Bulleit Distilling Co.

  • USA, Kentucky
  • Double Gold Medal at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Double Gold Medal Winner
  • https://www.bulleit.com/
Phone Number
  • +15026475799
  • 3900 Benson Pike, Shelbyville, KY 40065, United States

Bulleit Distilling Co. exterior with logo on building facade.

History of Bulleit Distilling Co.

Founding and Early History

The Bulleit Distilling Company’s journey began in 1987 when Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr., decided to leave his successful law practice to fulfill a lifelong dream. Inspired by his great-great-grandfather, Augustus Bulleit, who crafted a high-rye whiskey between 1830 and 1860, Tom embarked on a mission to revive an old family bourbon recipe.

This bold step was driven by a passion to create a unique bourbon, following in the footsteps of Augustus, a tavern keeper in 1830s Louisville, Kentucky, dedicated to creating a bourbon with a distinct flavor.

The Legend of Augustus Bulleit

Augustus Bulleit’s dedication to crafting a unique bourbon led him to experiment with countless varieties until he found the perfect blend that met his expectations. However, his journey took a mysterious turn when he vanished while transporting his barrels of bourbon from Kentucky to New Orleans. The disappearance of Augustus Bulleit nearly resulted in his creation fading into obscurity, but the legacy of his bourbon lived on.

The Revival and Growth

In reviving the family’s bourbon recipe, Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr., not only preserved the Bulleit family tradition but also introduced a bourbon that stands out for its bold, spicy character, thanks to its high rye content. The use of Kentucky limestone-filtered water and charred American oak barrels adds to the bourbon’s distinctive smooth, clean finish and smoky backbone. Bulleit Distilling Co. adheres to a simple aging philosophy: the bourbon is ready when it’s ready, ensuring the quality and character of the bourbon are preserved.

Bulleit Today

Today, Bulleit Bourbon is celebrated for its high rye content, which gives it a bold, spicy character unparalleled in complexity. The distillery’s commitment to quality and tradition has made Bulleit a legend in the bourbon industry.

The introduction of Bulleitâ„¢ Rye, a straight rye whiskey made from 95% rye and 5% malted barley, further showcases the distillery’s dedication to producing whiskeys with unparalleled spice and complexity.

Bulleit Distilling Co. has successfully navigated the challenges of reviving and maintaining a historic bourbon recipe, ensuring that the legacy of Augustus Bulleit and the pioneering spirit of Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr., continue to thrive. The distillery’s focus on tradition, combined with a willingness to break bourbon traditions, has cemented its place in the history of American whiskey.

Awards Won by Bulleit Distilling Co.

  • Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year: This age-dated whiskey has been awarded a Double Gold Medal at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This prestigious award signifies the highest level of recognition in the competition, indicating that Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year was unanimously judged as exceptional by the panel.
  • Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength: While not specifically mentioned for awards in the provided content, this blend of barrels aged 5 to 8 years is notable for being bottled straight from the barrel, showcasing the brand’s commitment to quality and strength.
  • Bulleit Rye Whiskey: Introduced in March 2011, Bulleit Rye has a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. Although specific awards for the rye whiskey were not detailed in the content, its high rye content and quality production process highlight Bulleit’s innovative approach to whiskey-making.
  • General Recognition: Bulleit bourbon has been rated in the top 10th percentile of the world’s best whiskeys by Proof66.com, a review aggregator for spirits. Additionally, Bulleit Rye Whiskey is rated as a “Top Tier Whiskey” by the same site. Proof66.com also rates Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year as a “Tier 1” spirit, further affirming the brand’s excellence in whiskey production.
  • Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year in Competitions: Apart from the Double Gold Medal, Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year received a gold medal in the “Small Batch Bourbon up to 10 yrs” category at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, reinforcing its status as a top-quality bourbon.

Bulleit Distilling Co. Tour Information and Experience

Bulleit Distilling Co. offers a unique and immersive visitor experience, inviting guests to explore the world of whiskey on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. Here’s what you need to know about the tour experience at Bulleit Distilling Co., located in Shelbyville, KY.

Visitor Center Hours

  • Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Contact Number: 502.647.5799


  • Address: 3464 Benson Pike, Shelbyville, KY 40065

Tour Offerings and Amenities

  • Reservations: Highly recommended to ensure your spot on the tour.
  • Retail Space: A shop where visitors can purchase Bulleit merchandise and, of course, their award-winning whiskeys.
  • Cocktail Bar: After the tour, guests can enjoy crafted cocktails at the distillery’s bar.
  • Outdoor Patio: A space for guests to relax and enjoy their drinks in an open-air setting.

