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The hard hat tour was awesome! - Buffalo Trace Distillery
- United States
- Kentucky (KY)
- Frankfort - Things to Do
- Buffalo Trace Distillery
The hard hat tour was awesome!
Buffalo Trace was top of my list and had a note in my calendar to book as soon as our date opened up. I was so bummed when all the you companies and/or boys filled the spaces right out of the chute. I put my name on the waitlist and got the exact tour we wanted, so all good. The hard hat your (you don’t actually wear a hard hat) is 90 minutes long and the best distillery tour I’ve taken. Our guy Fred was THE BEST! I was surprised that for a free tour we still did a tasting at the end. It was smart on their part because two of the items I don’t think of when I think of Buffalo Trace, we ended up buying in the gift shop. What a great experience.
We weren’t able to take a tour as this was a spur of the moment visit. We went to the gift shop and enjoyed the free tastings. LeAnn was super fun as our tastings hostess. We were fortunate to come on a day when you were able to buy two bottles rather than one of some of their offerings. Highly recommend this as a must stop. Next time we’ll make reservations for tour.
The tour was very informative and well organized. The distillery also has a small cafe, which was a nice touch. I also appreciate their high standards for using non-GMO corn.
We visited this Historic Distillery and found it very interesting. The tour guide was very good, Knowledgeable, entertaining, and Informative. The Bourbon is very Good. the Store has many items including the Bourbon, they limited liquor purchases to one bottle per type per person. Highly recommended.
This was a walking tour followed by a tasting. It was extremely informative. I just wish that the tour guide would have waiting until the entire group was together before he shared information. We bought Eagle Rare before the tour ~ good thing we did, as it was sold out when we returned. We bought two bottles and are now in "bourbon jail" for 90 days!!!! The tasting was good. I loved the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream combined with Freddy's Root Beer ~ hope it tastes as good with store-bought root beer!!!
Really fun experience with my husband, will be back to do another tour. We did the trace tour and were able to get the exclusive bourbon for the day Eagle Rare. Will try to go again when they have the EH Taylor. Tour guide was long winded but she was great.
Bourbon Fun During A Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour
By Author Daryl and Mindi Hirsch
Posted on Published: May 30, 2016 - Last updated: October 21, 2023
Check out our experience taking a Buffalo Trace distillery tour and see what we ate for lunch after our fun tour of the famous Frankfort Kentucky distillery.
Imagine our surprise when we made a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for our Buffalo Trace distillery tour in Frankfort and met our tour guide from … wait for it … Philadelphia .
With a southern drawl and a warm, welcoming smile, the tour guide seemed every bit like a local at first glance. We totally assumed that he was born and bred in Kentucky until he shared the news that not only was he from Philadelphia but also that he had once lived just five blocks from the house that we left behind when we answered the call to travel .
Table of Contents
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Located just 660 miles from Philadelphia, Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort feels like another world. Instead of the high rises and parking lots that define the Philadelphia landscape, horse farms and distilleries dot the grassy landscape of Frankfort’s rolling green hills.
Originally called the O.F.C. Distillery and later the George T. Stagg Distillery, Buffalo Trace makes many bourbons beyond its signature Buffalo Trace whiskey including cult favorite Pappy Van Winkle and Blanton’s.
Inspired by wild buffalo that once roamed freely along the Kentucky River on passes called traces, parent Sazerac Company renamed the company to Buffalo Trace in 1999. The parent company is currently spending $1.2 billion to expand the distillery’s campus.
Discover our favorite bourbon cocktails .
Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour
We know how we got to Buffalo Trace from Philadelphia – a simple detour from Cincinnati to Nashville during our epic road trip. After visiting Graeter’s , the country’s greatest ice cream company, it was a no-brainer for us to visit Buffalo Trace, arguably the country’s greatest bourbon distiller.
But how did tour guide Fred Mozenter get to Buffalo Trace from Philadelphia? It’s not exactly a normal path to move from Philadelphia to Frankfort. And how did he end up with a coveted job working at the distillery where he traded his Philly accent for a southern drawl?
It turns out that Mozenter worked for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) as a store manager for 34 years before taking an early retirement package. Upon retiring, he decided to pursue his true passion – bourbon.
