbon at the gift shop, can i have it shipped to me, can i host my wedding or special event at the distillery.

We have a newly renovated venue on our grounds - ready for your special event. Go to contact us and select Visiting the Distillery, and a member of our event team will return your message shortly.

DOES THE JAMES B. BEAM DISTILLING CO. ALLOW SMOKING?

Where do i find info on special events at the distillery.

New events and all the details are coming soon. Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to find out about them.

DO YOU HAVE A RESTAURANT AT THE DISTILLERY?

You must be of legal drinking age to enter.

Select your location

Beam Distilling encourages responsible drinking. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. By entering this website, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy .

  • Destinations
  • Winery Directory

15 Best Tennessee Whiskey Distilleries & Tours for 2024

Best Whiskey Distilleries and Tennessee Whiskey Tours

Best Tennessee Whiskey Distilleries & Whiskey Tours for 2024

Chris Stapleton sang about it for a reason. Tennessee whiskey is some of the smoothest and richest on the market, and on top of incredible barbeque and some of the greatest musical artists the United States has ever known – like Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin – it’s one of the state’s many pride and joys.

There are a million and one reasons to visit the great Volunteer State, but whatever your occasion is, you can’t go wrong with adding a stop or two along Tennessee’s phenomenal whiskey trail to your trip.

On top of famous whiskey labels like Jack Daniel’s that have won the world over, there are dozens of distilleries in the state with their own stories just waiting to be uncovered. If you’re looking at adding a little local culture to your trip, then keep reading for our list of the best whiskey distilleries in Tennessee.

Picture of Tennessee whiskey with an ice cube

Jack Daniel Distillery: The Oldest Whiskey Distillery in Tennessee

Winetraveler Rating:

133 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN 37352

(931) 759-6357

Let’s begin our journey with the obvious: if you’re adding a distillery visit and whiskey tasting to your trip to the Volunteer State, then it ought to include Jack Daniel’s. Established in historic Lynchburg way back in 1866, this iconic stop on the whiskey trail is the oldest registered distillery in the country.

Luckily for you fellow whiskey lovers out there, Jack Daniel Distillery offers tours seven days a week, and being equal parts history and whiskey, taking the drive down to Lynchburg will give you one of the best distillery tours in the state. If you’d prefer to avoid driving and would like a private, guided experience in a comfortable vehicle, arrange a tour direct to the distillery from Nashville .

Who would have thought the country’s most popular whiskey and its world-famous black and white label would have grown to fame and fortune in one of Tennessee’s last dry counties?

Nashville Barrel Company Distillery and Whiskey Bar

809 Heathcote Ave, Nashville, TN 37210

(615) 891-1046

There is a ton of fun to be had in Nashville, and yes, as wild as the honky tonks are, much of the fun can be found off Broadway and away from downtown’s neon lights. If you’re taking a trip to Music City and are looking for something to wash down that hot chicken, then this is the stop for you.

Even though this Nashville spot is quite young – only opening its doors in 2018 – cofounders James Davenport and Mike Hinds lead their operation with their unique cocktail of ingenuity, experience, and vision. Curious to taste some of their award-winning spirits? Nashville Barrel Co. offers flights, premium tastings, and more. If you’re looking for a more intimate tasting experience at one of the best distilleries in Tennessee, you can schedule a private tour at their Nashville location as well.

Recommended: Consider taking our recommended guided craft distillery tour along the Tennessee whiskey trail and leave the driving to someone else. You’ll meet at a central location in downtown Nashville, and all distillery entrance fees are included.

Ole Smoky Distillery

423 6th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

(615) 647-8272

Every time we get an itch to head back down to Music City, we always head to the Ole Smoky location on 6th and Peabody right after dropping off our bags. Not only do they make some of the best moonshine in Tennessee, but their Nashville location hosts a fun bar serving all the live country music and hot chicken that you would expect. From what we’ve heard, the Ole Smoky Pigeon Forge distillery is a pretty great time too.

Make no mistake though. Just because Ole Smoky specializes in flavored moonshine doesn’t mean they don’t distill some amazing whiskey as well. Their barrelhouse distillery in Gatlinburg makes some of the best whiskey and moonshine in Tennessee, complete with group tastings.

Old Forge Distillery

170 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 774-4126

We mentioned Pigeon Forge in the last section, and even though that town is mostly for tourists, they do have some great whiskey, including the Old Forge Distillery. Located in Old Mill Square, this Pigeon Forge distillery is a historic icon and has one of the oldest continually operated gristmills in the country.

Like Ole Smokey, the folks at Old Forge produce and serve a wide variety of different spirits. Bourbon is what made them famous, but if that’s not what you’re in the mood for, they offer several other award-winning drinks, such as vodka, cream liqueurs, their famous 1830 moonshine, and more.

Cascade Hollow Distilling Co.

1950 Cascade Hollow Rd, Tullahoma, TN 37388

(931) 408-2410

Cascade Hollow might not sound too familiar, but if you’re a bourbon lover like most of us are at Winetraveler, then their signature product, George Dickel, certainly ought to. When it comes to whiskey distilleries in Tennessee, Cascade Hollow is one of the most famous out there, so making a trip out to their Tullahoma location is absolutely worth your while.

George Dickel’s successors still make their bourbon in honor of their founder’s vision, and your guide can fill you in on all the steps they go through to make their Tennessee whiskey “mellow as moonlight.” Add some ice, pour some bitters, drink it neat, whatever you want; but George Dickel deserves to be enjoyed during your trip down the Whiskey Trail .

Leiper’s Fork Distillery

3381 Southall Rd, Franklin, TN 37064

(615) 465-6456

Among all of the whiskey distilleries in Tennessee, this gem in Franklin is one of our personal favorites. Maybe it’s because we’re history lovers, but there is something so inspiring about their dedication to the age-old distilling methods that Tennessee’s original Irish and Scottish settlers used. A trip to Franklin itself is worth it, but once you’re there, stop by the distillery for a glass or tasting to see what makes Leiper’s Fork so authentic and beautiful.

They also host monthly live music events called still house sessions. If you haven’t gotten enough whiskey or live music during your trip to Tennessee, then there aren’t many better ways to experience both at the same time.

Best Tennessee Whiskey Tours

Tennessee whiskey tours

In addition to the whiskey tours we mentioned previously, there are several others that are ideal if you’d prefer not to worry about the logistics of planning or driving.

Nashville to Jack Daniel’s Distillery Bus Tour with Whiskey Tastings

Our most highly-rated tour, step into the storied world of Tennessee whiskey with Tennessee Whiskey Tours . Depart from Nashville and immerse yourself in whiskey history as you journey to the iconic Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Here, you’ll embark on an intimate tasting experience, savoring several premier Tennessee whiskeys that celebrate the spirit of the Volunteer State. But the experience extends beyond the barrel. You’ll also enjoy ample free time to meander through the charming town nearby, known for its Tennessee Walking Horse. Wander the quaint streets of downtown Lynchburg, find a cozy spot for lunch, and indulge in a bit of shopping. With Tennessee Whiskey Tours, you’re invited to bring your own beverages for the ride, stashing them in the on-board cooler for added convenience. This is more than a distillery tour – it’s a Tennessee adventure.

Wine Me, Shine Me, Dine Me

Immerse yourself in the rich traditions of Tennessee’s spirited beverages with Smoky Tours. This Pigeon Forge Wine, Whiskey, and Moonshine Tour seamlessly blends the cultural history of Appalachia with the flavors of the region, all without the need to worry about transportation. Kick off your adventure at a centrally located meeting point in Pigeon Forge before setting out to explore two prominent local distilleries. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a diverse array of vodka, moonshine, and whiskey that capture the essence of Tennessee’s spirited history. But the experience isn’t all hard liquor – you’ll also get a taste of Tennessee’s wine offerings after relishing an included lunch. With its concise duration, this tour offers a hearty helping of Tennessee culture and leaves you ample time for your evening plans. Let Smoky Tours take you on a spirited journey through Pigeon Forge.

Nashville’s Premier Distillery & Craft Brewery Bus Tour with Tastings

Experience the flavors of Nashville like a local with The Ville Tours . This specialty tour introduces you to an impressive array of local brews and spirits through engaging tastings at the city’s distinguished distilleries and breweries. Take the stress out of navigating public transport as VIP transfers whisk you from one location to the next, allowing you to focus on the flavors. You’ll stop at 3–4 distinct locations where you’ll have the chance to sample the craftsmanship that goes into making beers, bourbons, moonshine, and vodka. With this tour, you’re not just tasting – you’re also learning about the craft and passion behind every bottle. Savor the taste of Nashville and leave the logistics to The Ville Tours.

Downtown Nashville Walking Food Tour

Take a break from distillery hopping and unearth the authentic taste of Music City on this guided culinary journey, operated by A Little Local Flavor . As you meander through Nashville’s iconic landmarks, such as Broadway, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, and Printers Alley, you’ll also delve into the city’s rich history. Savor quintessential Southern delights ranging from the infamous Nashville hot chicken and BBQ to locally brewed beer, served at the city’s beloved eateries. This tour presents the perfect opportunity to blend culinary exploration with Nashville’s vibrant culture, making it a must-do experience for food enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Included in the tour are lunch and two alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, our guides are more than happy to offer their local insights and recommendations to enhance your Nashville journey. Meet us at a conveniently located central spot to begin your food-filled adventure!

Tennessee Big Machine Distillery Guided Tour with Tastings

Delve into the art of spirit production with the Big Machine Store & Distillery’s immersive tour , located in the heart of downtown Nashville. Witness the crafting of an array of spirits such as vodka, whiskey, gin, and moonshine, and learn about the unique filtration process that results in their specially crafted vodka. This tour is an ideal experience for both foodies and spirits enthusiasts, offering a rich understanding of traditional Southern spirits. Participants can indulge in a tasting flight of Tenn South spirits and a crafted cocktail, deepening their appreciation for the craft. The opportunity to purchase spirits and merchandise as mementos of this engaging experience is also available.

Famous Moonshine & Wine Tour From Pigeon Forge

Embark on a half-day journey through Tennessee’s rich liquor heritage, operated by Tennessee Mountain Tours . Discover the intriguing history of moonshine and prohibition in the region, as well as gain insight into local breweries and distilleries from your well-versed guide. Enjoy a visit to multiple moonshine distilleries and wineries, with potential stops including Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, Hillside Winery, Smith Creek Moonshine, Mountain Valley Winery, or Tennessee XXX Moonshine. This small-group tour allows for an intimate, insider’s perspective into Tennessee’s spirited culture, offering complimentary tastings and a free gift from local wineries. Transportation for pick-up and drop-off from Pigeon Forge is provided, making this an effortless way to dive into the region’s famous drinkable delights.

Nashville Combo Tour: Sightseeing, Murals, and Brewery

Nashville tour on a golf cart

Immerse yourself in the diverse offerings of Nashville with a unique, small-group combo tour operated by Joyride Tours, LLC . This well-rounded tour allows you to experience a comprehensive view of the city, from iconic landmarks such as the Tennessee State Capitol and the renowned honky-tonk bars, to the city’s Instagram-worthy murals, all from the comfort of a golf cart. Further, you’ll get to explore the local spirit scene with tastings of locally brewed moonshine, whiskey, and vodka in two distilleries. With a cap of only seven participants, this tour ensures a personalized experience, introducing you to local hotspots while covering a plethora of sights efficiently.

Barbecue, Beer & Bourbon: Nashville Adventure

Experience the ‘Music City’ from a different perspective on a food and drink tasting tour operated by MJT Nashville LLC . While Nashville is renowned for its music, it’s equally celebrated for its BBQ and brew culture. This specialty tour lets you immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant food scene by visiting three of Nashville’s hottest spots where you’ll sample craft beer, local bourbons, smoked meats, and exquisite whiskeys. The tour culminates with an exclusive insight into the Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. Move beyond the typical tourist track and explore the city’s food and drink scene like a local, accompanied by captivating stories that weave the rich tapestry of Tennessee’s iconic city.

Private Whiskey Nashville Jack and Back Tour

Dive deep into the world of the renowned Jack Daniels whiskey with the exclusive tour provided by Legendary Tours . For over 145 years, this illustrious liquor has been a staple of Tennessee, and this tour enables you to explore the rich history and unique production methods behind the famous brand. Forego the stress of arranging transportation and enjoy a lavish ride in a private limo bus, straight to the Jack Daniels Distillery. Wander through the Visitor Center and Bottle Shop, learning about the distinctive Lincoln County Process of whiskey making, all while sampling some of the finest Jack Daniels offerings. With this tour, not only will you enjoy whiskey tastings, but also partake in interesting discussions about whiskey production and uncover insider secrets that add a fascinating layer to your experience.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tennessee Whiskey Distilleries

What is considered to be the best tennessee whiskey.

Tennessee whiskey is best known for its two biggest brands: Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel. Among these, Jack Daniel’s, particularly Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, is arguably the most iconic and widely recognized Tennessee whiskey globally. However, if we’re talking about the “best” Tennessee whiskey in terms of quality and prestige, the conversation often turns towards more premium offerings. For example, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select is often highly rated for its complexity and richness. George Dickel also has high-end variants, like their Barrel Select, which is lauded for its smooth and sophisticated flavor profile. Outside these well-known distilleries, newer establishments like Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery are gaining recognition. Their Belle Meade Bourbon, though not technically a Tennessee whiskey due to not following the Lincoln County Process, has received several awards and accolades for its quality. As with any spirit, the “best” Tennessee whiskey often comes down to individual taste preferences, so it’s always a good idea to explore a variety of offerings and find what suits your palate the best.

What is the oldest whiskey distillery in Tennessee?

The title of the oldest registered distillery in Tennessee (and the United States, for that matter) goes to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, located in Lynchburg. Founded by Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel in 1866, the distillery is recognized for its charcoal-mellowed Tennessee Whiskey, a process known as the Lincoln County Process. However, it’s worth noting that distilling in Tennessee dates back to well before Jack Daniel’s establishment. For instance, settlers were producing whiskey in the region as early as the late 18th century. But as for legally registered and continuously operating distilleries, Jack Daniel’s holds the title.

How many distilleries are on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail?

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail, a project by the Tennessee Distillers Guild, consists of about 30 distilleries across the state of Tennessee. These distilleries vary in size and style, from large, globally recognized brands like Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel to craft distilleries. The trail was designed to connect these distilleries and provides visitors with a deep dive into the history, tradition, and novelty of Tennessee whiskey.

You are reading “Best Tennessee Whiskey Distilleries and Whiskey Tours to Experience” Back To Top

distilleries near me to taste, whiskey tours near me, whiskey tasting, Tennessee whiskey trail, Tennessee whiskey tours

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to register on Winetraveler.com for free to interact with the community and for travel inspiration around the world, and be sure to follow along with us on Instagram and Twitter . 

Get Articles Like These Directly in Your Inbox!

Subscribe to Winetraveler and receive notifications when new travel guides and itineraries are published. It's free!

Email Address

Sign Me Up!

