Bardstown is known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World” and is an official trailhead of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience. Last November, Heaven Hill Distillery announced a multi-year $65 million investment to expand production and renovate its visitor center. Established in 1935 by the Shapira family, who still owns and operates the company today, Heaven Hill maintains over 1.5 million barrels aging in 57 warehouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson Counties.
The family-owned Preservation Distillery is Bardstown’s first official craft bourbon operation, producing small-batch, pot-distilled bourbon. One of the newest distilleries is Lux Row Distillers, with the capacity to produce three million gallons a year with its 43-foot copper still and six barrel warehouses. Willett Distillery has been around since 1936; the oldest in the county is Barton 1792 Distillery, founded in 1879.
Tourists enjoy their bourbon with a bite at Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar, an on-site restaurant at the Bardstown Bourbon Co. distillery, located on a 100-acre working farm.
County Seat: Bardstown; Dick Heaton, mayor; cityofbardstown.org
Estimated 2019 population: 45,851
No. of households: 17,324
Median household income: $55,182
Bardstown-Nelson County Chamber of Commerce: Samantha Brady, executive director; bardstownchamber.com
Nelson County Economic Development Agency: Kim Huston, president; nceda.net
Judge-Executive: Dean Watts; nelsoncountyky.com
Bardstown-Nelson County Tourism & Convention Commission: Mike Mangeot, executive director; visitbardstown.com