VERSAILLES, Ky., Jun 10, 2019 — Kentucky’s amber wave of bourbon tourism has swelled to a 370% increase in attendance over the last 10 years—on pace for the $10 billion projected in economic output. As a major stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Woodford Reserve‘s tours will now begin at the EOP-designed Welcome Center.
The new Gristmill Welcome Center provides the brand’s homeplace a welcoming starting point for tours. Tourists, and there are more and more every day, pick up tickets for then gather in a roomy area with leather sofas, paintings by Kentucky artists and handcrafted decor that hints at whiskey’s origins.
In 2014, the distillery had just under 100,000 visitors annually. This year, they welcomed more than 150,000 for the first time, a 50 percent increase in just five years. In 2018, according to the Kentucky Distillers Association, tourists made 1.4 million stops at distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
The new welcome center, which has porches overlooking nearby horse farms as well as the picturesque distillery itself, also can be used as a venue for parties and events, with space for about 100 guests. The bar in the welcome features crystal glasses and lighting from Baccarat, Woodford Reserve’s new corporate partner.