For a small-size craft bourbon experience with high-end tastings, visit Limestone Branch Distillery in central Kentucky.
Limestone Branch Distillery is on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, which is made up of a couple dozen relatively small distilleries.
We've enjoyed touring some of these recently, including James E. Pepper, Whiskey Thief, Wilderness Trail, and Log Still. They often have a more personal feel, and it's fun to get off the beaten path a little bit.
We love touring the official Bourbon Trail as well! If you're new to the distillery world, check out my guide to touring the Bourbon Trail, as well as a closer look at stops like Maker's Mark and Bardstown Bourbon Company.
Now, let's focus on Limestone Branch! Here's what to expect if you tour.
Booking a Spot
As with all other distilleries these days, reserving a tour online is highly recommended.
At Limestone Branch, there are two different tours available, as well as a tasting experience by itself.
As of 2023, the basic tour costs $12. Plan for at least an hour. A guided tasting of bourbon, whiskey, and gin follows the tour.
We opted for the Yellowstone Select Experience, which was $25. It included specialty tastings, a souvenir glass and a Limestone Distillery barrel bung (plug).
Exploring Limestone Branch
This is a fairly small distillery location, with a visitor center, a small cocktail bar, and a gift shop.
We were early for our tour and tried one of the gin cocktails offered at Minor's Lounge Cocktail Bar.
Our tour started with a video and a brief history of the family that owns the distillery. They're part of the Beam family (related to Jim Beam).
Limestone Branch makes Yellowstone bourbon.
We learned that the original owners heard that the (then newly formed) Yellowstone National Park was extremely popular, so they thought a bourbon named Yellowstone would be popular too.
A portion of the Yellowstone whiskey proceeds go to Yellowstone National Park. (Which, by the way, is a truly great destination, as we can personally attest!)
Yellowstone was one of the bourbons prescribed medicinally during Prohibition. It was also the original mint julep bourbon! During the 1960's it was the most popular bourbon in the United States.
In the fermenting and distilling area, we got to taste the sour mash from two different containers – both the grain cooker and the fermenter.
Want to learn more about the bourbon-making process? We recommend the book Bourbon Curious by Fred Minnick.
We saw examples of the different stages of unaged distilled liquor.
We also got a look at the gin distilling still. Bowling & Burch is their line of botanical gin.
Limestone Branch's barrels and rickhouses are all at their partner facility near Bardstown, Lux Row.
On our tour, we also briefly met Corky – the distillery cat. He was sleeping, and I guess we weren't exciting enough to wake up for. But still – a cat!
In the Tasting Room
Our tasting featured five samples and two chocolates.
We tried the standard house Yellowstone bourbon, a 6-year bourbon only sold at the gift shop, two single-barrel employee picks, and a higher-end limited-run bourbon.
Of course the priciest one was my favorite.
After we finished here, we headed to a delicious meal at the nearby Rosewood Bar & Grill.
This was a fun distillery for high-end tastings! Have you visited yet? Let us know in the comments.