Login to view more Articles

Leave a comment, ask a question or share a review cancel reply, you might also like, best walla walla wineries, wine tours & tastings 2024, 14 romantic winter travel destinations in the usa, best wineries in new mexico to visit in 2024, best columbia river gorge wineries to visit in 2024, 11 seriously awesome u.s. road trips you can take right now, 10 top us national parks to visit during the winter, 35 best napa wineries & wine tasting tours for 2024, wineries nearby, weis vineyards, adelsheim vineyard, daou vineyards & winery, tunnel creek vineyards, cheers to free membership.

Explore new paths. Travel expertise from locals and wine industry experts.

Get free access to all the goods:

  • Exclusive articles
  • In-depth itineraries
  • …and more

Jack's birthdate has always been a mystery. Hopefully yours isn't.

This site uses cookies. Cookie Policy . I agree to the terms of use , and the privacy policy . This information will not be used for marketing purposes.

Do not check this box if you use a shared computer.

Access Denied

You must be of legal drinking age to enter this site.

Live Freely. Drink Responsibly.

  • Accessibility
  • Sustainable Stewardship
  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy

DO NOT SELL OR SHARE MY DATA

JACK DANIEL DISTILLERY LYNCHBURG, TENNESSEE

JACK, JACK DANIEL'S, OLD NO. 7, JD, GENTLEMAN JACK, JACK HONEY, JACK FIRE, and COUNTRY COCKTAILS

are registered trademarks of Jack Daniel's Properties, Inc. © 2024.

All rights reserved. 

All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION, VISIT RESPONSIBILITY.ORG AND OURTHINKINGABOUTDRINKING.COM

Please do not share or forward with anyone under the legal drinking age.

Jack Daniel's Logo

SELECT YOUR REGION AND LANGUAGE

Visit the distillery, choose your experience, tours daily: 9am-4:30pm cst, closed new year's eve and new year's day, martin luther king jr day, easter sunday, thanksgiving day, christmas eve and christmas day. military and senior (65+) discounts available.

Your safety and the safety of our staff and employees is our primary concern. Please be aware the operational status, modified experiences, and accessibility to the Jack Daniel Distillery, Visitor Center, Lynchburg Hardware & General Store, Barrel Shop, and Miss Mary Bobo's Restaurant may change with little to no notice.

Distillery Tours

The angel's share.

After experiencing our Distillery, you’ll head to the tasting room in the historic George Green Barrel House and taste whiskey drawn from individual barrels, an honor that was once reserved exclusively for our distillers and tasters.

Length: 1 hr 30 min $35

The Flight of Jack Daniel's

Along with a behind-the-scenes look at how we make Jack Daniel’s, this experience includes a memorable stop at the historic George Green Barrel House, where you’ll sip a flight of five Jack products.

Length: 1 hr 30 min $30

The Dry County

This experience offers an informative, behind-the-scenes glimpse into Jack’s whiskey making process, and is overflowing with Distillery stories.

Length: 1 hr 10 min $25

Bonded Tour

The Bottled-In-Bond Act Set the bar--We’ve raised It. We’ve been making exceptional American whiskey since before the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. Our two new whiskeys nod to that heritage by celebrating our innovation in craftsmanship.

Join us as we explore the production and creation of our two new bonded whiskeys; Jack Daniel’s Bonded and Triple Mash.

Cost - $75 per person

Before your tour group sees the Distillery, we snap a quick photo to commemorate your visit. If you’ve been to Lynchburg lately, you may find your picture here.

Scenic States

The 10 Best Distilleries on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail

' src=

Touring Tennessee whiskey distilleries is a great way to learn about Tennessee whiskey: how it’s produced, who produces it, and of course, what it tastes like.

Whiskey production has long been part of Tennessee tradition, ever since Scottish and Irish immigrants moved to Tennessee and brought their distilling practices with them.

The prohibition movement happened, though, and the Tennessee whiskey industry was badly hit. Even though Prohibition was lifted, only Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel were able to reopen and rebuild.

Tennessee legislation eventually changed and there are now around thirty distilleries in the state. The Tennessee Whiskey Trail was established to promote these distilleries as well as Tennessee whiskey culture.

In this article, let’s take a look at the Tennessee Whiskey Trail and the best distilleries on the trail.

What is the Tennessee Whiskey Trail?

Inspired by the Kentucky Bourbon Trail , the Tennessee Whiskey Trail is a selection of 26 Tennessee whiskey distilleries ranging from boutique-sized distilleries to huge international operations that are producing a variety of whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, rum, moonshine, and of course, Tennessee Whiskey.

Launched in 2017, it’s a monumental joint effort by the Tennessee Distillers Guild to promote Tennessee whiskey: the history, culture, art, and people involved in whiskey-making.

Along the way, visitors get to experience Tennessee: beautiful landscapes, historic landmarks, and Southern charm.

What Is Tennessee Whiskey?

Before you explore Tennessee whiskey distilleries, here’s a brief explainer of some of the products you’ll encounter.

Whiskey , in general, is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from a fermented grain mash that is aged in oak barrels.

The differences among whiskeys lie in the types of grain and the proportions of each grain used in the mash, the distilling process, the type of wood used in the aging barrels, and many other aspects of its production.

Bourbon is whiskey made in the USA, made from mash that’s at least 51% corn, aged in new charred white oak barrels, and had no additional coloring or flavoring.

Tennessee whiskey is whiskey made in the USA filtered through sugar maple charcoal before aging in a process called the Lincoln County Process.

Moonshine , affectionately called “white lightning,” is a clear, unaged whiskey with at least 80% corn base and extremely high alcohol content. It got its name from its illegal origins during Prohibition (made under cover of night, in the moonlight) but is now being produced legally.

Top 10 Distilleries on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail

Distilleries in middle tennessee.

Middle Tennessee offers a mix of urban and small-town experiences, and the distilleries in this area reflect that as well.

From distilleries producing internationally known brands to small craft distilleries, you’ll have plenty of options to enjoy a sip of Tennessee whiskey.

If you’re already planning to go to Nashville for a weekend , you can set aside one day or half a day to tour Nashville distilleries.

There are tour companies right in Nashville offering whiskey tours that take you through Nashville distilleries. Check out Tennessee Whiskey Experience by Tennessee Whiskey Tours, or Tennessee Whiskey Trail Tours by Mint Julep Experiences. You can also plan your own Nashville distillery itinerary with Whiskey Trail Tours .

Here are the can’t-miss distilleries in Middle Tennessee.

1. Jack Daniel Distillery

Jack Daniel Distillery

If you can only visit a single Tennessee whiskey distillery on your trip, make it this one.

Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey is one of the most recognizable whiskey bottles in the world, and it’s made in the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg. Founded in 1866, it’s the very first registered distillery in the US.

This is where the so-called Lincoln County Process originated, and there’s simply nowhere better to learn about it than here.

The Distillery may be the main attraction here, but you don’t want to miss local Lynchburg favorites such as Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House and Restaurant and the Lynchburg Hardware & General Store, where Jack Daniel’s memorabilia are sold.

Essential Information Location: 133 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN | 931-759-6357 Products: Tennessee Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Flavored Whiskey Hours: Mon–Sun 9am–4:30pm; closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day Tours: Mon–Sat 9am–4:30pm; Sun: 11am–4:30pm; closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday Duration: The Dry County Tour: 1 hour 10 minutes; The Flight of Jack Daniel’s Tour: 1 hour 30 minutes; The Angel’s Share Tour: 1 hour 30 minutes; The Taste of Lynchburg: 3 hours Cost: The Dry County Tour: $15 per head; The Flight of Jack Daniel’s Tour: $25 per head; The Angel’s Share Tour (recommended): $30 per head; The Taste of Lynchburg: $125 Website: Jack Daniel Distillery

2. George Dickel Cascade Hollow Distillery

George Dickel Distillery

Hidden away in Cascade Hollow, surrounded by 600 protected acres of forest and crystal-fresh springs, the Cascade Hollow Distillery produces George Dickel Cascade Tennessee Whisky just as it has been made in 1878: Handmade the Hard Way.

Note that they spell whisky the Scottish way, without the “e.”

Today, they offer unaged whisky (No.1), flavored whisky (Tabasco Brand Barrel Finish), and of course, their flagship product, the Classic No. 8 Tennessee sour mash whisky.

Essential Information Location: 1950 Cascade Hollow Rd, Tullahoma, TN 37388 | 931-857-4110 Products: Tennessee Whisky, Rye Whisky, White Corn Whisky, Flavored Whisky Tours: Fri–Sat 9:30am–4pm; Sun: 11:30am–4pm; tastings and cocktail sales end at 3:15pm Duration: 1 hr 30 minutes Cost: $14 per head; additional whiskeys +$20 per head; additional boxed lunch (choice of chicken salad, charcuterie platter, or vegetarian dish) +$17 Website: George Dickel

3. Prichard’s Distillery

Prichard’s Distillery handcrafts their American distilled spirits in small batches, with their quality rums and whiskeys being distilled in copper pots, a technique that has been around for more than a hundred years, and stored in charred white oak barrels.

Small-batch distilling means stricter, more hands-on quality control by the master distiller, resulting in flavors that are human-approved.

Their Tennessee whiskey is the only Tennessee whiskey labeled as such to not to undergo the Lincoln County Process, due to an exemption in the law.

The first Prichard’s Distillery location was opened in 1999 by owner and master distiller Phil Prichard, a descendant of Benjamin Prichard who opened and operated Prichard’s Distillery back in 1825.

Essential Information Location: 11 Kelso Smithland Road, Kelso, TN 37348 | 931-433-5454 Products: Rum, Flavored Liqueurs, Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, Malt Whiskey, Rye Whiskey Hours: Mon–Fri 9am–3:30pm; Sat 9am–2:30pm; Sun closed Cost: Tours and tastings: Free Website: Prichard’s Distillery

4. H Clark Distillery

H Clark Distillery

If Jack Daniel, George Dickel, and Benjamin Prichard are Tennessee whiskey legends, H Clark Distillery is one of the new players.

H Clark Distillery is a small-batch distillery that opened in 2014, making it the first legal distillery in Williamson County in over 100 years.

Their spirits are produced in the old town Granary, the same building local farmers used to store grains before loading them into trains for export.

Essential Information Location: 1557 Thompson’s Station Rd W, Thompson’s Station, TN37179 | 615-478-2191 Products: Tennessee Bourbon, Dry Gin, Heirloom, Tennessee Black & Tan, Tennessee Rye Hours: Mon–Fri 10am–5pm; Sat 12pm–5pm; Sun 12pm–4pm; Tours: Mon–Fri 11am–4pm; Sat 12pm–4pm; Start every hour on the hour Cost: Guided tours: Free; Tastings: $10 per head Website: H Clark Distillery

5. Leiper’s Fork Distillery

Leiper's Fork Distillery

Leiper’s Fork Distillery is another new player in the Tennessee whiskey industry, aiming to bring back the history and heritage of small-batch production.

Opened in 2016 by Lee and Lynlee Kennedy, they only use local grains and limestone-filtered water to create their signature products.

The retail shop and tasting room are housed in a log home originally built in 1829.

Make sure to visit the distillery on the last Friday of the month to catch a Still House Session, featuring a food truck, drink options, and local songwriters and artists.

Essential Information Location: 3381 Southall Rd, Franklin, TN 37064 | 615-465-6456 Products: Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey, Single Barrel Tennessee Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, White Whiskey Hours: Tue 10:30am–5pm; Wed–Sat 9:30am–5pm; Sun 11:30am–5pm; Mon closed Tours: Tue 11am–5pm; Wed–Sat 9:30am–5pm; Sun 11:30am–6pm; Mon closed; Start every 90 minutes Duration: Leiper’s Fork Distillery Tour: 45 minutes to one hour Cost: Leiper’s Fork Distillery Tour: $18 per head; Distiller’s Tour: $45 per head, must be 10 people or more; Tastings: $15 per head; Still House Sessions: general admission: $35 per head; VIP experience: $65 per head. Website: Leiper’s Fork Distillery

Distilleries in East Tennessee

Eastern Tennessee is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood Amusement Park, bluegrass music, and moonshine. When laws relaxed in 2009, Tennessee Moonshiners of the Great Smoky Mountains came out of the woods to share their once-secret batches with the public in craft distilleries.

Local brewers and distillers talk about moonshine, as well as their relatives and ancestors who made moonshine with pride, not minding moonshine’s illicit origins. For them, moonshine is part of their family history and legacy.

Nowadays, distilleries in East Tennessee aren’t just producing moonshine; there are a variety of whiskey products, spirits, and even flavors to choose from.

Here are some of the distilleries in East Tennessee that you need to visit to know more about moonshine culture.

6. Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery

Chattanooga Whiskey

Opened in 2015 right in the heart of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery is the first legal distillery in Chattanooga in over 100 years.

With over 200 barrels containing over 100 recipes in their cellars, every visit to their Experimental Distillery provides a glimpse of the past, present, and future of Chattanooga-crafted whiskey.

Distillery tours include a history lesson of distilling in Chattanooga, a peek into their manufacturing process, a visit to their barrel room, and a taste test in their tasting room.

See if you can try their Tennessee High Malt straight bourbon whiskey.

Essential Information Location: 1439 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402 | 423-760-4333 Products: Straight bourbon, American whiskey Hours: Guided tours and whiskey tastings: Mon–Sat 12pm–8pm, Sun 12pm–5pm; Retail Bottle Shop: Mon–Sat 11am–9pm, Sun 11am–6pm; Whiskey Cocktail Lounge: Fri–Sat 8:30pm–late Duration: Tour and tasting: 1 hour Cost: $12 per head Website: Chattanooga Whiskey

7. Old Forge Distillery

Old Forge Distillery is nestled on the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains creating small-batch Tennessee spirits using pure mountain spring water and grains that are ground on The Old Mill, one of the oldest continually operated gristmills in the country.

Their flavored moonshines are inspired by flavors from kitchens across the Old Mill Square as well as the Old Mill Candy Kitchen and Creamery.

Sample up to 8 of them for free in their moonshine sample bar.

But Old Forge Distillery is more than just moonshine. They now have plenty of other product offerings, including rum, vodka, bourbon, gin, and flavored cream liqueur.

Old Forge Distillery combines history with innovation.

For a neat side trip, Dollywood is 2 miles away. This Dolly Parton-themed amusement park is actually on our list of the best amusement parks in the country .

Essential Information Location: 170 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN | 865-774-4126 Products: Moonshine, Rum, Vodka, Bourbon, Gin, Cream Liqueur Hours: Mon–Sat 10am–9pm, Sun 11am–6pm Cost: Free tastings; no guided tour Website: Old Forge Distillery

8. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine: The Barrelhouse

Ole Smokey Barrelhouse

Ole Smoky’s roots can be traced back to the early settlers of the Great Smoky Mountains, and their moonshine is known for its authenticity and artistry.

Ole Smoky has multiple locations, and the Barrelhouse location specializes in whiskey. Ole Smoky Whiskey is aged in hand-picked white oak barrels, and the Barrelhouse is where you can experience their straight whiskey as well as flavored whiskeys.

If you’d like to sample their classic product moonshine, you can visit their original moonshine distillery, The Holler , just walking distance away from the Barrelhouse, or The Barn in Pigeon Forge.

