Lonely Planet Writer

The "birthplace of Bourbon tourism" is reopening to the public

If you have a passion for bourbon (and other spirits-inspired) tourism, then you might be happy to know that its “birthplace,” is re-opening very soon.

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The distillery was first founded in the late 1800s. Photo courtesy of Castle & Key Distillery

The Castle & Key Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, is opening its doors again on 19 September of this year. The distillery is the same one opened in 1887 by Colonel Edmund Hayes Taylor (of Old Taylor fame), who wanted to found a “destination distillery,” featuring a European-style castle, springhouse and sunken garden in a 113-acre property. That distillery became known as “the birthplace of Bourbon tourism,” as Castle & Key said in a statement.

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All the ingredients used to make the distillery's liquors will be locally sourced. Photo courtesy of Castle & Key Distillery

Colonel Taylor’s initial distillery, though, fell into disrepair in the following years, and it was essentially in ruins when the current owners, Will Arvin and Wes Murry, decided to restore it. What came out of the restoration process is an “immersive distillery experience,” as the founders put it.

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The aim of Castle & Key is to create an "immersive distillery experience," with tasting tours and visits. Photo courtesy of Castle & Key Distillery

The new Castle & Key will offer testing tours and curated experiences and of course sell spirits that will be “thoughtfully made,” by Marianne Eaves, Kentucky’s first female Master Distiller since Prohibition times. Castle & Key Release Gin and Restoration Release Vodka are already on sale, while rye and bourbon are aging until ready. All spirits are made from locally-sourced, American ingredients.

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At the moment, the distillery sells gin and vodka, while rye and bourbon are aging until ready. Photo courtesy of Castle & Key Distillery

If you want to know more about Castle & Key or book one of their tasting tours, please see their official website here.