I’m frequently asked what I recommend on a short list of Louisville tourism destinations — where to go if you only have a day or two to spend in the Derby City. I also often hear folks wondering where to start their bourbon tourism education. The Old Forester Distillery is the perfect answer to both of those questions.
Old Forester was the first bourbon whiskey to be sold exclusively in sealed bottles, and it’s the oldest bourbon on the market. It was even produced during Prohibition for medicinal use. If you want a great primer on the history of Kentucky bourbon — sales, marketing, and production — you need to visit Old Forester.
At the turn of the 20th Century, the 100 block of Louisville’s Main Street was integral to Kentucky’s bourbon industry. Over the years, production and storage facilities moved to more spacious areas, with Whiskey Row revitalization efforts only arising over the past few years. Brown-Forman built the Old Forester Distillery on the site of the brand’s original headquarters, providing both a tourism facility and a working distillery on history Whiskey Row.
In addition to giving visitors an overview of how the bourbon is made, the Old Forester tour actually gives its guests a glimpse into the cooperage process. Brown-Forman, Old Forester’s parent company, is the only distilling company that makes its own barrels. This tradition is honored at OldFo, as you can actually watch barrels being constructed and charred as part of the tour.
Don’t miss the gift shop which offers the Whiskey Row series (the 1920 blend is fantastic!) and the Distillery-Exclusive President’s Choice single barrel blend!
The Old Forester Distillery is open for tours and shopping 7 days a week at 119 West Main Street in Louisville. The $16 tour includes a tasting for guests over 21. Click here for more tour details.