Gatlinburg itself is a great mountain town to explore . Go in the fall to make your visit extra special with some of the most beautiful fall foliage you’ll ever see.

Essential Information Location: 650 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | 865-436-6995 Products: Moonshine, Flavored Whiskey Hours: Mon–Sun 10am–11pm Cost: Tours: Free, self-guided; Tastings: $5 per head Website: Ole Smoky Whiskey Barrelhouse

9. Sugarlands Distilling Company

Sugarlands Distilling Company pride themselves on having one foot in tradition and the other foot in innovation.

Sugarlands opened its distillery in March 2014 to distill its flagship Sugarlands Shine moonshine products, as well as the Roaming Man Straight Rye Whiskey and their Sippin’ Cream cream liqueurs.

They’ve also partnered with the Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners Legends to produce their recipes and with Nascar to produce a limited edition line.

The Sugarlands Still House is open for tours, tastings, and live music, providing their visitors an authentic Tennessee distilling experience.

Essential Information Location: 805 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | 865-325-1355 Products: Moonshine, Rye Whiskey, Rum, Cream Liqueur Tours: Mon–Sun 10am–10:30pm; closed Christmas Day Cost: Still House Guided Tour: Free; Tasting plus $5 voucher for an in-store purchase: $5; Cocktail from the Cocktail Kitchen: $6; Blended Cocktails Tour: $12 Website: Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Distilleries in West Tennessee

Located between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers, West Tennessee is famous for its iconic artists, unique outdoor experiences, and historic landmarks.

If Nashville is known as Music City and East Tennessee is known for bluegrass, Memphis is known as the home of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll.

Here is the only distillery in West Tennessee (hopefully not the last).

10. Old Dominick Distillery

Old Dominick Whiskey was founded in 1866 by Domenico Canale, and in 1880, the Dominick Toddy was born. Prohibition came and went, Domenico Canale passed away, and the recipe was lost in time.

When an unopened bottle of Old Dominick Toddy was discovered in 2013, Chris and Alex Canale, Domenico’s great-great-grandchildren, planned to open a world-class distillery in Domenico’s honor.

In 2016, they produced the first legal batch of Tennessee whiskey in Memphis since the Prohibition.

Today, Old Dominick Distillery is a 100-year-old, 50,000-square-foot building complex with a whiskey distillery, tasting room, retail spirits shop, meeting and event space, and a bar and restaurant on the rooftop.

Essential Information Location: 305 South Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103 | 901-260-1250 Products: Tennessee Whiskey, Vodka, Bourbon, Gin Hours: Guided distillery tours and spirits tastings: Thu–Sun 1pm–7pm; Distillery: Wed 4pm–10pm, Thu 12pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 12pm–11pm, Sun 12pm–9pm; Rooftop Bar: Fri–Sat 8:30pm–late Duration: Tour and tasting: 45 minutes Cost: $12 per head Website: Old Dominick Distillery

What to Expect When Visiting Tennessee Distilleries

If you’ve been to a distillery tour before, you might have expectations for Tennessee distilleries. However, the laws that dictate what a distillery can and cannot provide may vary from one state to another. Here are some highlights of what you can expect on your visit.

Tennessee distilleries can serve samples up to half an ounce per product offering. Distilleries that have more than a few products usually limit the number of samples they give out to 8 or 10.

Samples may be free while on a tasting tour, but some distilleries may still charge for them.

They may also serve mixed drinks as long as the spirit is made at the distillery.

Tennessee whiskey distilleries can sell bottles at the distillery itself, up to 25 750-mL bottles per visitor per day.

Get your Tennessee Whiskey Trail passport from your first stop on the trail, or download the official app . Collect ink stamps on your physical passport or digital stamps on your app and earn a free t-shirt when you complete them.

You’ll also hear some of these terms when you visit the whiskey distilleries. Here’s what they mean.

  • Angel’s share – the amount of liquid lost in the barrel while aging
  • Barrel proof – the proof whiskey is aged before being bottled
  • Dram – a shot of whiskey
  • Extraction – when the liquid pulls in other flavors, such as from the charcoal in the Lincoln County Process, or the oak barrel where it ages
  • Mash – the mixture of cooked grains and water before yeast is added to start fermentation
  • Mash bill – the recipe; the grains and their ratios used to make whiskey
  • Proof – the measurement of beverage alcohol on a scale of 200. For instance, a 100 proof spirit contains 50% alcohol by volume.
  • Whiskey thief – a tubular instrument used by a master distiller to extract small portions of whiskey from a barrel for sampling
  • Whiskey flight – a sample serving of multiple whiskeys designed to provide variety and compare a range of spirits

Tips When Planning Your Trip

Here are some tips to have the best experience possible.

Leave the children at home or at the hotel. Most distillery tours aren’t exactly kid-friendly. Kids would probably get bored with the explainers, there may be equipment or sections of the distillery that are dangerous to them, and other adults on the tour may not be understanding when your kids start to fuss.

Use the Tennessee Whiskey Trail’s Trip Planner . There many different ways you can explore the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, and they know it.

Their Trip Planner contains suggestions of trail routes you can take, depending on what type of experience you want to have, including sightseeing and restaurant recommendations.

If you want to visit all 26 distilleries in a single trip, they have a 10-day itinerary. Or if you only have a weekend free, you can plan around the Nashville distilleries, or around East Tennessee.

They also have suggested itineraries for those who want to experience the great outdoors, Tennessee’s foodie scene, or the music scene.

If you’re making the trip arrangements yourself, call ahead. Making an appointment at least a day ahead ensures that you have a definite timeslot on that day. They can give you more information about what to expect from your tour. Plus, it’s just good manners.

Transportation is important. The last thing you want to be doing on a whiskey distillery tour is counting your glasses or doing a sobriety test after every distillery visit.

If you’re in a city, plan to take public transportation. In the countryside? Designate a sober driver or hire a car and driver.

Look but don’t touch! Remember that you’re not visiting a museum; everything is operational. You might burn yourself on a still, or ruin a perfectly good batch of whiskey if you dip your fingers into their mash tanks.

Keep an open mind. The distillery staff know their own products more than you do. Be open to their suggestions about what you should try.

Sip, don’t shoot. You didn’t go to a frat party and that whiskey flight is not a line of shots you’re asked to knock back on a dare.

A whiskey tasting room is where you can savor the whiskey; swirl it around the glass, smell its aroma, and savor the taste on your tongue.

Space out your visits. Stop for meals and snacks in between your visits, and bring plenty of water to hydrate. Don’t stack your day with back-to-back tastings; showing up at a distillery obviously intoxicated or drunk is a surefire way to be turned away or kicked out.

The best time to go on a whiskey trail is during the spring or fall. Summer is peak tourist season for Tennessee, especially in the Nashville area. Hotels and other accommodations are fully booked and expensive, and getting a timeslot for a distillery tour may be nearly impossible.

Spring in Tennessee can be quite beautiful when flowers are in full bloom. Fall offers another kind of beauty when the leaves dramatically change color. For both seasons, day temperatures are mild, humidity is low, and the nights are cool.

Explore the Tennessee Whiskey Trail Soon!

Whiskey culture is part of Tennessee’s history, now part of their present development, and someday will be their legacy to the country and to the world.

Going on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail and visiting the distilleries is really the best way to explore all three Grand Divisions of Tennessee, soak up their different cultures and traditions, and appreciate all their different whiskey products.

Don’t limit yourself to those on this list or even the Tennessee Distillers Guild’s recommendation; design your own itinerary and make your own memorable Tennessee experience!

Which distillery are you most interested in visiting? Which products are you most interested in trying? Or have you already gone on this trail? How was the experience? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Go Out and Explore

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

7 Beaches in Arizona to Help You Cool Off

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

8 Best Mississippi Beaches to Visit this Summer

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

10 Wyoming Ski Resorts for Your Winter Vacation

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

The 10 Best Reservoirs And Lakes In Colorado

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

7 Disney FastPass Secrets: How to Skip the Lines in Disney World

White Sands National Park

6 Best Things to Do at White Sands National Monument

Distillery Trail

  • Infographics
  • Press Releases
  • Newsletter Signup

Discover Distilleries

Featured distilleries.

Boundary Oak Distillery

Featured Cocktail

See all featured cocktails .  How to feature your cocktail .

Popular Categories

Featured suppliers.

Loch & Union Distilling Co. – Bulk Spirits

How to  Feature My Product.

  • View all Jobs

Distillery Trail

Tennessee Distillery Trail Map

Mint Julep Experiences - Mint Julep Tours

Subscribe and Enjoy The latest Distilled Spirits News.

Subscribe to the DistilleryTrail FREE newsletter.

There’s something here for everyone. Explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® experiences and find what you’re looking for in our map below. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour ® is organized into four regions—please toggle through the drop down menu for official groupings.

Text saying We Do It All, Y'all with photos of friends playing with horses, and visiting bourbon distilleries

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Log in with user name:

Log in with social media:

Get FREE email communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

The Best Road Trips in America

The Bourbon Country Tour

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Bourbon doesn’t always come from Kentucky, but it does originate in the United States and is the country’s only federally legislated spirit, making it one of the most beloved whiskies in America and the centerpiece of any whiskey trail trip.

Make sure to check the status of the states, regions, and establishments in which you’re planning to visit prior to travel. Many regions continue to see high infection rates and deaths, while many states and counties remain under varying stay-at-home orders. Those traveling from areas with high rates of Covid-19 should consider avoiding travel for now in order to reduce spread.

At A Glance

Louisville, Kentucky is, and probably always will be, the heart of bourbon country so it’s the perfect place to begin and end an eight-day, six-state whirlwind whiskey road trip to discover not just Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, but contributions from Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and more as whiskey distilling booms across all 50 states. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: It’s especially important to drink responsibly throughout this itinerary and never drink and drive. There’s plenty of time built into this itinerary to linger at each distillery, and remember that these are tastings, not ragers, so sip and savor thoughtfully. ... Read More

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Explore All Road Trips

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Louisville to Lexington

Lexington to Bardstown, Kentucky

Lexington to Bardstown

Bardstown to Nashville, Tennessee

Bardstown to Nashville

Nashville to Bloomington, Indiana

Nashville to Bloomington

Bloomington to Columbus, Ohio

Bloomington to Columbus

Columbus to Purcellville, Virginia

Columbus to Purcellville

Purcellville to Maxwelton, West Virginia

Purcellville to Maxwelton

Maxwelton to Louisville, Kentucky

Maxwelton to Louisville

The itinerary.

Louisville to Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville to Lexington, Kentucky

Town: Shelbyville, Kentucky. Stop in Shelbyville, about 45 minutes from Louisville, and check out the Bulleit Distilling Co. Visitor Experience . Here, where sustainability and technology are driving forces behind the production of the brand’s traditional rye recipe, you’ll find one of the more modern facilities on your journey and catch a shiny glimmer of the future of American whiskey. The tour and tasting will take an hour.

Town: Versailles, Kentucky. A half-hour from Shelbyville is Versailles, where you’ll want to stop to explore Woodford Reserve Distillery for a far more traditional approach to whiskey making. Bourbon was first made on this property in 1812, and you’ll feel (and taste) the history everywhere. The tour and tasting will take an hour.

Eat: Snag lunch at Glenn’s Creek Café at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, where the chef-in-residence whips up distillery-inspired favorites, like Bourbon Trail Chili (made-from-scratch cornbread include) or the slow-cooked Bourbon Barbecue Pulled Pork Sammich.

Do: Visit the Old Pepper Distillery , where James E. Pepper is once again being distilled after the lot sat abandoned for more than 50 years. Now revitalized, it’s the centerpiece of the Lexington Distillery District, featuring 25 acres of shops, eateries, and plenty of spots to stop for additional sips. Don’t venture off without touring the distillery’s fascinating (small) history museum, where you’ll learn that the Old Fashioned was allegedly invented for Colonel Pepper, himself, during a visit to New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Naturally, it’s the only cocktail served here today. With more than 400 horse farms in the city, Lexington is the “horse capital of the world,” so you may want to check out a stately site like Keeneland Race Course to enjoy the beautiful grounds, scope some stellar horses, or catch a Thoroughbred race. It’s open daily to the public.

Eat: Grab a few slices of New York-style pizza at Goodfellas Pizzeria in the Distillery District, just a few steps from Old Pepper Distillery. There’s plenty of outdoor seating (and a bocce ball court), but be sure to poke around the industrial interior for a bit of gawking before chowing down if you’ll be dining al fresco. Save room for dessert around the corner at Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge , where local ingredients are churned into small-batch flavors like Kentucky Blackberry & Buttermilk and Bourbon & Honey. Feel free to upgrade to a Spiked Scoop.

Stay: Spend the night at Origin Lexington , where stylish rooms feature accents of moss green, soft gray, and leathery brown below sexy black ceilings. If you won’t make it to the 24-hour fitness center, have a free yoga kit (mat, block, and strap) sent to your room.

Breakfast: Get ready for Day 2 with breakfast at Josie’s in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Lexington. This breakfast-all-day spot has a lighter fare, like egg white omelets and organic granola, for the health-conscious and gluttonous, heavier fare, like sausage gravy and biscuits, for those setting a solid foundation for the day’s whiskey consumption.

02_KentuckyBourbon&BBQ__Clermont_shutterstock_126924443

Lexington to Bardstown, Kentucky

Town: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Just over a half-hour from Lexington, Lawrenceburg is home to Wild Turkey Distillery , where the world’s longest-tenured master distiller continues to oversee whiskey traditions that predate Prohibition. You’ll also find Matthew McConaughey’s favorite bourbon, Longbranch, here (he created it). The tour and tasting will take one hour.

Photo Op : Just outside the entrance of Wild Turkey is a giant mural of, well . . . a wild turkey (you’ll recognize it from the bottle), and it’s a perfect spot for an amusing pose to commemorate your wild whiskey wanderlust.

Town: Loretto, Kentucky. An hour from Wild Turkey, you’ll hit Maker’s Mark Distillery in the town of Loretto. Try your hand at bottle dipping to seal your own souvenir in the brand’s signature red wax after exploring the natural beauty of this sprawling distillery, including its own water source in the form of a 10-acre limestone-filtered lake. (Good to Know: Limestone filtration is why Kentucky believes it has the best bourbon!) The tour and tasting will take an hour.

Eat: Have lunch at Star Hill Provisions at Maker’s Mark Distillery. The chef-in-residence prepares seasonal menus of local Kentucky ingredients with hearty sandwiches, like Golden Reserve Meatloaf on ciabatta, and flavorful salads, like Whisky Creek with roasted butternut squash, sunflower seeds, and walnuts in a maple bourbon vinaigrette. The star of the menu is the Maker’s and Ale-8-One Slushie, ideal as dessert.

Town: Clermont, Kentucky. Stop in Clermont to tour the home of the world’s best-selling whiskey at Jim Beam American Stillhouse . Jim Beam is aged twice as long as the legal requirement for bourbon, and the tour lasts a little longer than your typical distillery walkthrough, too, so you may have time to safely snag an extra sip at the Jim Beam Bourbon Bar and linger a little at your last stop of the day. The tour and tasting take 90 minutes.

Do: Bardstown is more than a place to crash for the night. Depending on how early you get started today, you should be able to visit at least one or two of its main attractions, including the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History , Women’s Civil War Museum , and My Old Kentucky Home mansion. There are even a couple distilleries in town if you’re up for more tasting (you’re done driving for the day, so go for it).

Eat: Embrace Kentucky cuisine with dinner at Kurtz Restaurant , where family recipes have been served in this historic house since 1937. Start with Kentucky country ham or skillet-fried chicken, but save room for sampling the scrumptious pies and cobblers after.

Stay: Book a room in The Talbott Inn for a convenient stay in the center of downtown Bardstown, steps from the quaint town’s restaurants and shops. You’ll find modern rooms in a historic 1913 building and you can’t beat the price or location. If you’re up for some potential spook factor, you could check into the neighboring Talbott Tavern bed and breakfast, built in 1779, instead. Here, you’ll also find the world’s oldest bourbon bar.

Breakfast: Day 3 comes with considerably more drive time, so pop into Fresh for a to-go breakfast. Grab some Good Folks coffee and a big ol’ pastry or two from this zero-waste kitchen with a locally-sourced menu that changes weekly (and sometimes daily).

03_KentuckyBourbon&BBQ__Nashville_shutterstock_1019862295

Bardstown to Nashville, Tennessee

Nature: If you can pull yourself out of bed even earlier, a slight detour of about 15 minutes in each direction will bring you to Mammoth Cave National Park , home of the world’s longest known cave system, just over an hour from Bardstown. The visitor center opens at 8 a.m. but if you want to spend the recommended 3 hours exploring, you may need to cut a distillery from your day.

Town: Lynchburg, Tennessee. Leave Kentucky bourbon behind (for now) and move on to Tennessee whiskey today with a tour of Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg. Themed tours range from 70 to 90 minutes for more traditional experiences and 3 hours for a filling tour that culminates in a country meal.

Eat: Have lunch in town at Miss Mary Bobo’s where Southern hospitality has been the hallmark of every hearty meal since Miss Mary Bobo opened her kitchen in 1908 and ran it for more than 60 years. Now owned by the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, the family-style restaurant has expanded to nine dining rooms serving more than 200 hungry patrons daily so you’ll want to make reservations for this one.

Town: Shelbyville, Tennessee. Relearn your whiskey history with a visit to Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, where Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is produced. Uncle Nearest was the world’s first African-American master distiller and the man who taught a young Jack Daniel to filter his whiskey through sugar maple charcoal. The tour takes 90 minutes.

Do: You’ll trip over things to do in Nashville, but make sure one of them is a visit to Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. With a dramatic history including shipwreck and lost family fortune on the way to seeking the American dream, Charles Nelson went from soapmaker to grocer to distiller, becoming one of the pioneers of whiskey bottling before Prohibition closed the business. Generations later, descendants rediscovered the distillery and relaunched the brand exactly 100 years after it closed. The tour and tasting will take about 45 minutes.

Eat: Stay on theme with dinner at Whiskey Kitchen . Alongside the city’s largest collection of whiskeys, you’ll find delish pub fare like the Fried Green Tomato BLT, Low Country Pulled Pork Sandwich, and a city staple, Nashville Hot Fried Chicken.

Stay: Slip into Nashville’s new urban style with a stay at Fieldhouse Jones in the city’s artsy East Nashville neighborhood. Uniquely designed accommodations range from traditional and deluxe rooms and suites to legitimately cool bunk bed combos, and the public spaces are a social media star’s dream come true.

Breakfast: Try something new this morning. Head to Yeast Nashville and order a tongue-twisting Tex-Czech Kolache with your morning tea. Traditional Czech kolaches are like super thick danishes of brioche-y dough filled with fruit, poppyseed, or cheese, but a Tex-Czech version embraces the tradition of 19 th -century Texas Czechs who started stuffing them with meat.

04_KentuckyBourbon&BBQ__Bloomington_468672_10151383191991008_182093924_o

Nashville to Bloomington, Indiana

Detour: Just under two hours into your drive, American history buffs will want to hop off I-65 in Kentucky for a 20-minute detour to Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park . The first memorial to Lincoln, 56 steps lead up the knoll where he was born to commemorate his 56 years of life, and a humble replica of his one-room cabin can be found within the stately memorial at the top.

Town: Borden, Indiana. Pay a visit to Starlight Distillery at Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards, about an hour from the Abe Lincoln detour or 3 hours direct from Nashville. While originally launched to distill brandies from the vineyards’ grapes, Starlight also produces a few single barrel bourbons and ryes, and even a blackberry whiskey worth a taste. The distillery tour and tasting will take just 30 minutes, so you may want to tack on the 30-minute wine tour and tasting, too, for a broader understanding of the whole operation.

Eat: While road trippin’ through small-town USA, have an all-American lunch of a burger and fries at Norma Jean’s Ice Cream during your stop in Borden. Order from the window and chow down at the creekside picnic tables. You should finish this meal with some scoops of ice cream, and are encouraged to venture into flavors like Fat Elvis, Zanzibar Chocolate, and Orange Pineapple.

Do: Just an hour south of Indianapolis, Bloomington is a quaint city near Lake Monroe with equal helpings of nature and culture. Downtown has plenty of shops and galleries, like the popular Fountain Square shop collective and the I Fell community art center with studios, shops, and a bakery. Check out the Eskenazi Museum of Art and the Wylie House Museum for indoor activities, or head to McCormick’s Creek State Park or Hoosier National Forest for outdoor time.

Eat: Visit Bloomington’s first craft distillery, Cardinal Spirits , for dinner, drinks, and a tour. You’re halfway through your whirlwind whiskey odyssey now, so take a break to appreciate sips of Cardinal’s vodka, gin, or rum—these are the specialty here. For dinner, try the Truffle Chicken with mashed potatoes or the Salmon Breeze with broccolini and maitake mushrooms.

Stay: Check in to the Showers Inn Bed & Breakfast for a cozy stay in the center of town. The historic Showers-Graham house is outfitted with modern conveniences and upscale amenities at reasonable rates with complimentary parking.

Breakfast: Take advantage of the included breakfast buffet at the Showers Inn . In addition to the standards like fruit, yogurt, and cereal, you’ll find house-made specialties like corned beef hash and poached eggs, spinach and Gruyère strata, and lemon poppyseed pound cake.

05_KentuckyBourbon&BBQ__Columbus_shutterstock_687549385

Bloomington to Columbus, Ohio

Town: Indianapolis, Indiana. This is your sole stop before Columbus and with only 2.5 hours to go, you have plenty of time to explore Indiana’s capital city. If you can’t wait until evening for today’s dose of whiskey, stop by Westfork Whiskey Co. for smooth sips of distilled Indiana grains in the tasting room. Other options include checking out the Eiteljorg Museum of Native American and Western art, White River Gardens , Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library , and, of course,  Indianapolis Motor Speedway .

Eat: It may not look like much from the outside, but if you ask a local for a lunch recommendation you’ll probably be directed to Lockerbie Pub . You’ll find everything from fried pickles to burgers at this inexpensive dive, but the breaded tenderloins are what keep business strong (well, that and the beer).

Do: If you’ve had enough of museums from earlier today, check out outdoor Columbus by toddling around German Village , taking pics in Topiary Park or Columbus Park of Roses , or admiring nature at Hayden Falls Park . Toward the end of your exploration, tour Middle West Spirits , where it’s all about appreciating the good life, and one co-founder describes a sip here as an “everyday special occasion.” Try the ryes, including dark pumpernickel, and remember that bourbon doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky—it’s just a myth—so give it a go, perhaps in a cocktail at Service Bar , onsite.

Eat: Service Bar is the spot to stay for dinner, whether you went for that bourbon cocktail after your tour or not. Expect serious upgrades to familiar plates, like Crispy Ribs with fried broccoli in a hibiscus Commander Tso’s sauce or Roasted Potato Gnocchi with oxtail, kabocha squash, and truffle. Go overboard with not Tres but Cinco Leches Cake for dessert.

Stay: While the Blackwell Inn caters to more of a business crowd and the austere exterior may not spark much joy, you’ll love the 4-star accommodations and service that come with this surprisingly affordable reservation. Don’t sleep on this one (but do sleep in it).

Breakfast: If diners were made for college seniors instead of grandparent seniors, they would be a lot more like Blunch , where bright colors and street-art-style murals decorate the funky interior. Diner standards like omelets, pancakes, and sandwiches are freshly updated (soyrizo instead of chorizo in your breakfast burrito, or perhaps just an avocado toast with balsamic drizzle?) and complemented by a variety of boozy brunch cocktails at bizarrely low prices.

06_KentuckyBourbon&BBQ__Purcelville_shutterstock_1615449817

Columbus to Purcellville, Virginia

Roadside Attraction: If six straight days of whiskey is turning you into something of a basketcase, you’ll want to stop for a photo with the World’s Largest Basket on Main Street in the little town of Dresden, Ohio. It’s 48 feet wide, 11 feet long, and 23 feet high, making it larger than some houses but nothing in comparison to the 7-story basket-shaped former headquarters of Longaberger 25 miles away in Newark, Ohio.

Eat : You’ll want to get to Purcellville early enough to explore so we don’t recommend stopping for long today, but you’ll need lunch. You’re welcome to stop at any service station along the route but if you prefer something a little quainter, pop into The Casselman in Grantsville, Maryland, 4 hours into your drive. You’ll find simple, country food with Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish influences, especially in the bakery downstairs, where there’s also an antique shop. (And, technically, this adds a stop in a 7 th state to your journey, but who’s counting?)

Do: You may be surprised to learn that Virginia is the birthplace of American whiskey, but it’s true. Visit Catoctin Creek Distilling Company to tour the facility, try a whiskey flight, and snag a bottle of Virginia’s most awarded whiskey, Roundstone Rye, to take home. A tour and tasting combo here will take about an hour. You’re clearly in town for Catoctin Creek, but this is wine country so you may want to check out one or two of the many surrounding wineries. For a less alcohol-induced activity, there aren’t many spots more charming than Blooming Hill Lavender Farm , open to the public for strolling and shopping.

Eat: Don’t be fooled by the fact this one appears to be inside a barn: Magnolia at the Mill is the best spot in town for a chic dinner on the more comfortable side of upscale. You’ll find filet mignon, seared salmon with lump crab, and shrimp and grits served on white linen cloths, but you’ll also be in luck if you’re looking for hickory grilled burgers or brick oven pizzas.

Stay: Springdale Village Inn is the bed and breakfast for you in Purcellville. Colonial-cottage-decorated rooms provide cozy accommodations in the federal-style estate house believed to be one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, just 14 miles from the border to freedom. The five acres of bucolic bliss are well-worth wandering, too.

Breakfast: Sit down early to Springdale Village Inn’s daily farm-to-table breakfast and load up properly for the two-distillery day with a considerable drive between.

07_KentuckyBourbon&BBQ__Maxwelton_7.) 11013531_10153489717251495_977693913026624947_o

Purcellville to Maxwelton, West Virginia

Town: Alexandria, Virginia. Your first whiskey stop today may be a surprising one. An hour east of Purcellville, stop at George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon in Alexandria to tour a re-creation of one of the nation’s earliest large-scale whiskey distilleries, and one of the most profitable ventures on Washington’s estate. Washington’s recipe is once again being produced, in very limited batches, since the distillery’s reopening in 2007.

Town: Sample one last taste of Virginia whiskey at KO Distilling in Manassas, about 45 minutes west of Alexandria. Try a flight of Bare Knuckle whiskeys, including straight bourbon, wheat, and rye, from this relative newcomer to the craft distilling scene. A tour before your tasting will take about 30 minutes.

Eat: Have lunch in Manassas before the final 3.5-hour haul to Maxwelton. At The Bone BBQ , you’ll find pulled pork, hickory-smoked chicken, smoked turkey, brisket, and more served with sweet potato fries, mac-n-cheese, and baked potato on a menu that also includes specialty sandwiches like a brisket and pulled pork po’boy and a few juicy burgers. If you’re feeling the need to be somewhat healthy, try the Cajun Chopped Salad with brisket.

Do: Get a taste of Appalachian whiskey at Smooth Ambler Spirits in the West Virginia mountains, where they believe their clean water, crisp air, and ideal climate produce some of the country’s top spirits. Smooth Ambler specializes in bourbon whiskies, so be sure to take some comparison sips before returning to limestone-laced Kentucky tomorrow…for research.

Eat: Most of the area action is in Lewisburg, 5 minutes from Maxwelton, and it’s here that you’ll find Food & Friends , a neighborhood favorite for a good meal and equally good atmosphere. Check out the char-grilled menu for brisket, pecan-crusted chicken, and baby back ribs, or try the bourbon-glazed salmon (also char-grilled).

Stay: Maxwelton/Lewisburg isn’t exactly a tourist area, so you won’t be staying in town. Luckily, there’s a sweet little apart-hotel in nearby White Sulphur Springs, about 15 minutes away, and you’ll spend a comfortable night here at Howard’s Creek Inn .

Breakfast: Back in Lewisburg, hit up The Wild Bean for a dependable breakfast of Huevos Rancheros or the Papas Platter of home fries, fajita veggies, and avocado topped with buttermilk crema and salsa. You can also try the scrambled eggs menu, with plenty of add-ins like black beans, jalapeños, spinach, or sautéed peppers and onions.

08_KentuckyBourbon&BBQ__Louisville_shutterstock_521423851

Maxwelton to Louisville, Kentucky

Town: Charleston, West Virginia. Stop in West Virginia’s capital city about 3.5 hours into your drive to stretch your legs. Take a walk along the Kanawha River and check out Haddad Riverfront Park before strolling down Capitol Street in town. Make your way to Capitol Market on Smith Street to peruse the vibrant indoor-outdoor market and grab lunch before hitting the road again.

Eat: It’s been a fairly meat-forward trip, as you’d expect from this barbecue-loving region of the country, so step back from the pit for the afternoon and try some Cajun pasta with shrimp or good old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs in spicy puttanesca sauce at Soho’s Capitol Market .

Do: There is a ton of whiskey and bourbon to be had here. The great news is you can walk to many of the distilleries (or their outposts) in town, so you can taste a little more enthusiastically than when you were driving. Three spots you must hit are Old Forester Distilling Co. , home of America’s first bottled bourbon; Angel’s Envy Distillery , finished in port wine casks; and Rabbit Hole Distillery, a hyper-modern outfit with an art collection as covetable as its spirits.  

Eat: Have one last carnivorous feast at Steak & Bourbon where, as you’d guess, large slabs of beef and an even larger bourbon collection (about 70 varieties) are the specialties. Potatoes are particularly prized here, too, with their own section on the menu.

Stay: The Louisville hotel scene is small but surprisingly strong. End your trip on a provocative note with a stay at Vu Guesthouse , a boutique with mystique to spare. Inside an old tobacco warehouse in the Smoketown neighborhood, the luxury boutique is equal parts sexy and gaudy, and whether or not it takes itself seriously is anyone’s guess but it’s comfortable, fun, and an unbeatable backdrop for some memorable last-night-of-the-trip photos.

