Taste Bourbon from the Barrel during BBQ Festival

Our popular Master Distiller Tours led by Shane Baker return to this year's BBQ Festival. Join Shane for a tasting of Bourbon from the barrel during these tours offered at 2 or 4 p.m. Sept. 7.

Each tour is limited to 25 people. Guests receive a souvenir Glencairn. Shane also will show everyone around our distillery from the Ferm Solutions lab to the distilling area.

Cost is $50 (plus tax) with proceeds benefitting a cancer care fund. 

To make your reservation, call 859-402-8707. 

Date: September 7, 2019 — September 7, 2019


Bourbon+ contributors and Wilderness Trail team offer seminars during KY State BBQ Festival

Bourbon+ magazine's contributors along with Wilderness Trail's co-owners are holding court in a Bourbon lounge on the front lawn of Wilderness Trail Distillery during Kentucky State BBQ Festival. Many of the seminars are free, but there is a fee for a couple of them such as a pairing of Bourbon and BBQ. Tickets are available at Kentucky State BBQ Festival.

Here is a schedule of the seminars and more details:
Bourbon and BBQ — 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., $25.
Bourbon 101 — 2-3 p.m., free.
Drinking from barrel — 5:30-6:30 p.m., $25.

Bourbon History — 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., free.
Story of Rye — 12:45-1:30 p.m., free.
Legendary Distillery Jim Rutledge on his new brand — 3:45-4:30 p.m., free.

The Details

Bourbon & BBQ — 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Presenter Steve Coomes, Bourbon+ magazine contributor
In a recent Bourbon+ Magazine, noted food and drinks writer Steve Coomes wrote a 10-page feature about how to best pair Bourbon with barbecue. What he learned surprised him. In this demo, Steve will pair Wilderness Trail Bourbon and rye with various barbecue cuts, while explaining why Bourbon and barbecue are a match made in heaven (in case you needed more proof!) You won’t want to miss this savory adventure.

Bourbon 101 — 2-3 p.m.

Presenter Susan Reigler, Bourbon+ magazine contributor and Bourbon author
Learn how Bourbon is made, how to taste and a touch of history in this educational seminar. You won’t walk away an expert, but you will be able to hold your own in a Bourbon conversation.

Drinking Straight from the Barrel — 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Moderated by Kevin Gibson, writer for Bourbon+ magazine, with Wilderness Trail tasting team
When you walk into a liquor store, you’re no doubt seeing the terms, “barrel proof” or “cask strength.” In this informative discussion and tasting, Bourbon+ writers and Wilderness Trail team members elaborate on the virtues of getting bourbon straight from the barrel. After all, you can always add water. But can you get your proof back when it’s bottled at 80 proof?

Bourbon History – 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Presenter Carla Carlton, managing editor of Bourbon+ magazine
Did you know presidents have impacted Bourbon? Congress frequently debated it? And that distillers once shipped barrels via flat boat? The history of Bourbon is a fascinating adventure into America.

Let’s Have Rye — 12:45-1:30 p.m.

Presenter Steve Coomes, Bourbon+ magazine contributor and author
You know about Bourbon. Now, learn about rye, a beautiful whiskey that's growing in popularity across the globe.

A Legend Returns: Jim Rutledge with Fred Minnick — 3:45-4:30 p.m.

After retiring from Four Roses, the iconic master distiller Jim Rutledge, had the itch to get back into Bourbon. In this Q&A, Jim talks about his new plans, his new brand (Cream of Kentucky) and we’ll taste a little of his new whiskey.

Bonus: Critiquing Pat Heist's band
Editor’s note: Pat Heist’s band, Zella May, debuts at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Kentucky State BBQ Festival.

Date: September 7, 2019 — September 8, 2019


From seminar topics such as pairing Bourbon with BBQ to Master Distiller tours, this year’s Kentucky State BBQ Festival lets the state’s Native Spirit share the stage with the star of the festival.

All of the fun of the ninth annual festival happens Sept. 6-8 on the grounds of presenting sponsor Wilderness Trail Distillery at 4095 Lebanon Road, Danville, KY. The festival that features BBQ created by seven celebrity pitmasters is a fundraiser for Heart of Kentucky United Way. Music plays a huge role in the festival fun with eight live bands and this year marks the debut of the distillery co-owner Pat Heist’s band Zella May. Zella May, which Heist describes as “hard rock,” performs at 1 p.m. Sept. 8.