That passion led him to Kentucky and his second career at Buffalo Trace. Hired because he could “make bourbon fun”, Mozenter has been giving tours at Buffalo Trace since he moved south to Frankfort with no end in sight.
History And Fun
During the Buffalo Trace Bourbon tour, Mozenter educated us about the company’s storied history which dates back hundreds of years and survived prohibition.
The oldest continuing operating distillery, Buffalo Trace distributed bourbon for “medicinal purposes” during prohibition. Today, the distillery displays memorabilia from its history including site maps and pictures detailing the long, eventful past.
The Buffalo Trace Hard Hat Tour shows Buffalo Trace Bourbon in its various stages as it transforms from corn mash to liquid gold.
Starting with the cookhouse and the huge fermentation vats, the tour is hands-on – literally. During the tour, participants get to taste fermenting mash and wash their hands with freshly distilled bourbon, activities that let all five senses experience the distilling process.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon Tasting
“All bourbons are whiskey but not all whiskeys are bourbons.”
We learned that 95% of all bourbon is distilled in Kentucky and the state’s limestone water gives bourbon its distinct flavor. We also learned that the remaining 5% is made elsewhere in the United States , but the taste is not the same without Kentucky’s limestone water.
At the end of the tour, we tasted four different Buffalo Trace brands distilled at Buffalo Trace including Clix vodka and decadently rich bourbon cream . As an unexpected treat, we indulged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon chocolates made by a local chocolatier, Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory. All of these products and more are available at the distillery’s onsite Buffalo Trace gift shop.
We will long remember Buffalo Trace’s distillery tour, especially when we drink Buffalo Trace bourbon. We will especially remember the tour guide, Fred Mozenter.
Just like his getting the job at Buffalo Trace, us meeting him was “meant to be.” Hearing his story validated our decision to follow our dreams of traveling and tasting the world.
Buffalo Trace Distillery is located at 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601, United States.
Lunch in Frankfort
Since man cannot live on bourbon and chocolate alone, you should follow your distillery tour with lunch at one of the many restaurants near Buffalo Trace Distillery. If you like u nique American sandwiches , be sure to order a Kentucky Hot Brown.
After our tour, we followed these instructions and ate a Grilled Kentucky Hot Brown at Gibby’s in downtown Frankfort. Located just two miles from the distillery, Gibby’s is a local institution and a perfect spot for a post-bourbon tour lunch.
Gibby’s is located at 204 W Broadway St, Frankfort, KY 40601, United States.
Schedule A Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour
Buffalo Trace tours are complimentary but must be reserved in advance.
We took the Hard Hat tour which we highly recommend; however this tour is on hiatus during the renovations. You can make free reservations when it resumes. Other tours include the Trace tour, the Expansion tour, the Old Taylor tour and the Bourbon Barrel tour.
All tours include bourbon tastings. Hooray!
Buffalo Trace Planning Checklist
- Buy discounted travel insurance from Heymondo .
- Find a great Frankfort hotel via Booking.com , Expedia or Hotels.com .
- Find an apartment in Frankfort with a kitchen .
- Buy a universal travel adaptor from Amazon so you can charge your laptop, cell phone and camera the USA.
- Buy a copy of Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide from Amazon.
- Arrange a rental car for your trip.
Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour FAQs
The Buffalo Trace distillery is located at 113 Great Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Kentucky.
No. Buffalo Trace is not on the Bourbon Trail. This is because the distillery is not part of the Kentucky Distillers Association.
Buffalo Trace distillery tours are free.
Buffalo Traces offers seven different tours of its distillery. Check each tour’s details to confirm its length.
You can make reservations via the Buffalo Trace website.
Thirsty For More In Kentucky?
Check out the best places to drink in Louisville , just a one-hour drive from the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
View the latest Web Story .
Buffalo Trace Distillery – a must-visit Kentucky bourbon destination! This top-notch facility, voted “2018 Distiller of the Year”, is over 200 years old and found in Frankfort. Even if you’re not a bourbon lover, you’ll find enjoyment in your visit. The property itself covers 440 acres, and tours and tastings are free. Don’t miss out!