Breakfast: For your final meal of the journey, head to Highland Morning for big portions of biscuits and gravy, crab cake benedict, or a bacon and fried egg sandwich on an English muffin. If you want to treat yourself, indulge in the sinful pancake menu, where Dreamsicle, Key West Key Lime, and Strawberry Shortcake are just a few of the tempting varieties available. Go big and go home.

Talk to us!

Login or register to comment on this itinerary below or join the conversation with other members on our Road Trips Forum . You can also email a road trip suggestion you’d like us to cover at [email protected] .

Tennessee Whiskey Tours

Jack Daniel’s Distillery Tours

The itinerary.

DEPARTURE: 9:00AM

Downtown Nashville near the Omni hotel.  The address is 250 Rep. John Lewis Way South.  Meet near Bob’s Steakhouse. No waiting in the rain, cold, heat, etc. We promise.

FIRST STOP: JACK DANIEL’S

We’ll pull into Jack’s around 11:00 AM and get right down to it. Let the tour and tastings begin! We’ve already got you signed up for a Jack Daniel’s Angel’s Share tasting tour.

LUNCH N’ LEISURE

After a couple hours at the distillery, you’re “on your own” to peruse downtown Lynchburg and find the perfect lunch spot. Don’t worry–we’ve got some great suggestions.

HOME AGAIN: 4:00PM-ISH

We’ll arrive at our spot of departure and turn you loose for some honky tonkin’.

Our buddy, Jack. He’s iconic, delicious, and deserves your full attention. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey or just interested in a focused distillery tour, Jack n’ Back offers a special inside look at the Old No. 7 brand. Join us for a day in historic Lynchburg and the full story of how the best selling American whiskey in the world grew from the one of the smallest counties in Tennessee. Our bus tours from Nashville to Jack Daniel’s and historic Lynchburg, Tennessee run seven days per week. 

The Jack Daniel Distillery produced about 2,400 barrels of Tennessee Whiskey each day.

Hear Whiskey Lore Stories: Apple Spotify

Hear the Interviews: Apple Spotify YouTube

(123) 456 - 7890 7 Days a week from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Whiskey Lore

Top 10 Kentucky Bourbon Distillery Tours

  • Travel Guide

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

My Top 10 to Help You Craft Your Kentucky Journey

I'll give you a little detail on each and why I ranked it where I did. Then, if you're ready to plan your own distillery tour, you can click into the links below and see the greater detail of my experience at each distillery along with links and maps to the distilleries, or check out the entire 19 distilleries journey I took via my Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tour Guide and Planner .  There is a lot of great information there, to help you craft the perfect Kentucky tour (with a couple of Tennessee distilleries thrown in for good measure). Also learn how to handle driving, and to find out what perks each distillery gives you. The guide is great whether you're planning on 2-3 distilleries or a bunch more. Check it out!

And meanwhile, let's get to the countdown!

Note: I have no associations with these distilleries and they were not aware of my presence, thus these opinions were truly based on individual impressions.

kentucky wilderness trail danville

10. Wilderness Trail

A perfect spot to stop off in between Lexington, KY and Markers Mark out in Loretto, KY, Wilderness Trail is an up-and-coming distillery that digs into the science of making whiskey. If you take a tour, they will show you the lab area where they help diagnose distilling issues for other distilleries. But Wilderness Trail also has their own line of tasty whiskies, rum, and rye and you'll get samples to end your tour and I also received a nice Glencairn glass, which is the best way to sample whiskey. This tour is recommended if you're doing 3 or more distilleries and want to get an impression of how a small craft distillery works.

Learn more about the Wilderness Trail Tour (Danville, KY)

kentucky artisan distillery sales

9. Kentucky Artisan Distillery

I learned about this distillery thanks to a DirecTv documentary called Bourbontucky (well worth the time and I believe it is still available on-demand if you want an excellent overview of the Kentucky bourbon experience). Kentucky Artisan may be one of the most creative of the craft distilleries. Their signature line is the Jefferson brand of whiskies, but it's the Jefferson's Ocean Aged At Sea that defines the true experimental nature of this distillery. Using a process similar to the early days of bourbon making, their bourbon boards a boat to experience the boat rocking, heat extremes, and sea air. I had samples of this, Jefferson's and Whiskey Row. I became a fan of the Jefferson's Very Small Batch. They have a great staff and the tour was very informative.  Located just outside of Louisville, it's a nice stop off between Frankfort or Cincinnati and Louisville.

Learn more about Kentucky Artisan Distillery (Crestwood, KY)

kentucky glenns creek old crow

8. Glenn's Creek Distillery

This is a distillery that might not be on a lot of guides, but I had a lot of fun at this distillery. First, the historian in me loved walking the ruins of the original Old Crow factory. Second, these guys really love the idea of being a small craft distillery. Sandwiched between some larger distilleries, these guys say they'd like to fly the Jolly Roger down the creek and be the rebels. You're sitting right where it all happens and don't be surprised if they put you to work emptying a barrel. Less a tour and more of an experience. Just make sure not to drive to the Old Crow sign, that is owned by Jim Beam and it is private property. Glenn's Creek's entrance is just to the right.

Learn more about Glenn's Creek Distillery (Frankfort, KY)

kentucky town branch outside

7. AllTech Lexington Brewery and Distillery / Town Branch (Lexington, KY)

There are a few things I love about this tour. First, it is conveniently located in Lexington, KY, so if you're driving down I-75 or across I-64, you can get to it easily. Next, it is a combination distillery AND brewery (this is where bourbon barrel aged beer got it's start) so they give you tokens to try out both beer and whiskey). And finally, I love that this distillery was started by and Irishman Pearce Lyons who wanted to bring old country single malt whiskey to America. His Pearce Lyons Reserve was at the originator of Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey and worth a taste. I took home a bottle, I liked it so much.

Learn more about AllTech Lexington Distillery and Brewery (Lexington, KY)

kentucky woodford reserve triple stills

6. Woodford Reserve Distillery

You'll notice that I haven't had a lot of "big guys" on my list so far. Well, any tour should be a good mix of craft and mass produced whiskey tours and some of the bigs are on the way. Woodford Reserve is made by Brown-Forman who also makes Jack Daniels and another whiskey you'll see later on this list.  The campus is beautiful, nessled in-between horse farms out on a small country road. The tour is the most expensive standard tour I went on, at $15, but this is really a beautiful distillery. And the tour guide I had was fantastic. It was one of the best overviews of the entire distilling process that I experienced. This could be a standalone visit if you only can plan 1 or 2 distilleries.

Learn more about Woodford Reserve Distillery (Versailles, KY)

kentucky willitt distillery

5. Willett Distillery

A family-owned distillery, Willett is growing by leaps and bounds and they have an incredible selection of whiskies. Go to any bar in Louisville and they are sure to recommend Noah's Mill, Kentucky Pure, or Johnny Drum. A very cool part of the tour was getting to select whatever we wanted to sample, so I got a chance to try the one's I had not experienced before.  There are plans to have  sleeping lodge here as well as food and more, so stay tuned.  Willett is right down the road from Heaven Hill and Barton's. I did all 3 in the same day. It was a bit excessive, but still, well worth it.

Learn more about Willett Distillery (Bardstown, KY)

Side Trip: Make sure to visit Bardstown.

kentucky buffalo trace blantons

4. Buffalo Trace Distillery

Of the top 10 distilleries on my list, Buffalo Trace has the widest selection of personal "favorites" when it comes to Kentucky Bourbon. Yes, they are the home of Pappy Van Winkle, but other highly sought after whiskies come from this distillery as well, including their namesake Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Weller, Blantons and more. And the tour is free! Yes, this is one of the only free tours on the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The samples were limited to Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, white dog (what bourbon looks and tastes like before it goes in the barrel), and a desert liquour. I heard complaints that they weren't offering anything exotic, but come on people, it is a free tour with some high quality whiskies offered! And it's worth a look around the campus afterwards. We had a chance to see Blanton's bottles being hand filled, during the tour. There is no excuse to miss this tour.

Learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery (Frankfort, KY)

kentucky makers mark wagon

3. Makers Mark Distillery

There are 4 tours I think could stand on their own, if you just don't have time to hit more than a distillery or two, and this is one of them. It will take you a little effort to find it, way out in Loretto, KY, but it is a fantastic tour. You start your day with a bourbon infused coffee. Then we toured the beautiful country campus, hearing about how Makers was one of the first to exploit their brand through subtle marketing, we got to see beautiful artwork, we tasted 5 different whiskies and were given full instruction on how to do a professional tasting, we saw how double oaked bourbons are made, and even got to taste some sour mash from one of the vats.  For an extra cost, you can dip your own bottle in that iconic red wax. And for newbies to whiskey, this was one that was recommended to me when I first started because Makers Mark is one of the most approachable whiskies on the market. Set the GPS and give this one a whirl. You won't be disappointed.

Learn more about Makers Mark Distillery (Loretto, KY)

kentucky bartons 1792 barrel

2. Barton's 1792 Distillery

No distillery won my heart like Bartons. Located in historic Bardstown, Barton's was the most immersive experiences I went on. When reading about it, I was coaxed into taking the extended "Estate Tour" so I could see the world's largest bourbon barrel. What I discovered was, the barrel was not really the draw of this tour. When our guide said "how long do you guys have?" I knew we were about to get deep into a very individually styled tour. We were there over 2 hours and I loved every moment of it. I probably learned more about the bourbon making process on that tour than with any tour I went on, mainly because we had such a freedom to ask questions and had such a great guide.  Sadly, the distillery has had two incidents that have created setbacks for it (one was the warehouse collapse which actually happened during my visit! - I was nowhere near where it took place) but that just makes me want to promote it more. These are great people. And this is another amazing tour that is absolutely free, with complementary tastings at the end.  If you're a bourbon geek, it is definitely a cool tour to go on. Get reservations, it is a small intimate tour. 

Learn more about Barton's 1792 Distillery (Bardstown, KY)

kentucky old forrester cooperage

1. Old Forester Distillery

One of the newest distilleries on Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville, this one was a complete shocker to me. They really did things right. This is the ONLY fully functioning distillery in the state of Kentucky. How is that possible in such a small space? I have no idea, but they crammed it all in there. Now, you may say, wait, fully functioning? Yes, this is the only distillery to include its own on-site cooperage. If you time it right, you can see the barrel's being fired right before your eyes (take a look at my page on Old Forester to see this in action if you miss it on your tour). Also, you can see them load the flat bed truck out front and hear them ring the bell (I think this happens around noon). And being a very visual person, I loved their presentation of the process of bourbon making. Each room had the process documented in graphics up on the wall. If you're in downtown Louisville and heading to Whiskey Row, make sure to add Old Forester to your list of destinations. It was easily the most comprehensive standard distillery tour on the list.

Learn more about Old Forester Distillery (Louisville, KY)

One More Thing

If you head into Louisville, a great idea is to supplement your bourbon tasting by going to one of the great restaurants or bars in the city and tasting some of the product you didn't get to on the tours. Just remember to get a hotel downtown or have Lyft or Uber ready on your phone! Here is my list of some cool bars/restaurants I visited .

Want more bourbon and whiskey talk, check out Leslie (Whiskey Is My Yoga) and my discussion about Kentucky and Scotland distillery tours on the Travel Fuels Life podcast.

  • Member's Only

Please log in to view this content.

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Welcome to the TN Whiskey Trail, your source for everything relating to craft spirits from the State of Tennessee!

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Shop Online

logo

Maps & Downloads

The Google map below represents all members of the Tennessee Whiskey Trail. Use it to customize your trail experience.

Where will your trip lead you?

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Download the TN Whiskey Trail brochure in PDF format. Save to your device to access at a later date. Access valuable information about the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, including a 10-day itinerary covering all thirty distilleries.

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Calling All Kentucky Bourbon Lovers

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Kentucky bourbon lovers, you’ve found your next great bourbon experience. Experience two of Kentucky’s craft distilleries located in Hopkinsville, Casey Jones Distillery and MB Roland Distillery. Both members of the Stateline Whiskey Tour that straddles the Kentucky & Tennessee state line and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, Casey Jones Distillery and MB Roland offer more than just moonshine and bourbon.

Veteran owned & operated, MB Roland Distillery is a completely “grain to glass” craft distillery located in Pembroke, Kentucky. Located in the countryside of Christian County, MB Roland uses local white corn to hand make each of their products ranging from the very unique “distillation & barrel proof” Kentucky Bourbon to MB Roland naturally-flavored Kentucky Pink Lemonade. MB Roland offers tours and tastings 7 days a week.

MB Roland offers a special “Distiller’s Tour” on the last Saturday of the month at 1:15 PM CST to adults aged 21 and up only. This tour consists of a more in-depth explanation of the distilling process by one of MB Roland’s full-time distillers, including a special “behind the scenes” sampling from select aging barrels in their rickhouse. Visit mbroland.com to learn more about your visit or reserve a spot on their special tour.

During Prohibition, Al Capone got moonshine from many different places. But the shine he liked the most came from Golden Pond, Kentucky. What made Golden Pond shine so special? Casey Jones. Casey was Golden Pond’s master stillmaker. The stills he designed were unique and meticulously crafted. Revenuers could tell a still was Casey’s just by looking at it. Fellow moonshiners and Chicago’s most famous gangster knew Casey’s stills by the superior product they produced. Casey’s legendary ingenuity and passion inspired his grandson Arlon Casey Jones to follow in his footsteps. Casey built his last still in 1967. AJ used that still, which is on display in the Casey Jones Distillery Lounge, as a guide to build the still used today. As our Master Distiller, AJ handcrafts every batch of Casey Jones Moonshine using a recipe that has been handed down through generations of the Jones family. A family recipe cooked in a family still – it doesn’t get more authentic than that. In 2019, Casey Jones Distillery began producing Kentucky small batch bourbon. Visit for a tour & tasting 7 days a week. Stay awhile and enjoy the 73 acres of Kentucky countryside Casey Jones Distillery sits upon. Visit caseyjonesdistillery.com to learn more.

The Stateline Whiskey Tour is a self-guided tour that takes you from scenic Hopkinsville, Kentucky to historic Clarksville, Tennessee. Each distillery has its own special story and its own delicious spirits. From Kentucky Bourbon to Tennessee Whiskey, and many other spirit creations in between, you’ll be certain to enjoy a variation from each distillery. You’ll be able to sample the spirits and purchase bottles at each gift shop (hours vary by distillery); even enjoy a delicious cocktail on most days. Take the tour with each distillery and get your passport stamped at each stop to receive a completion gift (ages 21+) at the final completed distillery tour. Visit statelinewhiskeytour.com to learn more.

For those that are interested in all things craft beverages, make sure to stop at Hopkinsville Brewing Company while you’re in town. Head to historic downtown Hopkinsville’s first and only craft brewing company, open Mondays through Saturdays. This veteran owned and operated, locally sourced, and community oriented craft beer nano-brewery is a must-visit location when in Hopkinsville. Try a flight to find your favorite brew, sit outside on the newly expanded patio space, or enjoy live music and food trucks on any given evening. Make sure to stop and chat with owners Kate Russell and Joey Medeiros – Kate was just named the winner of Samuel Adams’ Brewing the American Dream brewer experienceship program. Visit hopkinsvillebrewingcompany.com to plan your visit.

