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Events

Nov18

23rd Annual Southern Lights

The 23rd Annual Southern Lights includes a self-guided four mile journey through a... more
Dec3

A Kentucky Christmas

The illumination begins at 5:15 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Enjoy... more
Dec3

Horsemanship Experience

Come and have fun with the horses!  In this activity you will learn how to work with... more
Dec6

Lexington Christmas Parade

Love a Christmas parade? Wave to Santa and other celebrants at the Lexington Christmas... more
Dec9

Handel's Messiah

Hear the holiday classic performed by The Lexington Singers and enjoy the 150-plus voice... more
Dec10

The Nutcracker

Lexington Ballet's Nutcracker will be performed on December 10 and 17 at 2:00 pm and 8:00... more
Dec10

The Nutcracker

Lexington Ballet Company performs this beautiful masterpiece under the artistic direction... more
Dec16

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

The beloved TV classic, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," soars off the screen... more
Dec16

Visit Santa at the Distillery

Have your children get their wish list ready for Santa as you celebrate the season... more
Dec22

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

The ultimate holiday tradition, this has been one of America's favorite holiday tradition... more
Dec31

Casino Royale: the Music of James Bond

A dangerously glamorous New Year's Eve brings the Casino Royale and everyone's favorite... more
Jan9

Keeneland Horse Sales

Horses of all ages go on sale. Spectators welcome.... more
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History

While we don't claim that Bourbon was invented in Lexington, we do claim that it was born of Kentucky's natural bounty and the skill of our early settlers. Plan a trip to explore the birthplace of Bourbon with Lexington as your home base. Experience our Bourbon distilleries, Bourbon bars and regional cuisine, and you'll gain an appreciation of America's native spirit and our connection to a product whose popularity is booming around the world.

Lexington was home to the first registered distillery in Central Kentucky, the Ashland Distillery (R.D. #1) later known as "Old Tarr." Built in the mid-1800s on Manchester Street, one of its warehouses still stands and is home to Manchester Music Hall, a popular venue for live music concerts. In the 19th century, this area at the west end of Lexington was a major hub for Kentucky's Bourbon industry. Exciting initiatives are underway to develop a Distillery District utilizing these historic buildings for shopping, restaurants, housing and entertainment venues.

Today, in the heart of the proposed Distillery District, Barrel House Distilling Company is crafting its very own small batch Bourbon. Rockcastle Straight Kentucky Whiskey is distilled using the highest quality locally sourced corn and wheat ground by nearby Weisenburger Mills, and mountain spring water from King Springs in Rockcastle county.  Just around the corner, the first new distillery to be built in Lexington is producing Town Branch Bourbon.

Bourbon AdvertisementWhat do we know about the origins of Bourbon? We know that people have been turning grain into distilled spirits for centuries, and we know that early Kentucky settlers brought their techniques, and probably their stills, with them. Corn was abundant in this region, and a popular choice as a major ingredient when distilling whiskey.

Time spent in charred oak barrels gives this whiskey a distinctive color and flavor. But how did it come to be named Bourbon? Some historians say Kentucky whiskey was shipped down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in barrels stamped "Bourbon", its county of origin. Others contend much of it ended up in the area of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Kentuckians like to debate this topic, preferably over a fine example of America's Native Spirit.

Click here for additional resources on the earliest distilleries in Lexington.