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Events

Mar29

Man o' War at 100

The International Museum of the Horse is celebrating Man o’ War’s 100th... more
Jan23

Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour

Join in the fun of a music show taped live and broadcast around the world. Audience... more
May2

Big Band & Jazz 2017

One of Lexington's longest running and most beloved concert series, features great jazz... more
May3

Red Barn Radio

Cheer on the fine musicians who keep alive the Traditional Music of Kentucky! ... more
Jun1

Great American Brass Band Festival

World-class bands come together in what has been called "the most prominent and... more
Apr6

Thursday Night Live

Beverages, food from local restaurants and great music by live bands! Every Thursday... more
Jun4

LexBrunch 2017

This free concert series is hosted every other Sunday. The series features a different... more
Jun4

Vintage Baseball Game at Waveland

Come enjoy a wonderful day of history, food and of course, the good old American pastime,... more
Jun8

Festival of the Bluegrass

This annual jamboree features the best Bluegrass bands in Kentucky and top national... more
Jun18

LexBrunch 2017

This free concert series is hosted every other Sunday. The series features a different... more
Jun25

Vintage Baseball Game at Waveland

Come enjoy a wonderful day of history, food and of course, the good old American pastime,... more
Jul2

LexBrunch 2017

This free concert series is hosted every other Sunday. The series features a different... more
Jul4

Big Band & Jazz 2017

Big Band & Jazz, one of Lexington's longest running and most beloved concert... more
Jul4

Fourth of July Festival

Come downtown to celebrate America's independence! There will be a street festival,... more
Jul13

Keeneland Concours d'Elegance

 One hundred magnificent automobiles, fashion and art.... more
Jul13

Lexington Lions’ Club Bluegrass Fair

Carnival rides, grandstand shows, petting farm, games and shows. ... more
Jul14

BreyerFest

The annual model horse festival and horse fair for Breyer model horses brings together... more
Jul16

LexBrunch 2017

This free concert series is hosted every other Sunday. The series features a different... more
Jul20

Lexington Restaurant Week

The best locally-owned restaurants strut their culinary stuff with multi-course meals at... more
Mar17

LexArts Gallery Hop

Thousands of locals and visitors alike converge on downtown Lexington to celebrate art... 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 Lexington's revitalized 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.  The James E. Pepper Distillery will soon be distilling on the site of Pepper's original 1879 distillery. 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.