More of a wine fan? Be sure to visit Naimoli Estate Vineyard & Winery. Open for tastings Monday through Saturday, there is a reason the picturesque estate is home to weddings and events. Select a flight of wines whether sweet or dry, or enjoy by-reservation private wine tastings. Visit naimoliestate.com to learn more.

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Hoptown is the Batter Capital of the World

Make Sweet Memories in Hopkinsville!

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Follow us on Instagram @Visit_Hopkinsville

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Download the Visit Hopkinsville App today!

Visit your App store to download for FREE!

Kentucky - Unbridled Spirit

Copyright ©2024 Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Red Pixel Studios

Choose Your Destination

  • About Mint Julep
  • Destinations
  • Public Tours
  • Custom Tours
  • Corporate Services

Contact Mint Julep

Call us today at 615-436-0187 or email [email protected] .

Ready to Book a Tour?

Use our easy online booking tool to find tours visiting your favorite Tennessee whiskey distilleries.

  • (615) 436-0187
  • Jack Daniel’s Tour
  • Uncle Nearest Distillery Tour
  • Mural & Mimosa Tour
  • Mural & Margarita Tour
  • Beer, Bourbon & BBQ
  • Gift Certificates
  • Custom Nashville Packages
  • Tennessee Whiskey Tours
  • Single Barrel Select Experience
  • Roll Out The Barrel – Whiskey Package
  • Culinary and Beer Tours
  • Murals and Sightseeing Tours
  • Music & Artisan Tours
  • Bourbon Trail Tours
  • Nashville to Memphis Package
  • Request Custom Tour
  • VIP Transportation Services
  • Transportation Services
  • Request Tour
  • Join Newsletter
  • Work for Mint Julep
  • Media Inquiries

What Is The Tennessee Whiskey Trail? Guide to Tennessee Distillery Tours (With Map)

by Mint Julep Experiences | Oct 27, 2023 | Nashville

What Is The Tennessee Whiskey Trail? Guide to Tennessee Distillery Tours (With Map)

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail website suggests that you could tour all participating distilleries in 10 days. Each distillery tour differs and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. Cost for tours and tasting also varies. If you do plan to visit all the distilleries on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, be sure to get a Tennessee Whiskey Trail passport at your first stop or download the Tennessee Whiskey Trail app. By collecting stamps at each destination, you’ll earn a free t-shirt upon completion.

One easy way to see several distilleries in a short period is to join Mint Julep Experiences on our Tennessee Whiskey Tours . Currently, five Tennessee Whiskey Trail distilleries are included in our guided tour and tasting day trips leaving Nashville each morning Wednesday through Sunday. Large groups may consider buying out a Mint Julep tour bus for a private experience.

VIEW WHISKEY TOURS

Tennessee Whiskey Trail Passport

Here’s a complete list of Tennessee Whiskey Trail distilleries with notes on tour and tasting options and an easy to use map. Distilleries marked with an asterisk (*) are currently included in Mint Julep tours.

Interactive Tennessee Whiskey Trail Map

Guide to Tennessee Whiskey Trail Distilleries

Middle tennessee distilleries, corsair distillery*.

Products: Gin, Absinthe, Rum, Moonshine, Rye Whiskey, Malt Whiskey, American Whiskey, Genever

Tours: Corsair offers tour and tasting options at all three of its distillery locations. Schedules vary. Visit Corsair with Mint Julep Friday, Saturday or Sunday on the Rising Stars tour.

Location(s): Nashville, TN (Marathon Village and Wedgewood Houston) and Bowling Green, KY

Website :  http://www.corsairdistillery.com

George Dickel Cascade Hollow Distillery*

Products: Tennessee Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, White Corn Whiskey

Tours:  Cascade Hollow Distillery offers tour and tasting options seven days a week. Visit George Dickel with Mint Julep Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday on the Legends tour.

Location: Cascade Hollow, TN

Website:  https://www.georgedickel.com

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery

Products:  Tennessee Whiskey, Bourbon

Tours: Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery offers tour and tasting options seven days a week.

Location: Nashville, TN

Website:  https://greenbrierdistillery.com

H Clark Distillery*

Products:  Bourbon, Gin, Whiskey

Tours: H Clark offers tour and tasting options seven days a week. Visit H Clark with Mint Julep Friday, Saturday or Sunday on the Rising Stars tour.

Location: Thompson’s Station, TN

Website:  https://hclarkdistillery.com

Jack Daniel Distillery*

Products: Tennessee Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Flavored Whiskey

Tours: Jack Daniel Distillery offers tour and tasting options seven days a week. Visit Jack Daniel’s with Mint Julep Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday on the Legends tour.

Location:  Lynchburg, TN

Website:  https://www.jackdaniels.com

Jug Creek Distillery

Products:  Gin, Vodka, Wheat Whiskey, Single Malt Whiskey, Flavored Liqueurs

Tours: Jug Creek Distillery offers tour and tasting options Thursday through Sunday.

Location:  Lascassas, TN

Website:  https://www.jugcreekdistillery.com

Leiper’s Fork Distillery*

Products:  Tennessee Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, White Whiskey

Tours:  Leiper’s Fork Distillery offers tour and tasting options Tuesday through Saturday. Visit Leiper’s Fork with Mint Julep Friday, Saturday or Sunday on the Rising Stars tour.

Location: Leiper’s Fork, TN

Website:  http://leipersforkdistillery.com

Nashville Craft Distillery

Products:  Tennessee Whiskey, Gin, Flavored Liqueurs

Tours: Nashville Craft Distillery offers tour and tasting Tuesday through Sunday.

Website:  http://www.nashvillecraft.com

Old Glory Distilling Co.

Products: Bourbon, Rum, Vodka, Moonshine

Tours:  Old Glory offers tour and tasting options seven days a week.

Location: Clarksville, TN

Website:  https://oldglorydistilling.com

Short Mountain Distillery

Products:  Moonshine, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Tennessee Whiskey

Tours:  Short Mountain offers tour and tasting options Thursday through Sunday.

Location:  Woodbury, TN

Website:  https://www.shortmountaindistillery.com

Southern Pride Distillery

Products: Moonshine, Tennessee Whiskey

Tours:  Southern Pride Distillery offers tour and tasting optinos Monday through Saturday.

Location: Fayetteville, TN

Website:  http://www.southernpridedistillery.com

Pennington Distilling Co.

Products: Flavored Whiskey, Vodka, Flavored Liqueurs and Cordials

Tours:  Pennington Distilling offers tour and tasting options Thursday through Saturday.

Website:  http://www.speakeasyspiritsdistillery.com

Tenn South Distillery

Products:  Tennessee Whiskey, Vodka, Moonshine

Tours:  Tenn South Distillery offers tour and tasting options Monday through Saturday.

Location: Lynnville, TN

Website:  http://tennsouthdistillery.com

Prichard’s Distillery

Products:  Rum, Flavored Liqueurs, Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, Malt Whiskey, Rye Whiskey

Tours: Prichard’s Distillery offers tour and tasting options Monday through Saturday.

Location:  Kelso, TN

Website:  http://prichardsdistillery.com

Eastern Tennessee Distilleries

Bootleggers distillery.

Products: Rum, Moonshine, Rye Whiskey

Tours: Bootleggers Distillery offers tours with tasting options seven days a week.

Location: Hartford, TN

Website:  http://www.bootleggerswhiskey.com

Chattanooga Whiskey Co.

Products: American Whiskey

Tours: Chattanooga Whiskey’s Experimental Distillery offers tour and tasting options seven days a week.

Location:  Chattanooga, TN

Website:  http://chattanoogawhiskey.com

Cocke County Moonshine Distillery

Products:  Moonshine

Tours:  Cocke County Moonshine Distillery offers tastings Monday through Saturday.

Location:  Newport, TN

Website:  https://www.cockecountymoonshinedistillery.com

Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery

Products: Moonshine

Tours:  Doc Collier Distillery offers tastings seven days a week.

Location:  Gatlinburg, TN

Website:  https://doccollier.co

Knox Whiskey Works

Products:  Bourbon, Flavored Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Flavored Liqueurs

Tours:  Knox Whiskey Works offers tour and tasting options Thursday through Saturday.

Location:  Knoxville, TN

Website:  http://www.knoxwhiskeyworks.com

Old Forge Distillery

Products: Moonshine, Run, Vodka, Bourbon

Tours:  Old Forge Distillery offers tour and tasting options seven days a week by request.

Location:  Pigeon Forge, TN

Website:  https://oldforgedistillery.com

Ole Smoky Distillery

Products: Moonshine, Flavored Whiskey

Tours: Ole Smoky offers tour and tasting options at both distillery locations seven days a week.

Location(s): Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN

Website:  https://olesmoky.com

PostModern Distilling

Products: Gin, Amaro, Flavored Liqueurs

Tours:  PostModern Distilling offers tour and tasting options Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Website:  https://postmodernspirits.com

Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Products:  Moonshine, Rye Whiskey

Tours:  Sugarlands offers tour and tasting options seven days a week.

Website:  https://www.sugarlands.com

Tennessee Legend Distillery

Products: Moonshine, Flavored Whiskey, Flavored Liqueurs

Tours: Tennessee Legend offers distillery tour and tasting options at its two locations seven days a week.

Location(s):  Sevierville, TN (2 locations)

Website:  http://tennesseelegend.com

Thunder Road Distillery

Products: Rum, Rye Whiskey, Moonshine, Vodka, Gin,

Tours: Thunder Road offers tour and tasting options seven days a week.

Location: Kodak, TN

Website:  http://www.thunderroaddistillery.com

Southern Tennessee Distilleries

Old dominick distillery.

Products:  Vodka, Tennessee Whiskey, Bourbon

Tours: Old Dominick offers tour and tasting options Thursday through Sunday.

Location:  Memphis, TN

Ready to plan a Tennessee Whiskey Adventure?

Mint Julep can take you there with tours leaving from the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville five days a week!

CUSTOMIZE YOUR WHISKEY TOUR

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

  • Barrel Select
  • In the News
  • Sightseeing
  • Urban Bourbon

Garden & Gun logo

Subscribe Now

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

A Trip Through Kentucky’s Bourbon Country

A spirited jaunt through the heart of Bluegrass State reveals its growing whiskey landscape

By Tom Wilmes

February/March 2024

A man wearing a black vest and hat golds a whiskey sour at a black-topped bar. Walls of bottles are tucked into shelves behind him.

Photo: EMILY DORIO

The parking lot of the Party Source, a massive liquor store in Newport, Kentucky, might seem an unlikely location for an award-winning craft distillery. But as my friend Will Hinkle and I pull into the lot, New Riff Distilling ’s gleaming copper still, ensconced in a sleek glass tower, commands attention. We learn during our early afternoon tour that a hundred-foot-deep well taps into a limestone-filtered aquifer beneath the distillery, which helps explain why Party Source’s former owner Ken Lewis decided to build it right here in a corner of the lot. Naturally stripped of iron and sulfides, the mineral-rich well water is ideal for cooking ground grains to ferment and distill into bourbon. Flowing from the earth at a constant fifty-eight degrees, it’s also circulated throughout the distillery as an energy-efficient means of cooling hot liquids.

biscuits

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Founded in 2014 as the ongoing bourbon boom was still gaining traction, New Riff takes an innovation-within-tradition approach to its whiskey. We taste that in a pour of Bohemian Wheat, an eight-year-old bourbon made with malted, unmalted, and dark wheat in addition to the requisite corn. It’s an anomaly, yet its honeyed sweetness and bready undertones captivate with nuanced simplicity. It’s also indicative of the diversity of modern approaches Will and I aim to uncover over the next three days as we explore bourbon country from Northern Kentucky through the heart of the state.

“Distilleries today are primarily concerned with consistency, but it’s the inconsistencies of the past that make these bourbons so interesting”

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Driving up Monmouth Street to Pensive Distilling Co. + Kitchen , opened in 2021, we notice blocks of new-looking restaurants, bars, and boutiques interspersed with empty storefronts that stand out like missing teeth. After lunch at the microdistillery and restaurant (try the Strike the Gold burger, dressed with house-made bourbon barbecue sauce), we visit its second-floor speakeasy, where we learn that during Prohibition, Newport was a haven for bootleggers, gangsters, and general lawlessness. More recently, it stood as a largely blighted suburb of Cincinnati. But these days, Newport and neighboring Covington are undergoing their own bourbon-fueled booms. Will and I check in at Hotel Covington , which completed a $26 million expansion last spring, transforming a former YMCA building next door into luxe all-suite accommodations.

After a quick refresh, we walk a block to Revival Vintage Bottle Shop . Kentucky’s legislature passed a law that went into effect in 2018 allowing licensed retailers to buy and sell vintage spirits—anything that’s no longer in production today. Co-owned by Shannon Smith and Brad “Dusty” Bonds, Revival keeps at least a hundred bottles available for tasting behind the shop’s copper-topped bar, and its single-room retail space is stocked floor to ceiling. Will and I select half-ounce tasters of an I.W. Harper distilled in the 1970s ($15) and a private-label bourbon made for the Watergate Hotel in 1968 ($10), and we splurge on a 1977 Rebel Yell and a 1941 Old Timbrook (both $40). Each pour drips with personality, the flavors ranging from rich butterscotch to the woody musk of an old rickhouse. “Distilleries today are primarily concerned with consistency,” Bonds says, “but it’s the inconsistencies of the past that make these so interesting.”

Our table at the recently opened Opal Rooftop Restaurant & Bar overlooks the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline. Over Redux cocktails (a Manhattan riff made with rye, sweet vermouth, pistachio liqueur, and a barspoon of torched maple syrup) and a dinner of wood-fired steak and dry-aged duck breast, Will and I talk about how early Kentucky distillers like Jacob Spears, an ancestor of Will’s, relied on the river to float flatboats laden with barrels downstream to drinkers in New Orleans and ports beyond. We’re both relatively sober, so with the car already parked for the evening, we enjoy a Sazerac made with a New Riff barrel pick at Hotel Covington’s hip cocktail bar before turning in.

If New Riff represents a modernist approach to bourbon, then Neeley Family Distillery , forty-five miles south in Sparta, is a proud continuation of its (often illicit) past. As we wait in the rustic visitor center for a late-morning tour, Will and I examine a detailed family tree, newspaper clippings, and a display of rifles and homemade stills that trace the family’s eleven generations of moonshiners and bootleggers, and at least one fatal family feud. Royce Neeley and his father, Roy, took the family business legit in 2015, and today the distillery uses traditional pot stills to make a variety of bourbons, rye whiskey, and ’shine from old family recipes, producing around two barrels a day. I particularly enjoy a single-barrel bourbon accurately dubbed “caramel apple” during a post-tour tasting, so I fill and label a bottle to take home.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Neeley Family Distillery (@neeleyfamilydistillery)

Roughly following the Kentucky River south, we meander through small towns and stretches of rolling countryside on our drive to Millville for lunch at the Stave . Over old-fashioneds and smoked bologna sandwiches topped with chowchow, we reminisce that not long ago, a traditional tour at Woodford Reserve (just down the road), Four Roses , or a handful of other distilleries was pretty much the extent of the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail when it was founded in 1999. Today it includes forty-six distilleries across the state and various ways to experience them.

