Kentucky bourbon distillers release app to map trail, record tasting notes

jpatton1@herald-leader.comMay 28, 2013 

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail launched a new app Tuesday to help you find your way or find your bourbon. The app is available for iPhones and iPads from iTunes and on the redesigned Kybourbontrail.com.

The release coincides with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail's 14th anniversary, said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers' Association, which created the tour.

"It's amazing how much our signature tourist attraction — along with technology — has grown in just 14 years," Gregory said. "Our very first brochure was released on this date in 1999 to simply offer directions to our legendary distilleries. These new digital tools provide so much more to help visitors plan, coordinate and enjoy their Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience and beyond."

The app lets visitors get maps, GPS directions, tour hours and costs for the seven distilleries on the official trail; offers trip planning to help with menus and links to lodging and other attractions; and lets you digitally "stamp" your bourbon trail passport.

It also lets bourbon enthusiasts record tasting notes for dozens of Kentucky Distillers' Association bourbon and American whiskey brands, add ratings and share with friends through social media.

The seven distilleries on the trail are Four Roses and Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg; Heaven Hill's Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown; Jim Beam in Clermont; Maker's Mark in Loretto; Town Branch in Lexington; and Woodford Reserve in Versailles. The app includes the Bourbon Craft Trail distilleries, and KDA member brands including Bulleit.

For bourbon novices, the site has Bourbon 101, a tutorial on the "art and science behind crafting America's only native spirit."

The app is expected to boost the already soaring visits to Kentucky's distilleries by making the trail easier to find. With Town Branch Distillery in Lexington at one end and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Louisville at the other end, visitors can plan day trips around the "trail heads."

In 2012, more than half a million people went to at least one distillery on the trail, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. According to a University of Louisville economic impact study, the passport holders have been responsible for $35 million in tourism revenue since 2007.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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