Home » Nelson County: ‘Bourbon Capital of the World’

Nelson County: ‘Bourbon Capital of the World’

nelson county bourbon distillery
Lux Row Distillers in Bardstown, the newest stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, has six barrel warehouses and a 43-foot custom copper still.

Nelson County is all about collaboration, because working together makes things work. Offices for the Nelson County Economic Development Agency, Bardstown-Nelson County Chamber of Commerce, the Bardstown Main Street Program and Bardstown Tourism are all in the same building on Court Square, collectively called a “welcome center.”

Takigawa Corporation America, headquartered in Japan, opened its first manufacturing facility in the United States in the summer of 2019, a $46 million, 180,000-s.f. operation in Bardstown that produces packaging for a variety of consumer goods.

Bardstown, the county seat of Nelson County, is 35 minutes south of Louisville. Established in 1780, Bardstown is the second oldest town in Kentucky and is known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World.”

Bourbon is an $8.6 billion industry, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, and generates more than 20,100 jobs. In 2019 the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour destinations welcomed 1.7 million visitors. The Bardstown Bourbon Co. opened its Visitors Center Experience in September 2019. Bardstown itself is also home to Barton 1792 Distillery, Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, Lux Row Distillers, Preservation Distillery & Farm, Willett Distillery and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Four Roses Warehouse & Bottling Facility is also in Nelson County, in Cox’s Creek, Ky.

Over three dozen monks reside at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Ky. They have supported themselves with donations from quiet getaways and retreats, and through products they make from scratch and sell online.

County seat: Bardstown
Dick Heaton, mayor

2019 population: 45,932

Average median age: 38

Households: 18,469

Median household income: $60,299

Labor force: 23,218

Bardstown-Nelson County Chamber of Commerce:


Nelson County Economic Development Agency:
Kim Huston, president

Dean Watts

Bardstown-Nelson County Tourism & Convention Commission:
Samantha Brady, executive director

Largest employer: American Fuji Seal