Castle & Key , our next stop, is a prime example. E. H. Taylor Jr. built the original facility in 1887 as the Old Taylor Distillery, envisioning a destination known as much for the beauty of its grounds as its bourbon. It shut down during Prohibition, like dozens of others in the state, and lay in ruins when Castle & Key’s founders bought the property in 2014. The full tour begins by the keyhole-shaped peristyle and spring Taylor built, takes you through the clang and hiss of the stillhouse, past the crumbling foundation of Warehouse A (now planted with seasonal herbs and botanicals), and into the world’s longest rickhouse. But even visitors who haven’t booked a tour can walk the botanical trails, laid out by the Kentucky landscape designer Jon Carloftis, or sip a cocktail at the renovated Taylorton Station, where guests arriving by train once disembarked.

It’s just a short drive to Lexington’s Manchester hotel, which opened last summer in the city’s burgeoning Distillery District. A quick Uber ride takes us to Fresh Bourbon . One of Kentucky’s first Black-owned distilleries, it opened its downtown tasting room in 2022. Heavy velvet curtains draw back to reveal a brightly lit room with leather stools and a long cream-colored bar top with marbled accents and pops of gold. “We wanted to create a space inviting not only to men but also to women,” says Tia Edwards, Fresh Bourbon’s co-owner with her husband, Sean. The bourbon features a hefty addition of honey malt in its four-grain recipe, and the tasting explores its sweet and savory interplay by pairing sips with pecans, cinnamon cereal, and other nibbles before we choose from a variety of bitters to make a customized old-fashioned.

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Constitution Rare & Antique Books —a dark, club-by speakeasy—makes for a stark but no less inviting contrast. Will and I enter through a door secreted in a bookcase and sit at a small bar tucked at the front of the cozy lounge. We chat with beverage director Rusty Wright as he methodically mixes a Smoking Gun, made with a split base of Rittenhouse rye and Mellow Corn whiskey with espresso liqueur and orange and cardamom bitters, and finished with a flaming spritz of expressed orange oil. Stirring another cocktail, Wright explains that he’s feeling for a chill on the side of the Yarai mixing glass and watching for the ice to drop slightly. “Cocktails are romantic, but making them can be intimidating,” he says. “We’re here to bring an educational component to the experience.”

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

We can’t resist a stop at Lexington’s Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse , with its red-velvet chairs, colossal chandeliers, and a Wildcat-blue piano perched in the middle of a massive U-shaped bar. As we sip barrel-aged Manhattans and devour large cuts of seared meat, it feels like a throwback to the bourbon-and-cigar lifestyle. But bourbon lovers today encompass a wide range of people and tastes.

I notice this the following day on a tour of Kentucky Cooperage in Lebanon, one of three such factories owned by Independent Stave Company , founded in 1912. Our group includes men and women of varying ages and backgrounds. We watch as workers shape seasoned staves of white oak into the new, charred barrels required for aging bourbon. As barrels emerge from the char tunnel, a cloud of smoke reminiscent of toasted marshmallows wafts over the group. “We don’t make the whiskey,” says tour guide Pat Daugherty, “but we do make the flavor.”

More than eleven million barrels of bourbon are currently resting in Kentucky alone, up some three million from a few years prior. As the bourbon industry continues to expand, ensuring a sustainable supply of white oak trees—which can take eighty years to reach maturity—is becoming ever more critical. We get a glimpse at efforts toward a more sustainable bourbon future at our last stop, nearby Maker’s Mark, on a new tour of its Star Hill Farm , which the distillery introduced last summer.

Founders Bill and Margie Samuels purchased the farm’s original acreage when they started the distillery in 1953, primarily to protect the water source used to make its bourbon and to stay close to the grains. Today the farm supports an interrelated ecosystem. Advocacy and experience manager Amanda Humphrey leads us through a garden with varietals like purple peas and alpine strawberries used in cocktails and dishes at the distillery’s restaurant. We pass a rock quarry where they’re growing mushrooms, and she points out clusters of bee boxes, explaining how pollinators and rotational grazing among the farm’s Wagyu cattle and sheep help to replenish the land. “You’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘What have mushroom quarries and bee boxes got to do with bourbon?’” she says. “I think the best way to describe it is that bourbon is an agricultural product. If we’re not good stewards of our land, we’re not going to be down here in two hundred years’ time making whiskey.”

We look toward a distant hillside planted with neat rows of white oak seedlings. Working with the University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, the distillery collected more than four hundred varieties from across the tree’s range to plant the world’s largest white oak research forest. The goal is to study the trees’ growth, longevity, and resistance to drought and disease to improve the genetics of the species. We head down a short path to a majestic white oak known as the “mother tree,” estimated to be at least three hundred years old. Scientists used samples from this tree to map the white oak genome for the first time in 2021, and saplings from it are also now growing in the research forest. “We’ll all be long gone by the time this comes to fruition,” Humphrey says of the project. “It’s an investment in future generations, which I think is a beautiful thing.”

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

Thirsty for More?

See Nine of the South’s Best Whiskey Bars , Seven Women Brining Bourbon into the Future , and more at G&G’s Guide to the Bourbon Boom .

Related Stories:

Three people sitting at a white fireplace drinking beer.

Offseason standouts to warm you after a chilly day combing the beach

A glass of bourbon on a shelf

G&G Distilled

G&G Distilled, a weeklong event in April, will feature the “insanely motivated, super bright” personalities powering the bourbon boom and more

A bar cart spread of bourbon, Benedictine, ginger, tea, and bacon

Food & Drink

Elevate your pour with ginger, tea, bénédictine, or bacon for surprisingly splendid sips

Trending Stories:

A man walks along a pathway in a garden

Home & Garden

Garden pros share tips for giving your green spot a sense of Southern story

whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

North Carolina’s Inner Banks have a surprising political history, famous barbecue, and the best grilled cheese oysters you’ve never heard of

Two men working and recording in a music studio

The Grammy-winning producer Jennings helps Emerson tap into his rock-and-roll spirit on his new album, The Golden Crystal Kingdom

Subscribe today and save.

15 Tennessee Whiskey Brands, Ranked

Tennessee-based whiskey brands displayed

Tennessee is renowned for its musical heritage, rolling landscapes, and the fine whiskey it produces. The state's liquor may not compare to  Kentucky bourbon  when it comes to the number of famous brands, but Tennessee has a proud whiskey heritage itself. Consequently, we wanted to celebrate the various quality whiskeys made in the Volunteer State by looking at — and ranking — some of the best brands of Tennessee whiskey.

Now, while  the main difference between Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon  involves a filtration step known as the Lincoln County Process, we wanted to look beyond that here. So we're highlighting any distillery that distills and matures its whiskey within Tennessee's borders. Simply put, if a brand makes whiskey in Tennesee — whether it's bourbon, rye, or a genuine Tennessee whiskey variety — it was eligible.

We considered numerous factors for this list, including taste, range of products, reputation, and popularity. Our rankings are based in part on personal experience with these whiskeys, as well as research of expert reviews. Without further ado, here are 15 Tennessee whiskey brands ranked.

15. Daddy Rack

While not every distillery featured on this list uses the Lincoln County Process, Daddy Rack does. This Tennessee whiskey may not come from the biggest brand on the list, but it's earned its reputation as a distinctive and noteworthy player in the world of whiskey.

Daddy Rack uses high-quality local ingredients to form its mash bill of 80% corn, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley. It also uses sour mash for fermentation, further showcasing its traditional Tennessee whiskey-making style. This adds up to whiskeys with a robust flavor profile — though each retains the famously mellow nature of Tennessee whiskey.

Given the distillery's fairly limited range of products and availability (it doesn't appear to be sold in much of the U.S.), we felt compelled to rank Daddy Rack last. Then again, since we only selected quality whiskeys for this list, that hardly means it's bad; and if you're looking for a fun and unique brand? This is well worth seeking out.

14. Old Dominick

Old Dominick is a fantastic distillery with a wide range of spirits in addition to whiskey (including vodka and gin). Established in the heart of Memphis in 1866, Old Dominick boasts a legacy stretching back generations and produces a pair of authentic Tennessee whiskeys made via charcoal mellowing: Straight Tennessee Whiskey, and Bottled-In-Bond. 

Those two expressions aren't the only whiskeys produced by Old Dominick, though. It offers a range of bourbon whiskeys, as well, so there's a wide selection available for any whiskey fans seeking this brand at the store. This variety helps mark it as one of the best whiskey producers in the state. We may not feel Old Dominick matches the overall quality or appeal of the whiskey brands ranked higher (hence its second-to-last placement). But it offers a well-rounded drinking experience for whiskey enthusiasts, ranging from smooth and mellow sipping whiskeys to bolder and more complex releases.

13. Cascade Moon

Whiskey often has a reputation for being a little serious and stuffy. But many newer brands are working to change that perception — and Cascade Moon is one such example. Cascade Moon merges tradition with innovation to do things a little differently with its selection Tennessee whiskeys, along with a high-rye expression. Each of these is tasty with a notable fruity influence.

Cascade Moon encapsulates the region's spirit in each bottle. Produced by the Cascade Hollow Distilling Co. (the same distillery responsible for George Dickel), one of its more intriguing products is the 15-year barrel proof — which isn't technically or legally whiskey (though it tastes like it) given it's bottled at just under 80 proof.

Of course, while we've always enjoyed Cascade Moon's products, there are simply more authentic (and better-tasting) Tennessee whiskey brands available. Since it also has a rather limited range of distribution — with several bottles only available in three states — it slots near the bottom of our list.

12. Bib & Tucker

Bib & Tucker is another whiskey brand that uses the Lincoln County Process. Interestingly enough, while Bib & Tucker whiskeys are matured in Tennessee, its products are actually bottled in Kentucky. Beyond that, another notable feature of Bib & Tucker's whiskeys lies its aging process and production standards.

Bib & Tucker produces small-batch whiskeys aged for a minimum of six years, and includes a 10-year whiskey and 12-year. All four Bib & Tucker whiskeys available as of January 2024 are incredibly smooth; and with proofs ranging between 88 and 99, each bottle is approachable for any bourbon lover. Additionally, the brand's mash bill has a high percentage of rye at 26% (giving the spirits plenty of depth and warmth), while its eye-catching bottle design makes a perfect aesthetic addition to  your home bar .

Unfortunately, Bib & Tucker comes with a fairly hefty price tag; and the lack of accessibility for those on a budget — along with its limited portfolio of products — affected its ranking. So it slots it in the bottom half.

11. Rollins

Since you presumably clicked on this article hoping to find brands that make true Tennessee whiskey, we present another one in Rollins. The brand exclusively uses ingredients sourced from Tennessee and completes the entire distilling process in the state. Though Rollins doesn't boast a wide range of whiskeys — which keeps it from ranking higher (or cracking our top 10) — its flagship sour mash whiskey is a very impressive bottle worthy of purchasing.

Rollins makes its spirits in small batches. This ensures the quality remains high in each bottle while allowing the opportunity to compare batches over time. Whatever the batch, its whiskey is characterized by being both smooth and sweet with a great depth of flavor. While it's nicely balanced, there are plenty of spice notes for those looking for something more complex, with notable influences of cinnamon and clove on the palate with each sip. If you're the type who prefers a  low-proof whiskey , we highly recommend Rollins.

10. Davidson Reserve

While the product line from Rollins is limited, the same can't be said for Davidson Reserve. The brand's lineup includes five whiskeys (as of January 2024) that cater to a broad range of tastes. This includes a classic Tennessee whiskey, a few bourbons, and a rye whiskey. Perhaps the most interesting is its Four Grain expression, which includes corn, rye, wheat, and barley.

Like other Tennessee-based whiskey brands, Davidson Reserve bottles are made in small batches. And while several other brands use whiskey sourced from other distilleries, or have part of the production process completed at another location, Davidson Reserve is proud to complete its whiskey-making in-house.

The only outside help the brand receives is from its locally sourced ingredients. With a focus on small-batch distillation and meticulous attention to detail, Davidson Reserve creates the authentic taste of whiskey that any enthusiast would appreciate. We may not feel it's better than the higher-ranked brands, but it easily belongs among the top 10 Tennessee whiskey brands. 

9. Sugarlands Distilling Company

Sugarlands Distilling Company is a fairly young brand that's quickly built a reputation for creating fantastic spirits. Among them is Roaming Man whiskey, which has won numerous awards since its introduction in 2017 – a superior quality that helps make up for the limited number of whiskeys offered by Sugarlands Distilling Company.

For those looking for a Tennessee whiskey that's a little different, your search ends here. Bottled at cask strength, Roaming Man is a high-proof brand — though the proof tends to change slightly from one batch to the next. In fact, with no water added during bottling, the proof for one bottle of Roaming Man may be significantly different from the next.

Another interesting factor to note is that it's rye whiskey, giving this brand a high spice level on both the nose and palate. On the palate, you'll also find flavors of chocolate and oak, along with subtle notes of orange and apple. It's very much on-brand for the Sugarlands Distilling Company, which specializes in creating spirits with innovative flavor profiles. If you're a fan of its whiskey, it's also worth checking out its vodka, moonshine, and liqueur.

8. Prichard's

Prichard's is a distillery that creates a wide range of spirits. Of course, we're most interested in the brand's whiskey products — and it has an impressive range of award-winning options. One of these is a classic Tennessee whiskey, though there's a curious fact about that classification. After all, while distilleries can usually only market a bottle as "Tennessee whiskey" if it uses the Lincoln County Process, there's one exception: Prichard's.

As a historic brand with a track record that extends back further than the invention of the Lincoln County Process, Prichard's argued it should be allowed to make whiskey the way it always has while retaining the Tennessee whiskey distinction. But that's not the only reason Pritchard's is different, as the brand also uses white corn in its mash bill instead of the more common yellow corn.

Between its long-running history and distinctive production process, Prichard's is well worth it for anyone eager to try something unique (and delicious). Along with its authentic Tennessee whiskey, it also has malt, rye, bourbon, and white whiskeys to enjoy — and is placed perfectly near the middle of our rankings.

7. Uncle Nearest

Uncle Nearest is a whiskey brand that pays homage to Nathan 'Nearest' Green  –  an enslaved man who pioneered Tennessee whiskey and taught the distilling process to a young Jack Daniel. After being freed, he even became the Master Distiller for Jack Daniel's. Fast-forward to the 21st century, where the female-led team at Uncle Nearest continues to pay tribute to this legendary whiskey-maker.

Of course, while the history of the brand is fantastic, its whiskey is phenomenal, too. It's won many awards and Uncle Nearest offers seven different varieties of whiskey as of January 2024. This includes a small batch, a single barrel, and maturely aged expressions — though they tend to come with a premium price tag. That cost is the only downside (and what keeps it from ranking higher than seventh).

