Lexington’s Craft Brewery and Distillery Scene

Lexington craft brewery

Situated in the heart of Kentucky, Lexington boasts a vibrant craft brewery and distillery scene. Known for its deep bourbon roots, the city offers a unique blend of traditional methods and modern innovation in the production of fine beers and spirits. Visitors can explore a variety of distinguished beverages while immersing themselves in the rich history and community spirit that define Lexington’s brewing and distilling culture.

Key Takeaways

  • Lexington is renowned for its deep bourbon roots and vibrant craft brewery scene.
  • The city offers a unique blend of traditional methods and modern innovation in beverage production.
  • Visitors can explore a variety of distinguished beers and spirits.
  • The brewing and distilling culture in Lexington is deeply intertwined with the community.
  • Tours and events provide immersive experiences into the art of brewing and distilling.

Exploring Barrel House Distilling Company

History and Heritage

Barrel House Distilling Company is steeped in rich history and heritage. Located in the heart of Lexington, this distillery has been a cornerstone of the local craft scene. The founders have a deep passion for traditional distilling methods, ensuring every bottle tells a story of craftsmanship and dedication.

Signature Spirits

The distillery is renowned for its signature spirits, including their award-winning RockCastle Bourbon. Each spirit is crafted with meticulous attention to detail, from the selection of grains to the aging process. Visitors can explore the unique flavors that make Barrel House Distilling Company a standout in the industry.

Visiting Tips

When planning your visit, consider taking a guided tour to fully appreciate the distilling process. The tour offers a deep dive into the brewing and distilling processes, providing an in-depth understanding of the craftsmanship required. Don’t forget to check out the tasting sessions, where you can sample a variety of spirits and discover your favorites.

Bluegrass Distillers: A Local Gem

Lexington craft brewery distillery

Nestled in the heart of the Kentucky bluegrass region, Bluegrass Distillers is a craft bourbon distillery that has become a beloved local gem. This beautiful and special place offers a unique experience for bourbon enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

Unique Offerings

Bluegrass Distillers prides itself on producing high-quality, small-batch bourbons. Their unique offerings include a variety of handcrafted spirits that showcase the rich heritage of Kentucky bourbon. From their flagship Bluegrass Bourbon to limited-edition releases, there’s something for every palate.

Sustainability Practices

Committed to sustainability, Bluegrass Distillers implements eco-friendly practices throughout their production process. They source local ingredients, use energy-efficient equipment, and recycle waste materials. These efforts not only reduce their environmental footprint but also support the local community.

Tour Information

Visitors to Bluegrass Distillers can enjoy guided tours that provide an in-depth look at the distilling process. The tours include a walk through the distillery, an overview of their production methods, and a tasting session. Don’t miss the chance to sample their exquisite bourbons and learn about the art of bourbon making.

James E. Pepper Distillery: A Historic Revival

James E. Pepper Distillery Lexington

The Legacy of James E. Pepper

The James E. Pepper Distillery is a cornerstone of Lexington’s rich bourbon heritage. Established in the mid-1800s, it was once a major hub of Kentucky’s Bourbon distilling industry. After a long hiatus, the distillery has been revitalized, bringing back a Kentucky tradition and putting downtown Lexington back on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail map.

Distilling Process

At James E. Pepper Distillery, traditional methods are fused with modern innovation to produce a variety of distinguished spirits. Visitors can explore the intricate details of the distilling process, from the selection of grains to the aging of the bourbon in charred oak barrels. Custom tours offer a deep dive into the craftsmanship behind each bottle.

Tasting Experience

The highlight for many visitors is the tasting session, where participants can sample a range of beverages produced on-site. Each tasting is an educational experience, showcasing the unique flavor profiles and complexities of each spirit. It’s a perfect way to explore Louisville’s bourbon trail with the best distilleries, bars, and unique bourbon experiences.

Visiting the James E. Pepper Distillery is not just about tasting bourbon; it’s about celebrating Kentucky’s native spirit and its storied past.

Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.: A Dual Experience

Situated in the heart of Kentucky, known for its deep bourbon roots, the Lexington Brewery and Distillery Tour presents an opportunity to explore the intricate world of brewing and distilling. This tour combines the best of both worlds, offering insights into the production of fine beers and spirits.

Town Branch Distillery: Tradition Meets Innovation

Town Branch Distillery masterfully blends time-honored techniques with modern advancements to create a unique experience for visitors. Their commitment to quality is evident in every aspect of their operation, from the selection of ingredients to the final product. The distillery is a must-visit for anyone interested in the rich heritage and innovative spirit of Kentucky’s bourbon industry.