Additional Information

  • Private Events or Group Requests: For those interested in hosting a private event or making group tour requests, Bulleit provides personalized services to cater to your needs. Event Manager Malia Gibson can be contacted for such inquiries.

The Bulleit Distilling Co. tour offers a comprehensive look into the craft of whiskey-making, from the distillation process to aging and bottling. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history and heritage of Bulleit, taste their award-winning whiskeys, and enjoy a welcoming atmosphere that reflects the modern frontier of whiskey.

Flask & Barrel Review of Bulleit Distilling Co.

As someone who’s been around the block a few times with whiskey tours, I’ve got to say, my visit to Bulleit Distilling Co. was pretty darn impressive. I’m giving it a solid 4.7 out of 5, and here’s why.

First off, the setting is just what you’d hope for when visiting a distillery in Kentucky. It’s got that perfect blend of tradition and modern vibes that makes you feel like you’re stepping into the future of whiskey without losing touch with its roots. The place is welcoming, with a vibe that says, “Come on in and let’s talk whiskey.”

The tour itself? Top-notch. I’ve seen my fair share of distilleries, but Bulleit’s got this down to an art. The guide was knowledgeable and passionate, not just reciting facts but sharing stories that made the whole experience feel personal. You can tell they’re not just about making whiskey; they’re about crafting stories in every bottle.

Now, onto the whiskey tasting – the highlight for any collector like me. Bulleit’s selection did not disappoint. Their high-rye content bourbons have that bold, spicy kick I love, with a smooth finish that keeps you coming back for more. And getting to taste their rye whiskey? A spicy, complex delight that’s a testament to their craft.

The cocktail bar was a nice touch, too. After the tour, chilling on the outdoor patio with a perfectly mixed drink was the cherry on top. It’s one thing to taste whiskey straight from the barrel; it’s another to see it transformed into a cocktail masterpiece by someone who knows their stuff.

If I had to nitpick, and I mean really search for something, it’d be that I wish the tour dove a bit deeper into the technical side of their distillation process. But that’s just me being a whiskey geek wanting to soak up every little detail.

What To Do Nearby Bulleit Distilling Co.

  1. Claudia Sanders Dinner House – A historic restaurant offering traditional Southern cuisine in a homely setting. It’s a great place to experience Kentucky’s famous hospitality and comfort food. (Approx. 5 miles from Bulleit Distilling Co.)
  2. The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass – A premier shopping destination with a wide range of stores offering everything from designer brands to outlet favorites. Perfect for a day of shopping and dining. (Approx. 7 miles from Bulleit Distilling Co.)
  3. Gallrein Farms – Offers a family-friendly experience with seasonal activities like pumpkin picking, hayrides, and a petting zoo. It’s a great way to enjoy Kentucky’s agricultural heritage. (Approx. 8 miles from Bulleit Distilling Co.)
  4. Shelbyville Historic District – Take a stroll through downtown Shelbyville to enjoy the historic buildings, local shops, and quaint cafes. The area offers a glimpse into the town’s rich history and charm. (Approx. 4 miles from Bulleit Distilling Co.)
  5. Weissinger Hills Golf Course – A beautifully maintained golf course that offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels. The scenic views and serene environment make for a perfect day on the greens. (Approx. 6 miles from Bulleit Distilling Co.)

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Bulleit Distilling Co.?

Milano Italian Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (502) 437-0459. Their address is 1745 Midland Trail, Shelbyville, KY 40065.

Fiesta Mexicana: This spot boasts a 4.2-star rating. You can call them at (502) 437-2140. Find them at 1815 Midland Trail, Shelbyville, KY 40065 for a vibrant Mexican dining experience.

Claudia Sanders Dinner House: With a 4.2-star rating, this restaurant offers Southern-style fare in an elegant setting. Contact them at (502) 633-5600. Located at 3202 Shelbyville Rd, Shelbyville, KY 40065, it’s a place steeped in history and flavor.

What hotels are near Bulleit Distilling Co.?

Hampton Inn Simpsonville: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (502) 405-3243. Their address is 814 Aristocrat Ct, Simpsonville, KY 40067.

Wingate by Wyndham Louisville East: This hotel boasts a 4.2-star rating. You can call them at (502) 785-0850. Find them at 12301 Alliant Ct, Louisville, KY 40299 for a comfortable stay.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites La Grange – Louisville Area NE, an IHG Hotel: With a 4.2-star rating, this hotel offers a great location and amenities. Contact them at (502) 265-1816. Located at 1150 Commerce Pkwy, La Grange, KY 40031, it’s a perfect spot for travelers looking for convenience and comfort.