Bardstown, Kentucky - January 30, 2020: Bardstown Bourbon Capital welcome sign

Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2024

SEPTEMBER 13-15, 2024
BARDSTOWN, KY

THE SHORT VERSION

Bourbon novices and nerds unite: taste from dozens of barrels, learn secrets of the trade, and chat with master distillers in the Bourbon Capital of the World.

Whether you’ve only shot whiskey at college bars or you’ve spent decades learning about the history of bourbon, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival is your chance to drink, learn and drink some more. What started as a Bourbon tasting dinner 33 years ago has evolved into an annual drink-fest where whiskey lovers from around the world gather. The festival, on the grounds of historic Spalding Hall, draws over 50,000 visitors to the Bourbon Capital of the World –– Bardstown is home to 11 local distilleries and a storied Kentucky Bourbon Trail

A festival pass includes an exclusive tasting glass from which you can sample 200 whiskeys from 60 distilleries (if you dare). You can also attend sets by local bands and the ongoing Bourbon:30 talk show, where bourbon experts tackle the industry’s burning concerns: the release of Maker’s Mark’s oldest bourbon yet; the newest distilleries opening in Kentucky; and “premium pricing” — AKA, why some bottles cost $6,953 and other cost $12.98. (Use your glass to try and taste the difference.) 

If you want to do more than sample spirits and just hang out, you can attend ticketed events like a daily “Bourbon Opener” for $95 with guided tastings paired with cheeses and salamis, as well as cocktail-making classes and a blend-your-own whiskey workshop guided by Castle & Key Distillery’s Brett Connors. These add-ons are best suited for the nerds looking to maximize their experience with experts. 

And, if you’re a non-drinker, or are truly just there for the vibes, you might not even need a ticket: the family-friendly Bourbon Barrel Relay and the Bourbon Capital Bites food truck area are both right next to the festival grounds and are open to the public. You can watch the races, snack on local grub and visit the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Spalding Hall for your Bourbon knowledge fix.

The Specs

  • Around 50,000 visitors attend the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
  • GA Admission tickets for the full weekend cost $180; single-day tickets, which are only available for Sunday, are selling for $105. GA tickets grant festival access, but separate tickets must be purchased for certain individual events within the festival. VIP ticket options range from $595 to $1295 per ticket but are all currently sold out.
  • While you’re in the area, be sure to check out our Louisville recs.

FAQs

What is the closest airport to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival?

Louisville International Airport is a 40-minute drive from Bardstown. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival will run free shuttles between the Marriot Downtown Louisville and the festival site if you’re looking for transportation.

Where does the Kentucky Bourbon Festival take place?

At Spalding Hall: 114 N. Fifth Street, Bardstown, KY.

Is the Kentucky Bourbon Festival kid-friendly?

No––you must be 21 or over to gain entry into festival grounds. But spectators of all ages can attend the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay outside the festival grounds. 

Can I buy a ticket when I get there?

The tickets tend to sell out, so it is rare to have any available at the gate.

Which distilleries will be pouring at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival?

The 2024 Distillery Partners are Heaven Hill Distillery, Angel’s Envy, Bardstown Bourbon Company, FourRoses Bourbon, James B. Beam Distilling Co., Maker’s Mark, Old Forester, Preservation Distillery + Farm, Whiskey House Kentucky, 1792, Barrell Craft Spirits, Bulleit Fronteir Whiskey, Chicken Cock Whiskey, Green River, Kentucky Owl, Limestone Branch Distillery, Lux Row Distillers, Michter’s American Whiskey, Milam & Greene Whiskey, New Riff, Rabbit Hole, Wild Turkey, Wilderness Trail Distillery, Augusta Distillery, Barrel House Distilling Co., Bespoken, Burton Jame’s Whiskey, Blue Note, Bluegrass Distillers, Buzzard’s Roost, Casey Jones Distillery, Castle & Key Distillery, Dueling Grounds Distillery, E.J. Curley & Co., Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Filmland Spirits, Fresh Bourbon Distillery, Hartfield & Co., Heaven’s Door, Hemingway Whiskey, Jeptha Creed Distillery, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg Bourbon Company, Log Still Distillery, Luca Mariano, Lucky Seven Spirits, Neeley Family Distillery, Nulu Straight Bourbon Whiskey, O.H. Ingram River Aged, Old Louisville Whiskey Co., Old Steelhouse Distillery, Penelope, Bourbon, Pursuit Spirits, Registered Distillery One, Red Line Whiskey Co., The Bard Distillery, Three Chord, Town Branch Bourbon and Whiskey Thief Distilling Co.

Videos

BY Sara Luzuriaga