5 Must-See US Destinations for Guided Whiskey Distillery Tours

Photo courtesy: www.blackenterprise.com

Whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. The grains used can vary from barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat and corn. The ageing of Whisky is an important factor that decides the pricing of the alcoholic beverage, the more aged, the more expensive it is to buy. The ageing of whiskey is usually done in wooden casks made of charred white oak.

We assume that you are a connoisseur of whiskies so this blog will be extremely helpful for you to learn some basic facts regarding this alcoholic beverage.

Although the origin of whiskey is from Scotland, the USA also is home to some types of renowned whiskies like Bourbon and Tennessee which have origins from here. The most famous US whiskey known to people outside the US is probably Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 which is produced from the US state of Tennessee. Bourbon on the other hand is a liquor delight for most Americans and is supposedly a very strong alcoholic beverage mainly used as a digestive.

Whiskies from across the world can be classified into:-

  • Malt whiskey – Considered as the best of all whiskies and has its origins from Scotland, made from only malted Barley and predominantly produced in Scotland
  • Grain Whiskey- made from any type of grain except malted barley, also predominantly produced in Scotland or Ireland
  • Blended whiskey- as the name suggests a blended whiskey can have a mix of the grain types, predominantly produced in Scotland or Ireland
  • Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey- Bourbon whiskey is a signature style whiskey originating from the United States, mainly from the state of Kentucky or Tennessee, the grain used must be corn and to classify as bourbon there should be 51% of corn usage
  • Rye Whiskey – this type of whiskey uses rye as the grain and needs to be matured for 2 years in oak casks for it to qualify as Rye whiskey, has its origins in the United States.
  • Corn Whiskey- this type of whiskey also has its origins in the United States and to qualify as a corn whiskey it must be produced from 100% corn

The good news is research suggests that drinking one peg of whiskey a day can lower a risk of having a stroke but drinking too much of it in a single day can lead to fatal heart strokes. Another upside of drinking whiskey is it can act as a good digestive for the food you consume.

We recommend you to take guided tours of some of the best whiskey distilleries in the USA to learn about mash bills (grain selection and mix), barrel woods used for ageing and other complex procedures used in the making of your favorite whiskey, be it Bourbon, Rye, Single-malt or blended.

For your whiskey distillery guided tours consider the following destinations

#George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, Mount Vernon

The George Washington Distillery in Mount Vernon was founded in 1797. George Washington is the only US President in history to have owned a distillery for commercial operations. This distillery in Mount Vernon has been renovated in 2006 and today it is renowned for producing un-aged white rye whiskey and barrel-aged white rye whiskey using the latest and accurate techniques. Take a guided tour of this distillery tickets are open to the public April through October. This distillery is located only 16 miles from the city center of Washington DC area and for your night’s stay we recommend the nearby luxurious Jefferson Hotel Washington DC.

#Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, Lynchburg

This famous whiskey from Tennessee is probably the most famous American whiskey known to the outside world, comes in 4 styles and the best among these is the Old No 7 black-labeled bottle. It is believed that Jack Daniel Tennessee whiskey uses the same spring water that was first used by its founder Jack Daniel’s in the founding years. This distillery got its license in the year 1866. You can take a free guided tour of this distillery which is open to public every half hour on all days of the week between 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. For your night’s stay we recommend the luxurious Five-Star Hermitage Hotel in Nashville about 75 miles northwest of this distillery.

#St George’s Spirits Alameda, California

St George’s distillery first started off as a eau de vie (fruit brandy) distillery and today its range of alcoholic beverages includes other spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka and rum to name a few. This distillery was founded in 1982 by Jorg Rupf, St George’s Spirits Alameda produces its whiskey from the former airport hangar located in San Francisco, California. Take a free guided tour of this distillery operating in the weekends for public, expect to see the wooden barrels used for ageing and sample some of the best whiskies originating from here-St #George Single Malt Whiskey and #Breaking and Entering Bourbon. For your night’s stay we recommend the famous Five-Star The St Regis San Francisco located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

#Woodinville Whiskey Company, Woodinville, Wash

Woodinville Whiskey Company is a famous distillery renowned for producing Bourbon whiskey, one of the few bourbon producing distilleries located outside Kentucky. This distillery produces the un-aged White Dog headlong rye whiskey and the Micro barreled Bourbon aged in American Oak barrels. Take a free guided tour of this distillery which is open to public Friday through Sunday at 4 pm. Expect to get free tastes of its whiskies during the tour. For your night’s stay we recommend the popular Fairmont Hotel in Seattle which is located 20 miles southwest of Woodinville.

#High West Distillery & Saloon Park City, Utah

The High West Distillery & Saloon Park City is located in the state of Utah. You can literally ski to this distillery from the nearby Ski resort- Park City Ski Resort during winter time when it records a lot of snow. Take a guided tour of this distillery to witness the complex procedures involved in manufacturing small batches of whiskey, don’t forget to sample all or at least some of its 12 labels of whiskey, our top recommendation is barrel aged Manhattan called the 36th Vote. For your night’s stay we recommend the most luxurious Steve Eriksen Lodge, located only 2 miles from the distillery.

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