Still, if you're lucky enough to take a sip, you'll enjoy its exceptional craftsmanship and smooth, nuanced flavor profile. Adding to its appeal, Uncle Nearest has become a symbol of diversity and inclusion in the whiskey industry and showcases the oft-overlooked contributions of both women and African Americans to the world of spirits.

While Uncle Nearest proudly highlights its history and tradition, Corsair has a much more modern focus. The distillery was founded in 2008, with its whiskey winning awards around the world soon after. Created in Nashville, it doesn't follow the state's traditional whiskey-making process and doesn't even have an expression in its core lineup that could be legally classified as bourbon.

Instead, along with other spirits, it produces a dark rye and single malt whiskey. Called Triple Smoke, its American single malt whiskey captures attention with its blend of three different malts to create an expression with plenty of smoke on the palate alongside sweeter notes. The dark rye is another interesting expression with a mash bill of 61% rye, 4% chocolate rye, and 35% barley. The high percentage of barley makes it unique and adds to its depth and complexity.

There's no doubt Corsair has solidified its position as a standout Tennessee whiskey brand through its daring experimentation and unwavering passion for pushing the boundaries. It may have just missed out on the top five, but its sixth-place spot is hardly a knock on the brand.

5. Sweetens Cove

Sweetens Cove is a celebrity whiskey that doesn't do much to promote itself as a celebrity whiskey. Partly owned by sporting legends Peyton Manning and Andy Roddick, the brand developed after the two were involved in purchasing the Sweetens Cove Golf Club. The club has the quirky tradition of players taking a shot of bourbon before each round, but instead of using any old whiskey, the co-owners decided to create their own. Of course, after purchasing premium barrels of aged whiskey, it needed an expert to blend them — which is where Marianne Eaves stepped in.

The master blender has created beautiful blends of maturely aged bourbons to create a range of impressive expressions. The brand's whiskeys all boast a rich and complex flavor profile, showcasing a perfect harmony of sweet and savory notes. Along with its classic Tennessee offerings, it also has a "Kennessee" whiskey that combines a blend of top-notch whiskeys from both states. Whichever expression you choose, each bottle is a testament to the brand's dedication to quality and the elite blending skill of Marianne Eaves, which makes Sweetens Cove one of the top five Tennessee whiskey brands on the market.

4. Chattanooga

Like many other brands on this list, Chattanooga is a modern distillery – though one that's inspired by the past. While its first bottles were only released in 2015, Chattanooga has swiftly risen to prominence as one of the most unique Tennessee whiskey brands. Named the 2023 Craft Producer of the Year by Icons of Whisky, it blends innovation with traditional craftsmanship to create experimental and classic whiskey expressions. This is demonstrated, in part, by the fact it operates two distilleries: one on the riverfront, and an experimental distillery in the heart of the city.

Its flagship bottle is the Tennessee High Malt 91 Proof, which earns its name from its fairly high usage of 25% malted grains. It also produces other high-malt bottles, including rye whiskey, while its limited-release experimental expressions are made in all manner of ways. This includes using old casks, infusing various flavors, and blending with peated malts. This spirit of experimentation appeals to any whiskey enthusiast seeking something beyond the conventional and helps elevate Chattanooga into the number four spot on our list.

3. Nelson's Green Brier

Nelson's Green Brier is a revival of a historic Tennessee whiskey brand. Though its roots trace back to the 1800s, the original distillery closed its doors in 1909 when prohibition began in the state (11 years before the nationwide ban). But a century later, it was resurrected, and has emerged as one of the finest distilleries in the industry.

Since the brand's resurrection (by brothers Charlie and Andy Nelson), Nelson's Green Brier has leaned on its rich heritage and distinctive craftsmanship to create a memorable range of products — showcasing its dedication to reviving not just the label, but the authentic Tennessee whiskey tradition. The distillery offers a wonderful range of whiskeys catering to all tastes as of January 2024, including traditional Tennessee whiskey, bourbon, and rye expressions (often at an affordable price to boot).

Nelson's Green Brier perfectly blends traditions from the past with modern-day quality, consistency, and craftsmanship. More importantly, its whiskeys are generally highly rated and perfect for those wanting to sample Tennessee whiskey from a smaller, family-owned business. Frankly, the only reason it couldn't crack the top two was the quality of the Tennessee whiskey brands ranked above it (rather than a knock on its products).

2. George Dickel

We're fairly certain you already know what will be number one here, but George Dickel deserves its place as the best of the rest. Established in the 19th century, it's carved a niche as one of the finest brands of Tennessee whiskey on the market. Earning its reputation for excellence through distinctive qualities that set it apart from many of its rivals, the brand uses the Lincoln County Process to create genuine Tennessee whiskey. But George Dickel takes an interesting additional step: It chills its whiskey before the charcoal filtration to create an even smoother and mellower flavor.

Of course, while the brand's whiskey is undeniably smooth, there's also plenty of character, with oakiness and spice in many of its expressions. George Dickel is known for its small-batch production, as well, allowing greater precision and control over the final product. This approach ensures consistency and quality across its range of products, from the classic 8-year to the more exclusive releases. Simply put, if you're looking for a brand to start drinking Tennessee whiskey (beyond the obvious number-one pick)? George Dickel is a great place to begin.

1. Jack Daniel's

Jack Daniel's is one of the most popular and well-known whiskey brands in the entire world (Tennesee or otherwise). Its global appeal is humongous ... but it all starts with making brilliant Tennessee whiskey. Established in 1866, Jack Daniel's has stood the test of time by perfecting the charcoal mellowing process — becoming a symbol of Tennessee's rich distilling heritage.

Doing everything in-house, Jack Daniel's uses 10 feet of charcoal to achieve the perfect results. This leads to a whiskey that's not only mellow but retains a level of complexity that sets it apart from other Tennessee whiskey brands. Along with the expected sweetness, we also find a fantastic balance of spice and smokiness throughout its expressions. While its Old No. 7 bottle has become a timeless classic, there's a wide  variety of Jack Daniel's whiskeys  you can also enjoy.

Beyond the exceptional product itself, Jack Daniel's has achieved worldwide cultural significance, and its association with American music (particularly country and rock) further elevates the brand. Whether sipped neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails, Jack Daniel's remains a benchmark for the Tennessee whiskey experience. There may be some snobbery from enthusiasts regarding its success, but considering many whiskey lovers began their journey with a bottle of Jack? We think it should be seen as a flag bearer for Tennessee whiskey's popularity across the globe. More than that? We think it's the best Tennessee whiskey brand out there.

Methodology

We considered several factors when compiling this ranking of Tennessee whiskey brands. Along with the quality and expressions of each brand's whiskeys, we considered the overall reputation, price, number of products offered, and range of distribution and availability. For instance, if a distillery only produces a single top-shelf whiskey that isn't widely available, it would struggle to rank highly on this list.

Additionally, though we have plenty of experience with Tennessee whiskey, we didn't rely solely on firsthand knowledge when making this list. We also looked at a range of expert reviews to help fill in any gaps in our expertise and ensure our ranking process of the best Tennessee whiskey brands was both fair and (relatively) objective.

IMAGES

  1. Oct 2012 Map of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail including the Craft Tour

    whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

  2. A journey along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Who makes what?

    whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

  3. Whiskey Distilleries Kentucky and Tennessee

    whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

  4. Bourbon Tour, Whiskey Tour, Whiskey Trail, Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

  5. Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Guide: Know Before You Hit The Bourbon Trail

    whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

  6. Check out this map of the KY Bourbon Trail. Be sure to click the map to

    whiskey tour kentucky tennessee

VIDEO

  1. Our Favorite Tennessee Whiskey Distillery #whiskey #bourboncountry #bourbon

  2. Tennessee Whiskey with the legend @elikoskoff #guitar #acoustic #tennesseewhiskey

COMMENTS

  1. Stateline Whiskey Tour KY / TN

    This self guided tour takes you from scenic Hopkinsville, Kentucky to historic Clarksville, Tennessee. Each distillery has its own special story and its own delicious spirits. From Kentucky Bourbon to Tennessee Whiskey, and many other spirit creations in between, you'll be certain to enjoy a variation from each distillery.

  2. Kentucky and Tennessee: Tour the Homes of Bourbon and Whiskey

    Explore the spirits of both past and present in six Kentucky and Tennessee towns, from bourbon to moonshine, from craft to farm-to-table. Learn about the history, culture and flavors of America's premier spirit at six distilleries and restaurants along the way.

  3. Tennessee Whiskey Trail: The Adventure Starts Here

    Tennessee Whiskey Trail: The Adventure Starts Here The Tennessee Whiskey Trail knits together 25 Tennessee distilleries and gives visitors a taste of the history, tradition and novelty of Tennessee whiskey, as well as experience the rich landscapes.

  4. An Insider's Guide to Touring Kentucky and Tennessee Whiskey and

    An overview of the whiskey trails through Tennessee and Kentucky, with recommendations for best tours and visits. By Stephanie Stewart-Howard on April 20, 2017 *Photo courtesy of Christopher/BlackBirdCD, available under a Creative Commons license.

  5. Trips & Trail Routes

    Patriotic Clarksville East Tennessee Whiskey flows like a river in these hills Knoxville Nature loving adventure seeking artsy kinda town Middle Tennessee Central to your whiskey trail experience Townsend Peaceful Side of the Smokies Cookeville A Natural Fit West Tennessee Whiskey, barbecue and blues Sevierville Gateway to the Smokies

  6. HOME

    HOME — Tennessee Whiskey Tours. FREE Cancellations on public tours with 24 hour notice. Effective for tours booked on or after 12/6/2023. Skip to Content. 0.

  7. Bourbon Trail Tour & Tasting

    Join us & immerse on a Beam Bourbon Distillery Tour in Kentucky that has been around for two centuries. Book a tour and taste the best wine in the Beam family distiller now!

  8. 15 Best Tennessee Whiskey Distilleries & Tours for 2024

    133 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN 37352 (931) 759-6357 Let's begin our journey with the obvious: if you're adding a distillery visit and whiskey tasting to your trip to the Volunteer State, then it ought to include Jack Daniel's.

  9. Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    Visit three unique distilleries on this Tennessee whiskey tour — straddling the state line between Tennessee and Kentucky. Enjoy a scenic tour from Hopkinsville, KY to historic Clarksville, TN. Each distillery has its own story to tell and spirit to share. Enjoy samples at each distillery and purchase a bottle at the gift shops along the way.

  10. PDF America's Great Distilleries A Tour of Kentucky and Tennessee

    Distilleries Tour of Kentucky and Tennessee. Day 1: Buffalo Trace Distillery 1001 Wilkinson Boulevard Franklin County, KY www.buffalotrace.com Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-3pm, Saturday 10am-2pm. (502) 696-5926 or (800) 654-8471 Our tour begins in Frankfort, Kentucky, in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Famous

  11. Visit Distillery

    Learn all about how we make our whiskey by taking a tour at Jack Daniel's Distillery - maybe even taste some for yourself.

  12. Home

    Handcrafted bourbon adventures. Use our interactive maps to explore your way through the birthplace of Bourbon.

  13. The 10 Best Distilleries on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail

    Inspired by the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail is a selection of 26 Tennessee whiskey distilleries ranging from boutique-sized distilleries to huge international operations that are producing a variety of whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, rum, moonshine, and of course, Tennessee Whiskey.

  14. Plan Your Trip

    There's something for everyone—tours, tastings, big-city nightlife, quaint country towns, Bourbon-themed restaurants and historic accommodations. Remember there is no wrong way to Build Your Own Bourbon Trail™, as long as you enjoy it responsibly. ... Bourbon Trail ™ and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour ...

  15. Custom Tennessee Whiskey Tours

    Whiskey tours with Mint Julep depart throughout the week from downtown Nashville, traveling along the Tennessee Whiskey Trail to multiple distillery tour destinations like Jack Daniel's in Lynchburg or Nelson's Green Brier in Nashville. REQUEST CUSTOM TOUR

  16. Tennessee Distillery Trail Map

    Tennessee Whiskey Trail, DISCUS | Tennessee Whiskey, Black Owned 3125 US-231 North, Shelbyville, Tennessee 37160 Featured Old Dominick Distillery Tennessee | Tennessee Whiskey Trail | Bourbon, Gin, Vodka, Tennessee Whiskey 305 S Front Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103 B.R. Distilling Company Tennessee | DISCUS

  17. Map

    There's something here for everyone. Explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail ® experiences and find what you're looking for in our map below. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour ® is organized into four regions—please toggle through the drop down menu for official groupings.

  18. Road Trip Itinerary: The Ultimate Bourbon Trail

    Leave Kentucky bourbon behind (for now) and move on to Tennessee whiskey today with a tour of Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg. Themed tours range from 70 to 90 minutes for more traditional ...

  19. Jack Daniel's Tour

    Jack Daniel's Tour — Tennessee Whiskey Tours FREE Cancellations on public tours with 24 hour notice. Effective for tours booked on or after 12/6/2023. 0 Page Not Found Please verify that you are entering the correct URL

  20. Top 10 Kentucky Bourbon Distillery Tours

    4. Buffalo Trace Distillery. Of the top 10 distilleries on my list, Buffalo Trace has the widest selection of personal "favorites" when it comes to Kentucky Bourbon. Yes, they are the home of Pappy Van Winkle, but other highly sought after whiskies come from this distillery as well, including their namesake Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Weller ...

  21. Maps & Downloads

    Download the TN Whiskey Trail brochure in PDF format. Save to your device to access at a later date. Access valuable information about the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, including a 10-day itinerary covering all thirty distilleries. The TN Whiskey Trail launched on June 19, 2017 by the Tennessee Distillers Guild. The Trail consists of 25 distilleries ...

  22. Calling All Kentucky Bourbon Lovers

    Both members of the Stateline Whiskey Tour that straddles the Kentucky & Tennessee state line and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, Casey Jones Distillery and MB Roland offer more than just moonshine and bourbon. Veteran owned & operated, MB Roland Distillery is a completely "grain to glass" craft distillery located in Pembroke, Kentucky.

  23. What Is The Tennessee Whiskey Trail? Guide to Tennessee Distillery Tours

    Launched by the Tennessee Distillers Guild in 2017, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail is a group of 26 distilleries in the state of Tennessee making whiskey and other spirits. A wide range of Tennessee distilleries are included from micro-distilleries to legendary and historic distillers. The Tennessee Whiskey Trail website suggests that you could tour all participating distilleries in 10 days.

  24. A Trip Through Kentucky's Bourbon Country

    Roughly following the Kentucky River south, we meander through small towns and stretches of rolling countryside on our drive to Millville for lunch at the Stave.Over old-fashioneds and smoked bologna sandwiches topped with chowchow, we reminisce that not long ago, a traditional tour at Woodford Reserve (just down the road), Four Roses, or a handful of other distilleries was pretty much the ...

  25. 15 Tennessee Whiskey Brands, Ranked

    We may not feel it's better than the higher-ranked brands, but it easily belongs among the top 10 Tennessee whiskey brands. 9. Sugarlands Distilling Company. RoamingManWhiskey / X (https://twitter ...