Come Find Bourbon
Three cities tell the authentic Kentucky Bourbon story: Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown. Located an easy drive from one another, these dynamic destinations have joined forces to create Come Find Bourbon, Kentucky’s authentic bourbon road trip.
With short distances between distilleries, bars, restaurants, museums, shops, and more fun things to do, Come Find Bourbon offers abundant bourbon experiences while making the most of valuable vacation time. Whether the goal is to tour genuine distilleries, savor bourbon flavors, meet spirited Kentucky characters, stock up on local artisan products, or discover what bourbon really means to Kentucky across urban, small town, and rural communities, Come Find Bourbon is a must-do road trip for any season that can be enjoyed as a three-night or longer stay.
Whether the dream is to sip from the world's largest collection of Kentucky bourbons or tap a barrel to fill a bottle, study long-standing traditions or discover edgy innovations, savor once-in-a-lifetime moments or attend annual festivals, realize it all here.
Covington/Northern Kentucky Media Kit
Bardstown Media Kit
- Come Find Bourbon is a cooperative marketing partnership between three independent Convention & Visitor Bureaus: meetNKY, Visit Frankfort, and Visit Bardstown.
- Come Find Bourbon offers easy access to 24 distilleries that range from large to small, historic to new, household names to emerging brands.
- Kentucky’s authentic bourbon road trip is an easy drive with short distances between stops, so visitors can spend more time doing fun things than in the car driving toward them. The total distance from Covington to Frankfort to Bardstown is 132 miles. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive from Covington to Frankfort and 1 hour from Frankfort to Bardstown. Within each city, bourbon-related destinations are often minutes away from one another.
- The drive route is flexible: start at either end, stay in each city as long as desired, choose specific destinations of most interest. Multiple itineraries are suggested on ComeFindBourbon.com, plus the CVBs can help visitors develop customized travel plans.
- All three cities offer top shelf experiences and together present a rich variety of bourbon venues that run the gamut from rustic to ultra-modern, mom-and-pop to conglomerate, historic to brand new.
Covington / Northern Kentucky
- Northern Kentucky, the edge of Bourbon Country, is situated along the Ohio River across from Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cincinnati/Covington area comprises the nation’s 28th largest metro area.
- Northern Kentucky includes the city of Covington as well as Newport, Florence, Erlanger, Hebron, Union, Fort Thomas, and Bellevue.
- Covington’s MainStrasse Village, which is on the National Historic Register, has German influences that date back to its founding in the mid-1800s.
- Before there was Las Vegas, there was Newport, Ky. This little river town across from downtown Cincinnati once had a gambling reputation and was a hub for gangsters.
- Northern Kentucky cuisine is a fusion of Germanic and Southern with a dash of bourbon and craft beer. Regional delicacies include goetta (German breakfast sausage), tomato pie, potato cakes, transparent pie, and Cincinnati chili.
- Northern Kentucky houses five distilleries: Boone County Distilling Co., Neeley Family Distillery, The Old Pogue Distillery, New Riff Distilling, and Second Sight Spirits.
- The B-Line, Northern Kentucky’s unique bourbon tour of distilleries, restaurants, and bars, was launched in 2018.
- The CVG International Airport is serviced by Delta, United, American Airlines, Southwest, Frontier, Allegiant, Apple Air, Air Canada, Sun Country Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Frontier, and Viva Aerobus.
- Northern Kentucky is growing by leaps and bounds: new restaurants, hotels, and attractions open routinely. Recent additions include Bircus Brewing Company, Rich’s Proper Food & Drink, Alexandria Brewing, Baker’s Table, Flow Koffee + Kombucha, and Spoon: Kitchen & Market, to name just a few.
- Northern Kentucky is an official trailhead of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
- Frankfort is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the seat of Franklin County. It is located in the inner Bluegrass region of Central Kentucky near an S-curve in the Kentucky River.
- Frankfort is home to Buffalo Trace, Castle & Key, Glenn’s Creek Distillery, and Three Boys Farm Distillery. From Frankfort it’s easy to reach Four Roses Distillery, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Jeptha Creed.
- In Frankfort, Jim Beam bottles 100 different brands of alcohol for global distribution.
- Frankfort’s Rebecca Ruth Candy is the birthplace of the iconic bourbon ball. The sweet delicacy was created by Ruth Hanly Booe in 1938; the candy store opened in 1919.
- Historic architecture includes two Capitol buildings, Governor’s mansions, the region’s only Frank Lloyd Wright house, and the home of John Brown (Kentucky’s first U.S. Senator). Frankfort also has one of Kentucky’s few remaining original covered bridges, the Switzer Bridge.
- The popular phrase ‘dog is man’s best friend’ was coined by George Graham Vest, a Frankfort native, lawyer, and U.S. Senator. He uttered the phrase during his closing arguments in a trail seeking damages for killing a dog.
- On June 25, 2021, the City of Frankfort launched The MIX District. In this Entertainment Destination Center, participating downtown restaurants and bars are allowed to serve open-container alcoholic beverages to-go on Thursday and Fridays from 4:30 to 11 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Based on population, Frankfort is the 5th-smallest state capital in the U.S.
- Settled in 1780, Bardstown in Kentucky’s 2nd-oldest city. It is the county seat of Nelson County.
- A total of 11 distillery experiences are located within 16 miles of downtown Bardstown: Bardstown Bourbon Company, Barton 1792, Heaven Hill, Log Still, Lux Row, Old Samuels, Preservation Distillery, and Willett, plus Jim Beam American Stillhouse, Limestone Branch, and Maker’s Mark. Two additional distilleries will be opened by 2022.
- Bardstown was named “The Most Beautiful Small Town in America” in 2012 by USA Today and Rand McNally.
- More than 300 buildings in Bardstown are on the National Register of Historic Places, with nearly 200 in the downtown district.
- The Stephen Foster Story has been entertaining audiences at the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheatre at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown since 1959.
- My Old Kentucky Dinner Train has been hosting bourbon tours since 1988. The Bardstown railroad was originally constructed in 1860; the dining cars were built in the late 1940s after World War II.
- The Old Talbott Tavern was built in 1779 and is located just off the Courthouse Square in historic downtown Bardstown. It is the oldest restaurant in Kentucky.
- Bardstown is “The Bourbon Capital of the World” and an official trailhead of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
- Bardstown Bourbon Company opened in 2014 in Bardstown. Master Distiller Steve Nally has produced over 100 million bottles.
- Barton 1792 was established in 1879 in Bardstown. It’s the city’s oldest fully-operating distillery. Danny Kahn is master distiller.
- Boone County Distilling in Independence opened current operations in 2015. It originally operated 1833-1918 in Petersburg.
- Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort started in 1787. It is the oldest continuously operating distillery in the U.S. and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. With over 1,000 awards for its portfolio of premium whiskies, Buffalo Trace is the most award-winning distillery in the world. Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley was promoted in 2005 to become only the sixth Master Distiller since the Civil War that the distillery has ever had. He’s a four-time nominee by the James Beard Foundation. Distiller Julian P. Van Winkle III of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery (produced at Buffalo Trace) was named “Outstanding Wine, Beer and Spirits Professional” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011.
- Castle & Key in Frankfort opened 2018. The distillery was first opened in 1887 by E.H. Taylor and is considered the birthplace of bourbon tourism.
- Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg begins its origin story in 1884. Brent Elliott was named master distiller in 2015.
- Glenns Creek Distillery opened in 2014 on the former site of the Old Crow Distillery. It is owned and operated by David Meier.
- Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown was established in 1935. It is family owned and operated. Conor O’Driscoll was named master distiller in 2019.
- Jeptha Creed in Shelbyville is a family operation using old fashioned methods to craft spirits for modern tastes. Locally grown and sourced ingredients are used to the extent possible.
- Jim Beam began in 1894 when James Beauregard Beam took over the family distillery from his father, David M. Beam. Jim Beam 'White Label' is the world's top selling bourbon. Jim Beam American Stillhouse is located in Clermont.
- Limestone Branch in Lebanon was launched in 2010 by Steve and Paul Beam, 7th-generation distillers.
- Log Still Distillery in Gethsmane opened in 2021, but its roots reach back to 1836.
- Lux Row Distillers opened its facility in Bardstown in 2018, though Luxco had been operating for more than 40 years.
- Maker’s Mark in Loretto was launched in 1953. The founders chose to spell whisky without the “e” as an homage to their Scottish heritage. Master Distiller Steve Nally was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2007.
- Neeley Family Distillery in Sparta is a small family-owned production that opened in 2015, when 10th-generation Roy Neeley and 11th-generation Royce Neeley took the family business legal for the first time.
- New Riff Distilling in Newport was established in 2014 by Ken Lewis.
- The Old Pogue Distillery in Maysville started in 1876. It is currently helmed by the 5th and 6th generations of the Pogue family.
- Old Samuels Distillery in Coxs Creek opened in 2020. It was originally built at the end of Prohibition in 1933.
- Preservation Distillery in Bardstown opened in 2018. It’s the region’s first 100-percent pot distilled facility.
- Second Sight Spirits in Ludlow was launched in 2015 by Rick Couch and Carus Waggoner.
- Three Boys Farm Distillery in Graefenburg began production in 2013 on a 122-acre farm in rural Franklin County.
- Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg began in 1940. Jimmy Russell is the world’s longest-tenured active master distiller. In 2015 his son, Eddie Russell, was named a master distiller in his own right after 35 years with Wild Turkey.
- Willett in Bardstown began three years after Prohibition in 1936 on the family farm. Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen has been recognized multiple times as being among the best in his field, including three nominations by the James Beard Foundation.
- Woodford Reserve in Versailles started in 1996. Brown-Forman bought the Labrot & Graham distillery in 1941 and produced a variety of whiskeys at the site before launching Woodford Reserve. Chris Morris is Master Distiller. Elizabeth McCall is Assistant Master Distiller, a certified specialist of spirits, the 2nd generation of her family to work in the bourbon industry, and one of the youngest female distillers in the U.S.
- Road Trip: Come Find Bourbon is the must-take road trip for any bourbon fan—from new imbibers to connoisseurs. It links key communities in authentic Kentucky Bourbon Country! The drive route is flexible! Destinations are enjoyable any time of year! Stay a weekend or longer! Visit multiple distilleries or linger at a favorite one! Explore bourbon distilleries, bars, restaurants, retailers, tours, museums, and much more!
- One-of-a-Kind Bourbon Experiences: Come Find Bourbon is rich with bucket list-worthy opportunities for bourbon tourists. From bourbon history to modern innovations, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to long-standing traditions, it’s all here.
Culinary Scene: Bourbon is just one sip of Come Find Bourbon’s taste story. Among the delicious options:
- Menus at multiple restaurants in all three cities serve bourbon-infused and bourbon-inspired cuisine. Dozens upon dozens of delicious, award-winning dining destinations are open and ready to serve hungry visitors indoors and out.
- Quintessential Kentucky dishes can be found on multiple menus in all three cities, including: The Hot Brown, spoonbread, Benedictine, burgoo, barbecue, Derby pie, and beer cheese.
- Northern Kentucky’s MainStrasse Village, which is on the National Historic Register, has German influences that date back to its founding in the mid-1800s. While this heavily residential, cobblestoned neighborhood is known for street festivals, pub dining, and quirky retailers, an infusion of top culinary talent has elevated quaint MainStrasse to a go-to urban neighborhood for foodies and culinary explorers.
- Northern Kentucky’s Newport on the Levee is the area’s newest dining and entertainment hotspot.
- Northern Kentucky cuisine is a fusion of Germanic and Southern with a dash of bourbon and a craft beer. Savor regional delicacies like goetta (German breakfast sausage), tomato pie, potato cakes, transparent pie, and Cincinnati chili.
- Nearly all of the million pounds of goetta produced in the Cincy region each year is consumed locally. Eat all you can get while visiting the area!
- Northern Kentucky boasts more than 32 active breweries.
- Frankfort’s Rebecca Ruth Candy is the birthplace of the iconic bourbon ball. The sweet delicacy was created by Ruth Hanly Booe in 1938; the candy store opened in 1919.
- Frankfort’s Rick’s White Light Diner, a Cajun/Creole eatery, has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
- Sig Luscher Brewery was launched in 1866 when Sig Luscher came to Frankfort from Switzerland when the Civil War ended and took over the Capitol Brewing Company. He traded yeast with distillery tycoon E. H. Taylor, Jr., and brewed a crisp, light pilsner that by all accounts was a huge hit as far as the horses, railroads, and steamboats could carry it.
- West Sixth Farm Brewery in Frankfort crafts beer on site using hops and fruit grown on the property.
- Scout & Scholar Brewing Co., Bardstown’s first craft brewery restaurant, opened in 2020.
- My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown offers several culinary tours with focused themes like biscuits (learn how to make the perfect Southern biscuit), mint juleps (learn the cocktail’s history while you sip one), apple cider (step inside a historic kitchen), and lemonade (enjoy a garden picnic).
- Bardstown’s Kurtz Restaurant has been dishing up skillet-fried staples since 1937—and is rumored to serve the Bluegrass State’s best skillet-fried chicken!
Festivals: Fun events fill calendars in all three cities. Among the options:
- The Kentucky Bourbon Festival, an annual event that’s been held in Bardstown since 1991, is one of the Commonwealth’s leading community festivals. It celebrates bourbon as well as the people and the community that have supported the industry for generations.
- Bourbon on the Banks in historic downtown Frankfort each October features dozens of bourbons as well as local beer, wine, and food.
- Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival takes place each October in Northern Kentucky. It pairs bourbon with all things Kentucky.
- Oktoberfest Cincinnati occurs the second weekend in October and is the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, Germany.