How to Get to the Buffalo Trace Distillery
Come visit Buffalo Trace Distillery, just 28 miles away from Lexington , Kentucky, or 55 miles from Louisville . Buffalo Trace is a National Historic Landmark that’s sure to impress.
Distillery Hours and Tour Prices
The wide variety of tours at Buffalo Trace Distillery run Monday through Friday and include a complimentary tasting. Note that reservations are required and tours are not available on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Discover the rich history and delicious bourbon of Buffalo Trace with a variety of tours! The Trace Tour is the most popular option that offers a glimpse into the brand’s past and an introduction to the iconic property . Available daily, no reservations required!
Learn about our pre-prohibition distilling history on the National Historic Landmark Tour, which focuses on the architecture and Buffalo Trace property, mostly from 1933 to 1953.
Get spooked on the Ghost Tour with legendary stories of haunted areas like Stony Point Mansion and The Old Taylor House. This one is only available Thursday through Saturday evenings.
For bourbon enthusiasts, the Bourbon Barrel Tour is the perfect pick. Discover the bourbon aging process, barrels, and what happens to them when they can no longer store the beloved bourbon.
Fun Fact : Buffalo Trace is America’s oldest continually-operating distillery.
The Whiskey Making Process
Come explore the secrets of the 90-proof (45% alcohol by volume) whiskey at EH Taylor Tour and Buffalo Trace’s Hard Hat Tour! Get an exclusive look at the distilling process, from grain to bottle.
Experience the unique “Bourbon Pompeii” on the E. H. Taylor Tour and learn about the man himself, while the Hard Hat Tour takes you on a journey from the grain distillery process to bottling. The tours offer sensory delights that will make any whiskey lover swoon.
Don’t miss your chance to discover how your favorite drink is made – tours run on Saturdays too!
The Tasting and Buffalo Trace Distillery Brands
Meet Mr. Freddie Johnson – the third-generation Buffalo Trace Distillery employee, local celebrity (Neat: The Story of Bourbon), and 2018 Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee. As a VIP Visitor Lead at the distillery, Freddie is the ultimate tasting guide, making sipping and sampling an unforgettable experience.
During my visit, Freddie showcased his expertise with a selection of premium products – Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Rare Eagle Bourbon Whiskey, Wheatley Vodka, Bourbon Cream (think a beefed-up Bailey’s Irish Cream), and Freddie’s Root Beer. He even explained how to properly sip and get your mouth warmed up for the bourbon tasting.
Trust me when I say that pairing Bourbon Cream with soda is the ultimate dessert-like experience! I couldn’t resist taking both products home to enjoy later. And, of course, we couldn’t leave without indulging in a Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Ball made with Buffalo Trace.
Thanks to Freddie’s charming personality and passion for all things bourbon, my visit to Buffalo Trace Distillery was an incredible highlight and a must-do for any spirit enthusiast.
Buffalo Trace brands include O.F.C. Vintages, Van Winkle, Bourbon Cream, Benchmark, Wheatley Vodka, Ancient Age, and many more. One of the most coveted photography spots at Buffalo Trace Distillery is inside, with the hundreds of aging barrels as the backdrop.
Masks were required during my visit, but I will cherish the photo opportunity and remember learning about an essential part of Kentucky’s history.
Bonus Features at The Trace
Don’t forget to check out the Whiskey Vault, where rare and oldest bottles are displayed. As your tour guide explains the collection’s significance, appreciate the vast history within this tiny space. Cap off your visit at the George T. Staff Gift Shop and Gallery, where you will find signature logo apparel, collector’s items, bourbons, Wheatley Vodka, and more.
If you can’t make it in person, you can do a virtual tour at buffalotracedistillery.com/virtualtour .
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Buffalo Trace Dedicates New Stillhouse, Debuts Expanded Tours
Bourbon , Lifestyle | February 21, 2023
Buffalo Trace Distillery can now brag that its whiskey making will be at an all-time high, thanks to the new still house they recently officially commissioned.
According to a statement from Buffalo Trace, the new still is 40 feet tall and can make 60,000 gallons of whiskey a day.
In fact, it’s a duplicate of Buffalo Trace’s existing still, allowing the distillery to double production on their current brands in the portfolio such as Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Weller, Blanton’s, and E.H. Taylor Jr.
Buffalo Trace Distillery can now brag that its whiskey making will be at an all-time high, thanks to the new still house they recently officially commissioned. (image via Buffalo Trace)
“We are really looking forward to starting up our new still so we can make more bourbon whiskey for our fans,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “The new stillhouse is adjacent to the existing stillhouse. We put a lot of work into matching our existing still to ensure the whiskey we produce remains consistent … and we will be in full production with both stills in the coming days.”
Whiskey enthusiasts can see the new stillhouse up close when they take Buffalo Trace’s new Hard Hat tour, expanded with a new tour route and new sites.
The distiller noted that the Hard Hat tour was always a fan favorite, but due to the Distillery’s on-going construction of the still house and other key elements of the tour, it’s been unavailable since 2019.
Now, guests can see the new still house and other Buffalo Trace’s additions as part of its $1.2-billion expansion, including the new cookers, which span three floors at 22 feet tall; peek inside the Distillery’s 93,000-gallon fermenters; and explore the new dry house, which can produce 12,000 pounds of dried grain per hour.
The new Hard Hat tour lasts about 90 minutes and includes a tasting after the tour. There is no charge for the tour or tasting.
Buffalo Trace’s “Trace Tour” is also expanding and will include more insight into the bourbon process and production through a mix of technology and new tour stops in the barrel filling and dumping areas.
The Trace Tour and Hard Hat Tour join Buffalo Trace’s Old Taylor Tour. All tours and tastings are free and start and end in Buffalo Trace’s Visitor Center, which was expanded in 2020 and now encompasses 33,000-square-feet total.
“We are so excited to welcome new and repeat guests to come see our new stillhouse and experience our new tour offerings,” said Tyler Adams, Homeplace general manager. “The major expansion projects are now complete, so we have lots of new areas visitors can see on both our Hard Hat Tour and our expanded Trace Tour.”
Those who want to visit Buffalo Trace can get more information and make tour reservations at www.buffalotracedistillery.com .
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- Russia Tours
- Cultural Tours
- Moscow to St. Petersburg Tour
10-day Moscow to St. Petersburg Tour 10 Days | Moscow, Ivanovo, Plyos, Volgorechensk, Palekh, Shuya, St. Petersburg
Join us on 10-day Moscow to St. Petersburg tour, a fascinating historical journey through time to discover Russia’s ancient, Imperial, Soviet, and modern history. Discover the highlights of Russia’s national capital, Moscow, the ancient “Golden Ring” city of Ivanovo, and the “Northern Capital” of St. Petersburg. Bustling Moscow, home to the Kremlin and Red Square, offers unique insights into Russia’s Soviet past. The attractions of Ivanovo, one of the principal medieval Golden Ring cities, include a famous monastery and textile industry. Nearby towns offer river views, old merchants’ houses, and folk-art traditions. Meanwhile, the tour’s end point, Peter the Great’s masterpiece of St. Petersburg, offers magnificent Imperial palaces; elegant streets, monuments, and canals; as well as one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums.
During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost): Visit to the Armoury in the Kremlin (except Thursdays); Night city tour, ‘Evening lights of Moscow’; River cruise on the motor ship ‘Flotilla Radisson Royal’; Tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre , concerts, the circus, or other performances.
During your free time, for an additional fee, we offer visits to: Nikolay Dementiev’s Garden; Burilin Ivanovo Museum of Local History; Museum of the Soviet Car Industry.
During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost): Visit to the Krasnaya Presnya jewellery factory; River boat cruise (May to September); Caviar tasting at the fish farm.
During your free time in St. Petersburg, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost): Boat tour along the rivers and canals; Night city tour, which includes watching bridges open; Tickets to the Mariinsky Theatre .
During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost): State Russian Museum (Mikhailovsky Palace); Mikhailovsky Castle ; Menshikov Palace ; Pavlovsky Palace; Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera); Peter the Great’s Cabin ; Grand Model of Russia (a vast indoor scale model depicting Russia’s scenery, buildings, and everyday life); Petrovskaya Aqvatoria Museum-Model of St. Petersburg and Suburbs of the 18th century.
