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    Touring Maker's Mark Distillery
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    I was recently invited to tour Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky.  It’s pretty out of the way as far as bourbon distilleries go, but the drive is beautiful.  It takes about an hour and a half to get there from Louisville, and most of that time is spent on winding Kentucky back roads.

    When I arrived at the Distillery, I was delighted to see the whole place was decorated for Christmas.  Wreaths and lights adorn the rick houses and other distillery buildings, and even the farm house where you start your tour is all decked out with Holiday cheer.

    It has been several years since my last visit, and so much has changed in just a short time.  There are new buildings going up all over the distillery, but even the newest of the buildings retains the charm of the Maker’s Mark campus.  I can’t wait to see what is in store for the future of this historical distillery.

    When you tour Maker’s Mark you have the chance to see the entire process from start to finish.  It’s a great educational experience that even a lot of kids will enjoy, and it’s a great way to teach them about agriculture and Kentucky history.  I learned a lot about the distillery, including their practice of extracting liquid from the spent mash and converting it into biofuel that partially powers the plant.  Don’t let the historical nature of this place fool you- they are always improving with an eye on the future.  They even taste your bourbon at least five times at various stages before it ever hits the bottle to assure a quality and consistent product.

    You get to tour rick houses and learn about the Angel’s share.  You’ll see the bottling line where bottles are filled, sealed, labeled, and hand-dipped in their signature red wax.  Then you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the proper bourbon tasting technique. 

    Perhaps my favorite part of my recent time at Maker’s Mark was viewing the Chihuly installation in one of the rick houses.  I’m a huge fan of Dale Chihuly.  I’ve been to his museum in Seattle and I’ve even watched Chihuly in the Hot Shop, an awesome documentary about his work.  I’m excited as a Kentuckian to have such an awesome display of his work in our state, alongside our native spirit, no less.  It’s the only Chihuly installation in the entire state of Kentucky, and you just have to see it in person.

    After your tour you will have a chance to purchase a bottle to dip in wax.  I did that with the newest Maker’s Mark offering, the Cask Strength.  While I was waiting for my wax to harden and cool, I checked out the gift shop and even did a little Christmas shopping for the bourbon enthusiasts on my list.  Their gift shop has everything the Maker’s Mark enthusiast in your life could ever want, including bourbon.

    If you’ve never been to Maker’s Mark, I highly recommend taking a tour.  There will be special self-guided candlelight tours December 6th and 13th from 5-8 p.m. that are free and open to the public.  This will be a festive way to tour the distillery, but even if you don’t make it for this, be sure to put Maker’s Mark on your list.

    Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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