Touring Bourbon Barrel Foods

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By Richard Thomas

Bourbon Barrel Foods

The Bourbon Barrel Foods presentation kitchen
(Credit: Joana Thomas)

The motto of Louisville, Kentucky’s Bourbon Barrel Foods is “Eat Your Bourbon,” and as someone who has spent decades figuring out ways to get whiskey into his cooking, I couldn’t agree more. So if you are a diehard bourbon foodie or a fan of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods America, and also a bourbon drinker, you are probably very keen on going to see where America’s only craft-brewed soy sauce gets made in old Woodford Reserve barrels.

The thing is that Bourbon Barrel Foods doesn’t do regular public tours, and unless you are interested in light food industry, there isn’t that much to see on the product-making side. One warehouse room has a big industrial smoker and a bottling plant, another is stacked with old bourbon barrels filled with embryonic soy sauce.

Thankfully, the company holds frequent cooking class events at its presentation kitchen facility. Said classes are based on two pillars: cooking with bourbon/bourbon-based seasonings, and using local, in-season produce. The food isn’t the only thing that is local either: the appliances used were donated by General Electric, which has a mammoth appliance-making factory complex in Louisville.

If you are in Louisville, on the Bourbon Trail, and like being in the kitchen, check the events schedule at Bourbon Barrel Foods and stop in at their location in Butchertown. You won’t regret it.

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