Blue Stallion Brewing Co.: A Taste of Tradition

European-Style Brews

At Blue Stallion Brewing, you can taste-test traditional German and British ales served from a traditional wooden bar. Sip your beer while you check out the brewing equipment, visible from the tasting room. Choose from over 20 beers on tap, including pilsners, lagers, dunkels, and stouts, and pair your brew with a homemade sandwich from Dad’s Favorites Deli. German beers are on point and there are 24 taps total with other styles also.

Taproom Experience

The taproom at Blue Stallion Brewing offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Strike up a game of pool or shuffleboard, or relax in the loft or outside on the patio. The knowledgeable and friendly staff are always ready to help you find the perfect brew. Visit Monday evenings and drink for charity, as 10 percent of sales go to local causes.

Events and Activities

Blue Stallion Brewing hosts a variety of events and activities throughout the year. From live music to trivia nights, there’s always something happening. The brewery also participates in local festivals and community events, making it a beloved spot for both locals and visitors alike.

Country Boy Brewing Co.: Local Flavor

Country Boy Brewing is unpretentious beer at its finest, with the Cougar Bait Blonde Ale as its flagship beer. It’s light and smooth, yet earthy, and is a great introduction to craft beer. Country Boy also brews beers for the more cultured beer drinker, like the Ghost Gose, a tart wheat beer with sea salt and coriander, or the Shotgun Wedding, a malty brown with real vanilla beans.

Unwind in the evening in the casual, unassuming atmosphere, enjoying the outdoor patio and picnic tables. Grab a bite from the food trucks that often park outside, making it a perfect spot for a relaxed evening.

Country Boy Brewing is deeply rooted in the local community. They frequently host events and collaborate with local businesses, ensuring that they are not just a brewery, but a community hub. Their commitment to local flavor and community spirit is truly commendable.

Ethereal Brewing: Crafting Unique Flavors

Specialty Beers

Ethereal Brewing is known as the "funkier side of farmhouse brewing," offering a unique blend of traditional Belgian farmhouse and American craft beers, along with sours. Try the Ethereal Kentucky Common for a smooth cream ale or the tasty Ethereal Lambda Oatmeal Stout. These specialty beers showcase the brewery’s commitment to crafting unique and flavorful beverages.

Brewery Atmosphere

The open and airy brick tasting room at Ethereal Brewing was re-purposed from an old Bourbon distillery. It’s a great place to unwind, play darts, or compete in friendly games. The ambiance is both rustic and inviting, making it a perfect spot to enjoy a pint with friends.

Events and Collaborations

Ethereal Brewing frequently hosts events and collaborates with other local breweries and distilleries. From tap takeovers to special release parties, there’s always something exciting happening. Keep an eye on their event calendar to join in on the fun and experience the vibrant community spirit.

Mirror Twin Brewing: Double the Fun

Mirror Twin Brewing Co. is the brainchild of Derek Defranco, head brewer and the right-handed "mirror twin" to his identical, left-handed twin brother. This was the inspiration for the twin draft system, where Derek will brew a batch of beer, and then brew a nearly identical batch, with one ingredient change, using a different yeast, grain, or hop infusion. When you visit, try the Mos’ Def, an IPA with mosaic hops and its mirror twin, the Citranomical, brewed with citra hops for a lighter, citrus taste. It is two beers for the price of one, served side by side. You can also choose from about 20 other beers on tap, from its flagship beers to experimental and rotating taps.

Pivot Brewing: Cider and Beyond

Cider Selection

Pivot Brewing is the only cider brewery in Kentucky that presses all its apples on-site. The brewery has become so popular over the last year that it enlisted the help of home brewers in the community to help press the 30,000 pounds of apples needed to keep up with production. Pivot focuses on dry and semi-sweet ciders, like the dry-hopped Rapacious Wit, or the strawberry Gingham cider. Its ciders are creative, as is the taproom, which includes eight different craft beers on tap, and customers are encouraged to make "concoctions," or mixes of ciders and beers. If you make a good one, you can write it on the board and name it!

Brewery Experience

The taproom at Pivot Brewing is a vibrant space where creativity flows as freely as the drinks. With eight different craft beers on tap, there’s always something new to try. The brewery also partners with local food trucks, offering a variety of gourmet options to pair with your drink. Come for any of the community events, with everything from food trucks to art workshops, and the favorite, ‘Yappy Hour,’ where customers can bring their dogs and enjoy a pint.