- All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan type car, 3-7 pax by minivan, 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14+ pax by 40-50 seat bus);
- Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
- Sightseeing tour programme in each city with local, English-speaking guides;
- Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
- Tickets for trains from Moscow – Ivanovo and Ivanovo – St. Petersburg;
- Visa support for Russian tourist visa;
- In groups of 11 or more travellers, 1 person travels free of charge and is accommodated in a single room.
- Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour;
- Full board (lunches and dinners);
- Hotel charges for additional services;
- Consular fees for Russia tourist visa;
- International flight tickets before and after the tour;
- Personal travel insurance;
- Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated).
Prices per person
Accommodation, tour request, 10-day moscow to st. petersburg tour reviews, post a comment, more similar tours to 10-day moscow to st. petersburg tour.
The Trace Tour
The Trace Tour is an incredible introduction to the history and science of bourbon at Buffalo Trace Distillery. You will walk amidst the path of rolling bourbon barrels. You will be captivated by the alluring smell and atmosphere of bourbon sleeping inside the aging warehouses. Our engaging tour guides can teach guests of all levels and will bring the story of Buffalo Trace to life.
The Trace Tour is open to all ages and is ADA accessible.
All tours are complimentary and include a tasting of some of our award-winning products.
Reservations are required.
Tour sizes are limited. Check availability of all tours by time and date.
The Trace Tour leaves at least hourly or more frequently as needed.
Due to limited quantities of our whiskeys, we only offer a few brands for tasting and purchasing in our Visitor Center. Learn More
Tour & Tasting
113 Great Buffalo Trace,
Frankfort, KY 40601
Buffalo Trace Distillery Tours & Tastings
Monday - Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
Buffalo Trace Distillery is closed Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Gift Shop Hours
Monday - Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
Click here to view information on our Photography Guidelines
Other tours you might like.
Old Taylor Tour
Botanical Gardens Tour
Taste of the Trace
Hard Hat Tour
National Historic Landmark Tour
Buffalo Trace Daily
Predicting what the distillery gift shop will be selling tomorrow
Buffalo Trace Tour Information
hours minutes seconds
August 17th – 23rd Tour Dates Become Available
Step 1) Pick a reservation date
The Buffalo Trace reservation calendar will open on Wednesday, June 21, at 10:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time) for tours taking place August 17th-23rd. You may book your reservation date online at reservations.buffalotracedistillery.com , but availability goes quick!
Once you click on a date, you will be prompted to select the type of tour you wish to join. Not all tours are available every day so you may have to browse different dates to find a specific tour.
Below are the choices to select from.
Hard Hat TOUR : Due to maintenance The Hard Hat Tour will not be available through August 7
- A start-to-finish tour of the distilling process throughout the facility.
- For safety purposes, this tour is not available for guests under 12 years old.
- This tour route is not ADA-accessible.
- All tours are complimentary and include a 15-minute tasting.
- Note that no allocated bottle released that day is held for you.
- Reservations are require
Expansion Tour : Limited Time Only
- A hard hat tour of the Distillery’s expansion to ferment, distill and bottle their whiskies.
- For safety purposes, this tour is not available for guests under 12 years old. This tour route is not ADA-accessible.
- Reservations are required.
Old Taylor Tour
- Tour of the Old Taylor House, the OFC Building, OFC Fermenter #7 nicknamed “Old Taylor”, and Warehouse C.
- The tour route includes stairs and there is a lot of walking involved so comfortable shoes are recommended.
- Those with acrophobia and/or fear of walking across metal grates may want to seek a different tour.
- Tour gives you the full history of the Distillery.
- Visitors of all ages are welcome to join us for this tour.
- Please be prepared for a significant amount of walking so comfortable shoes are recommended.
- The Trace Tour is open to all ages and is ADA-accessible.
Step 2) Enter your reservation Information
Next, you will need to enter the following information to continue with the booking process.
- Number of Guests over 21
- Number of Guests under 21
- How did you hear about us?
Step 3) Special Requests
They will then ask for any special requests regarding ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) or if it is for a special occasion.
Step 4) Review Your Order and Confirm
You will receive a bar code like the one shown below with an order confirmation number once you have finished and confirmed the reservation. Past guests have noted that these can be transferred to other parties without notifying the Distillery and are just scanned at the beginning of the tour.
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