An old friend from high school had on his bucket list to do “The Bourbon Trail” in Kentucky. Although I have enjoyed bourbon for much of my life, I had never heard of “doing” The Bourbon Trail and was intrigued by what it might mean. Here’s what the Kentucky Distillers’ Association says about it:
“In 1999, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association formed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour to give visitors a firsthand look at the art and science of crafting Bourbon, and to educate them about the rich history and proud tradition of the state’s signature spirit.
It began in the 1700s with the first settlers of Kentucky. Like most farmers and frontiersmen, they found that getting crops to market over narrow trails and steep mountains was a daunting task.
They soon learned that converting corn and other grains to whiskey made them easily transportable, prevented the excess grain from simply rotting, and gave them some welcome diversion from the rough life of the frontier.”
My friend and I were issued bourbon passports at the first distillery we visited, and then at each distillery (of 7 in total) our passports were stamped, showing that we had “traveled” to each location. After the final distillery, we presented our passports at an office and were given t-shirts noting our accomplishment. The t-shirts proclaim “Kentucky’s Mash Appeal.”
It was fun touring Kentucky, a state I hadn’t known much about. And being able to sample bourbon along the way made it that much more of a relaxed journey. If you have an interest in bourbon, or enjoy drinking bourbon, I encourage you to think about doing The Bourbon Trail. You’ll learn why bourbon is called bourbon, and other useless facts. Which could prove important if you’re ever a contestant on Jeopardy….