Spending The Holidays At A Distillery


By Richard Thomas

Angel's Envy tasting room

The tasting room at Angel’s Envy
(Credit: Angel’s Envy)

A distillery is in essence a booze-making factory, and like blue-collar industrial enterprises everywhere, they often close on the Holidays if not for the duration of the Holidays. Yet as tourism has become a larger part of the business of many distilleries, this isn’t quite as true as it used to be. The distillery itself might not be running on Christmas Eve, but the destination might still be open for visitors and even be running special events for the festive season.

In Kentucky

Angel’s Envy (Louisville)
These are the folks who made Port-finished whiskey a thing in America, and there downtown location is quite convenient for visitors to the Derby City. Angel’s Envy holds cocktail classes every Monday at 5:30 PM, this year both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on a Monday, and the distillery is still open for visitors. The Cocktail Class includes a normal distillery tour with a tasting, and culminates in a mixology lesson at the bar.

Buffalo Trace (Frankfort)
The stuff going on at Buffalo Trace is less boozy and more family-friendly: the distillery has a Holiday lights display fired up every night until 11 PM for visitors to see on a drive-through until January 2.

O.Z. Tyler (Owensboro)
Owensboro is pretty far off the usual track of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, but for those making the trip and purchasing VIP tickets the reward is the biggest New Year’s Eve distillery party in Kentucky. Tyler’s event includes dinner, a four-band roster of live music and an open bar.

Woodford Reserve barrels

Something is almost always going on at
Woodford Reserve, giving them ample
opportunity to show off their fieldstone warehouses
(Credit: Richard Thomas)

Woodford Reserve (Lexington Area)
If you are looking for something to do on any holiday, not just the Holidays, Woodford Reserve usually a good bet to look at. The distillery is always busy with events, and the Holidays season is no exception.

First is their Holiday Lunch series, which combines a normal distillery tour with a buffet meal catered by local celebrity chef Ouita Michel. Woodford will run these events on December 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th.

Woodford Reserve will also have a New Year’s Eve party, which will include a distillery tour, live music and dinner dinner. The bar will be open, but drinks are not included in the ticket price.

Other States

Journeyman Distillery (Three Oaks, Michigan)
Esteemed as one of the “Four Kings”of craft whiskey, Journeyman kicks off its slate of Holidays events on December 23rd with the very limited, distillery-only release of Corsets, Whips & Whiskey. This is followed by Holiday brunch buffets on the 24th, 26th and 31st.

Wigle Still

Visitors checking out the still at Pittsburgh’s Wigle Distillery
(Credit: Wigle Distillery)

Watershed Distillery (Columbus, Ohio)
This central Ohio distillery, best noted for its four-grain bourbon, is attached to a restaurant and appropriately offering a fine dining experience for the Holidays. A six course meal will be served on New Year’s Eve.

Wigle Distillery (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Wigle will hold its annual “Chrismukkah!” Event on the evening of December 22nd. This will include a dreidel competition, ornament decorating and the release of a vermouth-like Cocktail Mixer No. 1. Drinks that night will feature “Wigle Mon-hattans” made with the new mixer.

Correction: Angel’s Envy is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.


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