Yesterday, I attended a lunch and tour at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. I figured it would be a fun working lunch where I had the opportunity to learn a little more about the production of Kentucky bourbon whiskey. I was pleasantly surprised to feel like I'd taken a mini-staycation quite close to home!
The Jim Beam Stillhouse is located in Clermont, just outside Shepherdsville. It's really hard to believe that such a gorgeous landscape is only two miles off I-65! It only took me about 25 minutes to get there from Louisville's East End!
The tour takes you through the entire process of bourbon production -- from grain to bottle. No matter how many distilleries I visit, I'm always fascinated by the idea that a handful of basic grains can be transformed into so many different flavor profiles!
The Beam tour is firmly rooted in the history of both the company and the founding Beam family. I even had the opportunity to chat with Fred Noe, Jim Beam's great-grandson, who had some hilarious and larger-than-life stories to tell!
Bourbon warehouses are always a fascinating visit. Here, we learned that the iconic Jim Beam white label -- the world's most popular bourbon -- is produced in such volume that the distillers don't rotate the barrels for climate control, opting instead to create each batch from a cross-section of barrels that have been stored in different areas of the warehouse.
The tour also includes a trip to the bottling line. Here, the single-barrel bourbon Knob Creek is being bottled. (Fun fact: before the bottles are filled, they are washed out with "leftover" bourbon!)
One of the tour's most fascinating sights is this liquor cabinet, where two bottles from each batch are held back for control purposes. After two years, these bottles will be given to Beam employees.
This was perhaps my favorite view of the day: one of Mr Beam's original warehouses nestled between a Baptist church and a graveyard. It seemed so iconic of Kentucky ideology!
The tour was incredible, the food and bourbon were fantastic, and the Beam staff were so, so friendly. They really did live up to the distillery's motto: "Enter as friends, leave as family!" Thanks so much to Jim Beam Stillhouse for inviting me out to dinner; I hope to see y'all again soon!
If you're looking for a fun day trip to learn a little more about Kentucky bourbon while enjoying a gorgeous landscape, you should take some time to play Hometown Tourist at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse!