Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey brand logo.

Buffalo Trace Distillery

  • 2023 Silver at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, 2023 Silver at the Luxury Masters Asia, 2023 Double Gold at the Denver International Spirits Competition
  • https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/
Phone Number
  • +18667293722
  • 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601, United States

Buffalo Trace Distillery exterior with bison mural and water tower.

History of Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery, with a history deeply embedded in America’s spirit industry, has been a beacon of resilience and innovation. Here’s a structured narrative of its journey from inception to its current status as a pioneering distillery.

Early Beginnings and Foundational Years

The story of Buffalo Trace Distillery begins in 1775 when Hancock and Willis Lee established Leestown, north of the Frankfort settlement along the Kentucky River, laying the groundwork for what would become Buffalo Trace Distillery. This area was strategically chosen for its proximity to the water source and the buffalo trace, a migratory path used by buffalo and later by pioneers moving west.

The Visionary Colonel Taylor

In 1870, Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. purchased the distillery, infusing it with his vision of producing the finest whiskey using old-fashioned wood-fired copper stills, leading to the christening of the distillery as “O.F.C.” Taylor’s investments and innovations in the late 19th century significantly modernized the distillery, setting high standards for quality bourbon production.

Prohibition and Beyond

Despite the challenges posed by Prohibition in the early 20th century, the distillery was one of the few granted a permit to bottle medicinal whiskey. This period tested the distillery’s resilience, but it emerged stronger, with Albert B. Blanton taking the helm and leading the distillery into a new era of bourbon making post-Prohibition.

Modern Era and Innovation

The distillery was purchased by the Sazerac Company in 1992, marking a return to family ownership. This transition sparked a renaissance of innovation and expansion, culminating in the distillery’s rechristening as Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1999. The introduction of the Buffalo Trace brand symbolized a new chapter focused on honoring tradition while embracing change.

Expansion and Recognition

The 21st century has seen Buffalo Trace Distillery expand its operations and solidify its reputation as a leader in the bourbon industry. Significant investments in infrastructure, coupled with a commitment to experimentation and quality, have earned the distillery numerous accolades and a place as a National Historic Landmark.

Legacy and Future

Today, Buffalo Trace Distillery stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of American whiskey making. With over two centuries of history, it continues to push the boundaries of innovation while preserving the heritage and traditions that have made it a cornerstone of the bourbon industry. As it looks to the future, Buffalo Trace Distillery remains dedicated to crafting premium spirits that reflect its unmatched legacy.

Awards Won by Buffalo Trace Distillery

2023 Silver at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition

2023 Silver at the Luxury Masters Asia

2023 Double Gold at the Denver International Spirits Competition

2023 Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Buffalo Trace Distillery offers an immersive tour experience that delves into the history and science of bourbon making, known as The Trace Tour. This tour provides a comprehensive introduction to the distillery’s operations, allowing visitors to walk the path of rolling bourbon barrels and experience the captivating aroma of bourbon aging in the warehouses. Here are the specifics of what the tour entails:

Tour Accessibility: The Trace Tour is open to visitors of all ages and is ADA accessible, ensuring everyone can enjoy the experience.

Complimentary Nature: All tours at Buffalo Trace Distillery are complimentary, including a tasting of some of their award-winning products, making it a must-visit for bourbon enthusiasts.

Reservation Requirement: Reservations are required for the tour, highlighting the distillery’s commitment to providing a personalized and engaging experience for each visitor.

Tour Duration and Timing: The tour and tasting last approximately 75 minutes, with tours leaving at least hourly or more frequently as needed, ensuring ample opportunity for visitors to participate.

Location: The tour takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery, located at 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601, nestled in a historic setting that adds to the charm of the experience.

Distillery Hours: The distillery is open for tours and tastings Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the gift shop operating during the same hours for visitors to purchase souvenirs.

The Trace Tour at Buffalo Trace Distillery is not just a tour; it’s an educational journey through the heart of bourbon country, offering insights into the distillery’s rich history, innovative processes, and the meticulous craft behind their celebrated bourbon.

Flask & Barrel Review of Buffalo Trace Distillery

Visiting Buffalo Trace Distillery was an experience I’ll not soon forget. As someone who’s been on more distillery tours than I can count, I’ve got to say, this place stands out. I’d give it a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s the scoop.

First off, the vibe of the place is just awesome. Walking through those historic buildings, you can almost feel the stories seeping out of the walls. And the smell? That rich, warm bourbon aroma hanging in the air is something you just have to experience for yourself.

The Trace Tour was top-notch. It wasn’t just a walk around the distillery; it was a deep dive into the bourbon-making process, from the science behind it to the art of aging. And the guide? Super knowledgeable and friendly, answering questions left and right without missing a beat.

Now, the tasting part, that was the cherry on top. Trying those award-winning bourbons, I could really taste the craftsmanship and history in each sip. And getting to do that in such an iconic setting was pretty special.

If I had to nitpick, I’d say I wished the tasting included a few more of their rare bottles. But honestly, that’s just me being a whiskey collector always on the hunt for something unique.

What To Do Nearby Buffalo Trace Distillery

Kentucky State Capitol

  • Distance: Approximately 2.5 miles
  • The Kentucky State Capitol is an architectural marvel and the seat of the state’s government. Visitors can enjoy guided tours that showcase the building’s history and beautiful design.

Daniel Boone’s Grave

  • Distance: About 2 miles
  • Located in the Frankfort Cemetery, the gravesite of the famous American pioneer Daniel Boone offers not only a piece of history but also panoramic views of the Kentucky River and the city.

Salato Wildlife Education Center

  • Distance: Roughly 3 miles
  • Ideal for families, the Salato Wildlife Education Center features native Kentucky wildlife, hiking trails, and educational exhibits about conservation and the state’s natural heritage.

Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours & Museum

  • Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles
  • Discover the sweet history of Rebecca Ruth Candy, known for inventing the famous Bourbon Ball. The tour offers insights into the candy-making process and, of course, samples.

Capital City Museum

  • Distance: Around 2 miles
  • This museum provides a deep dive into the history of Frankfort and Kentucky’s capital city’s role in the state’s development, featuring a range of artifacts and exhibits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Buffalo Trace Distillery?

La Fiesta Grande Restaurant: La Fiesta Grande Restaurant, with a 4.3-star rating on Google Maps, is located at 1055 US Highway 127 South, Frankfort, KY 40601. You can contact them at (502) 317-0832.

Cattleman’s Roadhouse: Cattleman’s Roadhouse also boasts a 4.3-star rating and can be found at 151 Jett Boulevard, Frankfort, KY 40601; their phone number is (502) 848-0023.

Main Street Diner: Main Street Diner, rated 4.5 stars, is situated at 227A W Main St, Frankfort, KY 40601, and can be reached at (502) 682-9195. These establishments offer a variety of dining experiences in Frankfort, Kentucky.

What hotels are near Buffalo Trace Distillery?

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Frankfort: The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Frankfort, an IHG Hotel, is rated 4.2 stars on Google Maps and is located at 1000 Vandalay Dr, Frankfort, KY 40601. For inquiries or reservations, you can call them at (502) 352-4650.

The Capital Plaza Hotel: The Capital Plaza Hotel, with a 4.0-star rating, can be found at 405 Wilkinson Blvd, Frankfort, KY 40601, and they can be reached at (502) 227-5100.

Best Western Parkside Inn: Lastly, the Best Western Parkside Inn, also holding a 4.2-star rating, is situated at 80 Chenault Rd, Frankfort, KY 40601, and their contact number is (502) 695-6111. These hotels offer comfortable accommodations for visitors to Frankfort, Kentucky.