Boone County Distilling Tour Review

Boone County Distilling is built upon a rich history. Today, the distillery produces a range of spirits, including bourbon, rye, rum and gin. The distillery is fairly compact, with a 500 gallon cooker, 500 gallon fermenters and a copper hybrid pot still called "The Bear", all in one large space. In addition, Boone County has a large event area, a cocktail bar and a gift shop. Read our tour review to learn more!
Boone County Distilling
10601 Toebben Drive
Boone County, KY 41051
(859) 282-6545
Tour / Review

Please enjoy our Boone County Distilling Tour Review!

Boone County Distilling History

Boone County Distilling Co. has a unique niche in the continuously expanding Kentucky bourbon market; its products are “Made By Ghosts.” This ominous sounding tag line in reality is the company’s homage to those now little known nineteenth century characters of Boone County, who forged an enormous distilling pathway. So much so, that by the later part of the century, the first distillery in Boone County, the Petersburg Distillery, was the largest producer of whiskey in the entire state! Unfortunately, this all came to an end when the Petersburg Distillery was shuttered in 1910.

History Exhibit - Boone County Distilling Tour
History Exhibit – Boone County Distilling Tour

The 21st century Boone County Distilling Co. was resurrected in 2015. Although its location is not the same as the original Petersburg Distillery, Boone County remains home to Boone County Distilling. Today’s distillery can be found in northern Kentucky, just inside of the Boone County line, in the small town of Independence. Boone County Distilling is located about a mile east of I-75, at exit 178.

Visiting the Distillery

Boone County Distilling welcomes visitors daily, except for Mondays. They currently (as of January 2024) offer a tour, the Grain to Glass Experience, and a Guided Tasting. The Guided Tasting, at a cost of $9, includes a tasting, as well as a short Boone County Distilling history, and explanation of the distilling process. Alternatively, the Grain to Glass Experience, at a cost of $14, includes a tour of the entire distillery, and finishes with a tasting. Reservations can be made online, by phone, or in person. The tasting and tour have a maximum capacity of 10 and 16 persons, respectively. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are highly recommended.

Boone County Distilling Distiller Tour
The Boone County Distilling Distillery
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Tour Experience

On our first visit, we met our tour guide, Courtney, in the gift shop, and our noon tour began promptly.  We headed out back into the distillery, and after a few safety guidelines were covered, Courtney began with the history behind the brand. It turns out that Boone County Distilling has quite the lengthy past.  As mentioned, the original distillery opened in 1833, and even though there were numerous owners over the years, its production continued to grow. So, by 1880, the Petersburg Distillery was the largest producer of whiskey in the state of Kentucky. Unfortunately, the distillery was closed in 1910, and the building became the Petersburg Jail. With some company perspective in tow, our attention was then directed toward the distillery area proper.

Grain Mill - Boone County Distilling Tour
Grain Mill – Boone County Distilling Tour
Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

The Distillery

Learning about the distillery is very easy at today’s Boone County.  All facets of the distilling process are located in one very large oversized garage style building. In fact the distillery can be seen in its entirety from the gift shop, thanks to the partially glassed wall which separates the two. 

Fermenters - Boone County Distilling Tour

Our first stop was the grain room. Lack of space prevents the use of large grain storage bins, so the grains come in 50 lb sacks which are kept neatly palletized.  The grains are sent through an Amish hammer mill and are then piped a very short distance to the 500 gallon cooker.  The cooked grains are then transferred to one of the four 500 gallon fermenters where, 3-4 days later with fermentation complete, the newly fermented grains are sent off to the “The Bear”, which is Boone County’s copper hybrid pot still.  Production is around 10 barrels a week.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

The Boone County Distilling Rickhouse

Our next stop took us out the back of the distillery to see where those 10 weekly barrels are then stored.  The distillery’s one and only rickhouse may look like just another aluminum out-building, but as of our more recent visit in late August 2022, it housed over 1500 barrels!  We got the bird’s eye view as we stepped inside this unassuming structure.  The rickhouse is almost always one of the coolest parts of a distillery tour, and this one was no exception. Barrels are everywhere, stacked 6 high. And, the wonderful angels’ share aroma did not disappoint.

Rickhouse- Boone County Distilling Tour
Boone County Distilling’s Bottling Process

The walking part of our tour wrapped up back in the distillery. The final stop was a peek at the bottling area.  At Boone County Distilling, barrels are dumped into a barrel trough. The trough aids in the filtering of any large pieces of char that come out during the dump. The whiskey is more finely filtered once again, whereby it is then all hand bottled, hand labeled, and of course hand boxed.

Tasting Experience

With all production processes covered, it was time to sample the fruits of Boone County’s labor. Back at the tasting area in the gift shop, our samples for the standard tour awaited us. Since our first visit, a tasting area inside a barrel shaped room has since been added. Our four tastes included: Tanner’s Curse-New Make Whiskey Distilled From Rye Mash, Tanner’s Curse-New Make Whiskey Distilled From Bourbon Mash, Boone County Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and White Hall Tavern Bourbon Cream. Samples from other product lines were available on a product by product basis, and the costs vary.

The gift shop also has lots of items to peruse when your tastebuds are done being wowed. From clothing to glassware to spirits, they’re all there for the choosing and a great way to shop local. A couple of years ago, Boone County Distilling also opened a large event space, which includes a cocktail bar where samples, as well as full pours and cocktails, are available. There’s a nice outdoor seating area, too.

A Great Visit To Boone County Distilling

So, when you’re looking for your next distillery to visit, why not make it Boone County Distilling? You’ll find Boone County both on the Northern Kentucky B-Line tour as well as the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. Grab your passports and go. History, schooling, and spirits await!

We hope you have enjoyed our Boone County Distilling Tour Review! Would you like to read about some of the Boone County Bourbons? Then check out our Boone County Toasted Cask Finish Bourbon Review, our Boone County Pot Still Bourbon Review and our Boone County Single Barrel Wheated Bourbon Cask Strength Review!

Original Visit: August 2020 Updated May 2022, January 2024

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