- Kentucky Characters: From master distillers to illegal moonshiners, cigar rollers to artists, furniture makers to chefs and mixologists, candy makers to museum docents, Daniel Boone to George Clooney, the Come Find Bourbon communities have been and are home to a wide range of genuinely fascinating Kentuckians.
- Unique Attractions: Distilleries are a key draw, but reasons to linger in the Come Find Bourbon communities abound. In Northern Kentucky, soar on Screaming Raptor Zip Lines at the Creation Museum, model the latest "un-fur" at Donna Salyers' Fabulous Furs (one of Oprah’s favorite things), walk across the Purple People Bridge, visit the World Peace Bell, and cruise on the Ohio River with BB Riverboats. In Frankfort, pedal singletrack trails at Capitol View Park (one of the state’s top mountain bike destinations), explore the Salato Wildlife Education Center (a 262-acre complex that doubles as headquarters for the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources), stroll the Frankfort Public Art Tour, and explore the Josephine Sculpture Park. In Bardstown, visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park, hike the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, explore the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, play golf, go fishing, and so much more!
- Hooligans & Outlaws: Delve into bourbon history—with aspects both legitimate and shady, including the impact of Prohibition—at Bardstown’s Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, Frankfort’s Kentucky History Center and Capital City Museum, and the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville where an exhibit details how bourbon was shipped from Maysville into the rest of the country, a story that begins in 1784! Discover the modern gaming industry’s roots in Newport, the little river town across from downtown Cincinnati that once had a gambling reputation bigger than Vegas. Gangster wars raged on these streets, the Tommy Gun was invented here, and all the while the “King of the Bottleggers” George Remus was pulling strings behind the scenes. Prohibition and gangster history linger in Covington and Newport as new bars and restaurants take over former casinos and speakeasies. Covington’s Pike Street District housed bonded whiskey warehouses before Prohibition; now come find unique shops like Grainwell Market that designs and creates wood-centric products.
- Archeology & Architecture: In Covington, see the church that bourbon built: The Cathedral of the Basilica is a one-of-a-kind, half-size replica of Notre Dame that features the world’s largest stained-glass window; dating back to 1901, it was literally built by the city’s whiskey producers. In Frankfort, peek at bourbon’s past at Buffalo Trace’s ‘Bourbon Pompeii’—unearthed fermenting vats that date back to 1883—during the distillery’s E. H. Taylor tour. More than 300 buildings in Bardstown are on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Accommodations: From national brand-name hotels to independent campgrounds, all three cities offer overnight options to match any visitor’s preferred comfort level. Among the one-of-a-kind places to stay: Northern Kentucky’s Hotel Covington is an award-winning AAA Four Diamond option that ranks among the nation’s best hotels. Frankfort boasts a total of 35 houses and 30 apartments/condos offered via VRBO. Bardstown offers the historic Talbott Inn, the upscale Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast, and the unique Jailer’s Inn Bed & Breakfast where visitors can sleep in a former cell.
- Partnership: Rather than competing for visitors, three independent CVBs—meetNKY, Visit Frankfort, and Visit Bardstown—are teaming up to help bourbon explorers plan and complete an authentic bourbon-themed road trip.
- Spirits: Bourbon isn’t the only spirit a visitor can come find in Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown. Distilleries also produce award-winning vodkas, gins, rums, and other delicious alcohols. Ghost stories abound, too—from rumors of Jesse James’ spirit lingering in Bardstown to Boone County Distilling’s “Made By Ghosts” boast to ghost tours offered at Buffalo Trace Distillery and so much more!
"The Best Small Towns for a Fall Getaway" - Travel + Leisure - 8/27/2021
"Need A Vacation? Here are ideas for Kentucky trips for 5 different kinds of getaways." - Lexington Herald Leader - 7/15/2021
“Come Find Bourbon” On This Epic Three-City Tour - Kentucky Tourism
Make It a Whisky Weekend with Come Find Bourbon Itineraries - The Travel 100 - August 22, 2019
New Tourism Option Beckons Bourbon Tourists to a Different Part of Kentucky: 'Come Find Bourbon' highlights small-town Kentucky - Nashville Scene - August 21, 2019
A new approach to whiskey tourism: Come Find Bourbon - American Whiskey - August 9, 2019
Come Find Bourbon: Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown launch new tourism collaboration - Northern Kentucky Tribune - August 8, 2019
Frankfort joins cities with launch of Come Find Bourbon campaign - The State Journal - August 7, 2019
Come Find Bourbon - Foodie Travel USA - August 6, 2019
Come Find Bourbon - Getaways for Grownups - August 6, 2019
Covington, Frankfort and Bardstown Launch New Tourism Collaboration - The Lane Report - August 6, 2019
Bourbon Initiative from Kentucky - Selling Travel