After visiting Bulleit, I had some time to visit another distillery before closing time. I parked in the lot next to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience ($9) and went inside and paid the $12 admission.
I had about 40 minutes before the next tour, so I went next door and had a really good Mexican meal. The guys at the bar were killing time, just like me.
The building in which the “Experience” resides isn’t actually the original site of Evan Williams’ distillery. He operated across the street which is now the Kentucky Center for the Performing Art.
The “Experience” is a very slick multi-media presentation with a very practiced presenter. It depicts how Welsh immigrant Evan Williams was an important leader of the young Louisville and shows his influence in the area.
They do have a small scale distillery on the premises, complete with the glass viewing window, but the real operation is elsewhere. This one is only creating one barrel a day!
I learned how they take the first third and last third of the distilled product and combine it into the next batch. Kind of like sourdough bread.
The prohibition was a focus of the Experience, with fake storefronts inside. The owners did a small business with “medicinal spirits” and kept the speakeasies in booze during the prohibition. They also maintained a clothing store until that dark time in our history concluded. Now they’re the #2 producer of bourbon, with a bustling trade in the orient.
The tasting was set in a recreated speakeasy, with very cool tables.
The tour guide was so polished he almost seemed robotic. The glass on the right was a taste of Evan Williams Red Label, which is only sold in Japan and in the gift shop. Expensive!
That barrel was actually filled from the small still on the premises. Everything else was for show.
Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
528 W Main St
Louisville, KY 40202