More than Distilling

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Louisville takes visitors through bourbon history

By Corinne Minard

Kentucky is home to many distillery tours, but one must-visit tour is the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. Located in downtown Louisville, Evan Williams was the first distillery on Whiskey Row and helps visitors explore bourbon history, the distilling process and bourbon itself through its many tours.

“We do a little bit more just distill here,” says Artisanal Distiller Jodie Filiatreau of the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.

Visitors who attend the Bourbon Bootcamp tour at the distillery get the opportunity to work directly with Filiatreau and his team to make a barrel of artisanal whiskey.

“We’ll take up to six people, and, basically, they’re gonna be a distiller for the day,” says Filiatreau. Those on the tour will help unload the grain, measure out the ingredients, add everything to the still and watch as the bourbon begins to take shape. “They’ll get to see all the sights, smells, everything that goes along with this,” adds Filiatreau.

Artisanal Distillery Manager Jodie Filiatreau in the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience’s onsite Artisanal Distillery

While Bourbon Bootcamp is a must for any bourbon aficionado, the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience offers other tours that are fun for new and veteran bourbon fans alike.

The Traditional Tour & Tasting takes visitors back in time to learn about Evan Williams, the first licensed distiller in Kentucky. You’ll learn about 18th century Louisville and how bourbon distilling has changed over the years. After, you’ll enjoy four bourbon tastings.

The Ideal Bartender Experience will introduce you to Tom Bollock, Louisville native and the first Black American to write and publish a cocktail book. He’ll tell you his story while you try three premium whiskeys and enjoy one of his cocktails.

During the Speakeasy Tasting Experience, you’ll travel back to the 1930s. Guess the password correctly and you’ll gain entry to a Speakeasy where you can enjoy tastings while learning about Prohibition. And don’t forget the Behind the Glass Experience, where artisanal distillers like Filiatreau will lead you through the tasting of three award-winning, aged products.

No matter what tour you choose, you’re guaranteed to learn something while enjoying bourbon.

“You learn history, you learn the art of distilling and you get to taste product. It’s a great all-around experience,” says Filiatreau.