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Buffalo Trace Distillery - Story Ideas

Roll out a whole barrel of bourbon!
For those at a loss on what to buy that person who has everything, think bourbon—a whole barrel of bourbon, to be exact! Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, Ky offers bourbon enthusiasts the unique opportunity to hand-select their very own barrel of premium bourbon. Visit the Trace to experience an amazing day of southern hospitality and leave with the ultimate souvenir!

The road to buying a barrel begins with selecting a brand such as Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare Single Barrel, Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel or Blanton's Single Barrel. Warehouse Supervisor, Ronnie Eddins, will first pull several barrels of bourbon that meet the taste profile of the brand and then samples will be drawn directly from the barrel. Ronnie has more than 45 years of experience and is an expert in barrel selection. While the barrels must meet a certain criteria for the brand, each barrel will also have different nuances, making it unique and one-of-a-kind.

The barrel buying experience begins upon arrival at the Trace. Guests are greeted by the Buffalo Trace staff. One of the distillery's expert tour guides will then lead a behind-the-scenes tour to educate guests on the finer points of bourbon distillation and the rich history surrounding the bourbon industry.

“We've offered the “Barrel Select” program for a few years now,” said Meredith Moody, marketing services director. “It started out as something we did for retailers, restaurants and such, but recently we've opened it up to individuals and we've had several takers. It's one heck of a gift!”

Next on the agenda is a wonderful lunch in the Elmer T. Lee Clubhouse. This log cabin is named after the Master Distiller Emeritus—one of only three living Master Distillers with a bourbon named after him. Lunch is attended by the folks at Buffalo Trace who are instrumental in making some of the best bourbon in the world—offering a chance to pick the brains of these industry-insiders and learning what to look for in barrel selection.

The barrel selection takes place in the legendary Warehouse H. Warehouse H is the only metal-clad warehouse at Buffalo Trace and it houses all of the Blanton's Bourbon. Blanton's is the original single barrel bourbon, first released in 1984. The bourbon samples are taken directly from the barrel. Tasting is done at barrel-strength and then again cut to 60 proof, allowing the products' natural aromas and flavors to come through. To aid in the selection process Buffalo Trace offers some expert guidance. Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley joins guests in Warehouse H to help sample the barrels and narrow it down to just one.

“We consider it an honor that we have consumers who love our product so much that they would want to buy an entire barrel,” said Wheatley. “It's really a testament to all the hard work that goes into producing bourbon and we're thrilled to be able to spend the time with the consumers and help them with their selections. It's the fun part of the job!”

After selection, the barrel will be pulled aside and prepared for bottling. Each bottle of bourbon will have a custom sticker or tag, letting everyone know it was specially selected. Once the bourbon is bottled it will go to the distributor and then to a local liquor store for pick up.

Prices and quantities of barrels vary depending upon the brand and how much the barrel yields. All bourbon is paid for the at the consumer's local retail outlet. For more information on the "Barrel Select" program please contact Beau Beckman at 502-783-5696, or email

Buffalo Trace Distillery offers tours year-round: Monday – Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tours start on the hour and are complimentary. During distilling season, September-June, a behind-the-scenes “Hard Hat” Tour is offered by appointment. The Hard Hat Tour is also free of charge. For more information please call 502-696-5926 or visit

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