Maker’s Mark Distillery Tour
Last month Mike and I were in Louisville, Kentucky to attend our friends’ wedding. Back in 2008, on his way to see Kansas play in the Orange Bowl, Mike stopped in Loretto, Kentucky and took a tour of Maker’s Mark Distillery. He signed up for their Ambassador Program and now 6 years later his bourbon was ready to be bottled. As an Ambassador, Mike was invited to visit the distillery for a complimentary tour and tasting before picking up a few bottles from his batch. The timing was perfect because Loretto is just a little over an hour drive from Louisville, so we took a quick detour to Maker’s Mark when we first got into town.
As we drove along the winding back roads of Kentucky, we knew we had to be close to the distillery when the large black barrel houses started dotting the landscape. It was a drizzly, overcast morning, but that couldn’t stop the beauty of this area from shining through. The trees were beginning to show signs that fall was indeed upon us and the bright greens that remained created a striking contrast with the black buildings and red shutters of Maker’s Mark.
We received a very warm and cheerful welcome when we arrived at the visitor’s center and waited for our tour to begin. On the tour we walked through several buildings, each housing a separate stage of the bourbon making process. We saw the copper still pots, the mash tuns, the label making, the bottling line complete with red wax dipping stations, and the barrel houses, as well as all the beautiful scenery along the way.
After the tour we made our way to the tasting room where we tasted four different versions of Maker’s Mark bourbon. I’m not a bourbon fan, but I still enjoyed the tasting. From here we made our way to the shop where Mike purchased his bottles and the hands-on fun began. Mike was able to put the personalized labels on each of his bottles and then made his way over to the dipping station where he dipped each bottle on his own. You can do the dipping even if you’re not an Ambassador, but as an Ambassador it’s all included. Visiting Maker’s Mark was a very cool, memorable experience and I definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. If you’re really into bourbon you can follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and check out the other great distilleries in the area like Bulleit, Four Roses, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Evan Williams.