Second stop: Jim Beam
It may be surprising that the world's best selling bourbon comes from a distillery in quaint Clermont, Kentucky. Unlike Woodford Reserve, the Jim Beam distillery produces millions of bottles every year with worldwide distribution, with production rates on par with Tennessee's Jack Daniels whiskey. This expansive distillery produces several variations of Jim Beam: white label (original), black label (double-aged and one of my favorites), rye, Red Stag (cherry-infused), 7-year, and green label (charcoal filtered). In addition, they also make a handful of finer small batch bourbons: Booker's, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, and Baker's (each with their own intricacies). But, naturally those are a bit pricier.
As with many distillery tours, you'll get to walk through the dark and aromatic barrel houses where the barrels of distilled liquor are aged. Also, you'll be guided through the Stillhouse Exhibit where the original copper distiller from the 1800s sits. Most importantly, you'll conclude the tour with a tasting of a variety of bourbons. I suggest tasting one of the small batch brands, notably Booker's.
In 2012, they will begin a more in depth tour through the complicated distilling processes for those wanting a behind-the-scenes look, so plan your visit soon!