The Kentucky Bourbon Trail (sometimes informally shortened to "the Bourbon Trail") is a program of the Kentucky Distillers' Association (KDA) to promote the bourbon industry in Kentucky. The KDA has registered the phrase "Kentucky Bourbon Trail" as a trademark.
The KDA launched the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999. At the time, it included seven of the eight distilleries in the region. In 2008, an eighth distillery, the Tom Moore Distillery, joined the Trail program. However, the Tom Moore Distillery was purchased by the Sazerac Company the following year, and at the end of that year both the Tom Moore Distillery and the Buffalo Trace Distillery, which was also owned by the Sazerac Company, withdrew from the KDA. The two Sazerac distilleries continue to host public tours, and a Sazerac spokesperson stated that they still feel they are "very much a part of the Bourbon Trail", but Sazerac wishes to promote its distilleries independently of the KDA.
In August 2012, the Town Branch Distillery was added to the trail, bringing the number of distilleries to seven. The Heaven Hill Evan Williams distillery in Louisville was added in May 2013, expanding the primary tour program to include eight destinations. In 2014, The Bulleit Experience at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery joined the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, raising the number to nine destinations.
In October 2012, the KDA announced that it would expand the Kentucky Bourbon Trail program to include a new "Craft Tour" of seven artisan distilleries. 2012 had the highest-ever rate of completion for participation in the trail. In December 2013, the Craft Tour added Danville's Wilderness Trail Distillery, thereby expanding to eight destinations.
The program sends free T-shirts to people who mail in a promotional "passport" that has been stamped by all the participating distilleries.
The ten current primary Bourbon Trail destinations are: