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Kentucky bourbon distillery, horse farm tours for your Derby trip

Kentucky is a place of pride and passion. Ask anyone you meet from the Bluegrass State, and they’ll probably say something about bourbon, or horses, or basketball. They’d like to think they are the best at all three. 

So naturally, whenever we bring groups to check the Kentucky Derby off their bucket list, we take the time to check out the local scenery and experience the Commonwealth of Kentucky each spring. Bourbon distillery tours and horse farm tours attract visitors year round, and there is no prettier time than the first weekend in May.

Let us help with your itinerary in exploring all that Kentucky has to offer. The weather is notoriously fickle, so pack your rain gear just in case.

Most of the bigger tour destinations are outside of Louisville. Bourbon distilleries are primarily south near Bardstown or east near Frankfort. Horse farms are largely found between Lexington and Versailles.

In 1789, Baptist minister Elijah Craig developed bourbon. Since the first barrel, it has helped shape Kentucky, particularly Bardstown. Known as the Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown features 11 unique distilleries nearby. The distillery options around Bardstown include:

Once you’ve dipped your own bottle in the Maker’s Mark gift shop, head east towards Frankfort, Versailles, Lexington and Horse Country. Now there’s no shortage of distilleries there, too. In fact, if you only have one tour day, we recommend spending it between Frankfort and Lexington for a blended tour of a horse farm and a distillery. The distillery options around Frankfort include:


After you have explored the mission-style architecture of Four Roses or the ambiance of Woodford Reserve, you won’t have to look far for a horse farm. It’s here that Poa pratensis, Kentucky bluegrass, thrives in the pastures of the manicured horse farms. Almost 80 percent of Derby-winning horses were born in Kentucky, where a massive layer of limestone has helped make calcium-rich soil perfect for raising strong horses that can withstand the rigors of racing.

And once those thoroughbreds win graded stakes races, they retire to become breeding stallions on Kentucky farms. Don’t miss a chance to check out one of these beautiful stops, and maybe pick some clothes up for your trip to the Kentucky Derby!


Let Bucket List Events plan your next Kentucky Derby, including a Friday spent in the beautiful countryside of Kentucky, exploring a horse farm and a bourbon distillery. Click here to view our packages for the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

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