Community Events

Pivot Brewing is not just about great drinks; it’s about bringing people together. The brewery hosts a range of community events that cater to all interests. From food trucks to art workshops, there’s always something happening at Pivot. One of the most popular events is ‘Yappy Hour,’ where customers can bring their dogs and enjoy a pint. The brewery also supports local artists and musicians, providing a platform for them to showcase their talents.

West Sixth Brewing Co.: Craft with a Cause

Flagship Beers

West Sixth Brewing Co. is renowned for its flagship beers, including the citrus-y West Sixth IPA. This popular brew is a must-try for any beer enthusiast visiting Lexington. The brewery also offers a variety of other beers, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Sustainability Efforts

West Sixth Brewing Co. is committed to sustainability. They have implemented several eco-friendly practices, such as using solar panels and recycling spent grain. These efforts not only help the environment but also set a positive example for other businesses in the community.

Community Projects

West Sixth Brewing Co. is deeply involved in the local community. They host a variety of community events, from science lectures to gaming nights to yoga. These events provide a great opportunity for locals and visitors alike to engage with the brewery and each other.

If you only have time for one brewery tour, make it the West Sixth Brewing Company. You’ll see one of the largest and oldest craft breweries in Lexington housed in a 100-year-old building with a history of its own. The best part is that the tours are free and come with a taster glass, perfect for sampling any of the 15 to 20 beers on tap.

Wise Bird Cider Co.: A Cider Lover’s Haven

Cider Varieties

Wise Bird Cider Co. offers a delightful range of ciders that cater to every palate. From dry to semi-sweet options, their creative concoctions are sure to impress. One standout is the dry-hopped Rapacious Wit, which has become a favorite among locals. The taproom also features eight different craft beers on tap, encouraging customers to mix and match for unique flavors.

Tasting Room

The tasting room at Wise Bird Cider Co. is a welcoming space where visitors can enjoy their drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. The friendly staff is always ready to guide you through their offerings and help you discover new favorites. Don’t forget to write your own cider-beer mix on the board if you come up with a good one!

Events and Workshops

Wise Bird Cider Co. hosts a variety of community events that bring people together. From food trucks to art workshops, there’s always something happening. A popular event is ‘Yappy Hour,’ where customers can bring their dogs and enjoy a fun evening out. These events are a great way to experience the local culture and meet new people.

Wise Bird Cider Co. is more than just a place to enjoy a drink; it’s a community hub where creativity and camaraderie thrive.


Lexington’s craft brewery and distillery scene is a vibrant tapestry of tradition, innovation, and community spirit. Whether you’re a seasoned aficionado or a curious newcomer, the city’s diverse offerings promise a memorable experience. From the rich history and meticulous processes showcased in the Lexington Brewery and Distillery Tour to the eclectic mix of local breweries and distilleries, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, come and explore the heart of Kentucky’s brewing and distilling world, and discover the unique flavors and stories that make Lexington a must-visit destination for craft beverage enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What distilleries can I visit in Lexington?

In Lexington, you can visit several distilleries including Barrel House Distilling Company, Bluegrass Distillers, James E. Pepper Distillery, Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co., and Town Branch Distillery.

Are there any breweries in Lexington?

Yes, Lexington has a vibrant craft-brewing scene with breweries such as Blue Stallion Brewing Co., Country Boy Brewing Co., Ethereal Brewing, Mirror Twin Brewing, Pivot Brewing, and West Sixth Brewing Co., among others.

What is the Lexington Brewery and Distillery Tour?

The Lexington Brewery and Distillery Tour is an opportunity to explore the intricate world of brewing and distilling in Kentucky. The tour combines insights into the production of both fine beers and spirits.

What can I expect from the Lexington Brewery and Distillery Tour?

The tour begins with an overview of the facility’s history and significance in Bourbon Town, followed by a deep dive into the brewing and distilling processes, showcasing how traditional methods are fused with modern innovation.

How can I join the Lexington Brewery and Distillery Tour?

You can join the Lexington Brewery and Distillery Tour by booking a slot through their official website. The tour is a part of the Bourbon Town Tours and offers an expansive exploration of the craft beer and spirits world.

What is the Brewgrass Trail?

The Brewgrass Trail is a spinoff of the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® that includes around 25 of the finest craft breweries in Lexington. It is a great way to explore the growing craft brewery scene in the area.

Are there any sustainability practices in Lexington’s distilleries and breweries?

Yes, many distilleries and breweries in Lexington, such as Bluegrass Distillers and West Sixth Brewing Co., are committed to sustainability practices and community projects.

Can I participate in community events at these breweries and distilleries?

Absolutely! Many breweries and distilleries in Lexington, including Pivot Brewing and Wise Bird Cider Co., host community events, workshops, and activities that you can participate in.

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