Wilderness Trail Master Distiller Shane Baker will lead tours at 2 and 4 p.m. Sept. 7. See more about this event here

Fred Minnick, author of Bourbon books and editor of Bourbon+ magazine, has lined up several seminars, such as pairing Bourbon with BBQ. The seminars will happen in a Bourbon lounge on the distillery’s front lawn. Other staples of the festival, such as a VIP party Sept. 6, return. The gala, titled Whiskey Business, features music by Paul Childers and guests receive a bottle of Wilderness Trail Bourbon. Marys and Mimosas is a Sept. 8 brunch with a Bloody Mary bar and oysters on the half shell. A Bloody Mary expert will teach attendees will learn how to make the best Bloody Marys with Wilderness Trail’s Blue Heron Vodka. Tickets to seminars and the events both still are available. Visit

For anyone wanting to work up an appetite for the BBQ, there is a 5K run and a Smokin' Butt bicycle ride Sept. 7. Also, don't miss a chance to show off your cooking skills at the Backyard BBQ competition Sept. 7. Brush up on your hog calling and bean eating talents for Sept. 8 contests. Festival admission is $5 or $10 for a weekend pass. Visit the website for more information about the fabulous pitmasters and musical acts.

Date: September 6, 2019 — September 8, 2019


Somernites to lead cruisers to Wilderness Trail

Back Roads, Battlefields & Bourbon Cruise is back by popular demand. A downpour for the original date scheduled meant a poor turnout, so we'll give it another try on Aug. 22.

Bring your hot rod, classic/vintage car or truck, sports car, etc. (any Somernites Cruise eligible vehicle) and cruise the back roads of beautiful south central Kentucky. Before arriving at Wilderness Trail, the first stop is Perryville Battlefield. After tours at Wilderness Trail, the group heads to Mill Springs Battlefield Museum and Haney's Appledale Farm. This route takes everyone thru the Amish countryside where they may see horsepower of a different kind.

Cruisers leave from Danny's Rod Shop at 9 am and should return to Somerset around 4 pm. Hampton Inn is the host hotel so make your reservations now. 

More details will be posted soon, but mark your calendars and make plans to join us as we cruise Kentucky's beautiful back roads. To express interest, click here.

Date: August 22, 2019 — August 22, 2019


Donation supports humane society spay/neuter program

Wilderness Trail Distillery presented $10,000 to the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society’s (DBCHS) community cat spay/neuter program. Distillery co-owners Shane Baker and Pat Heist made the donation to Fizzy Ramsey, president of the DBCHS Board of Directors, at the distillery's First Friday,

The event featured Patriotic Paws red, white and blue T-shirts and they still are on sale at the distillery. The donation was made possible from a charity barrel auction held during the Kentucky Bourbon Affair.

Baker chose the humane society because he and his wife, Melissa, are animal lovers and wanted to support the local nonprofit’s efforts to control the animal population.

“We are overjoyed by the generosity shown by Wilderness Trail Distillery,” says Ramsey. "They are the metaphoric pebble in a pond creating a ripple for change, not only in the Bourbon industry, but for our own community. Their partnership supports and inspires our paradigm shift in humanely addressing pet overpopulation.”

DBCHS has been working with a consultant to determine the humane society’s needs and an expanded community cat spay/neuter program is one of the biggest. The consultant recommended the local shelter use the “return to field” process for cats. That means in lieu of shelter intake or possible euthanasia, any community cat brought to the shelter will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to its original home location. The report recommends DBCHS find $49,210 in funding —  $39,000 to get an estimated 600 community cats sterilized through the return to field program; $10,000 to help with income-targeted spay/neuter through Happy Paws Spay/Neuter Clinic for cats and dogs; and $210 for portals needed in between cat cages to improve their living quarters.

Since the community cat program began this spring, Ramsey says Boyle County Animal Control and shelter staff has helped organize over 110 surgeries, which also involves community education on cat behavior and population control. “People arrive to surrender a stray cat(s) and we give them the opportunity to keep the cat as we schedule spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccination. If the cat is feral and they prefer not to handle the cat, we get their permission to spay/neuter, vaccinate and return the cat to its original location; maintaining its place, and preventing new, likely unaltered, cats from moving in.” Area veterinarians have been instrumental in the success of this method in addressing community cats.

Date: July 5, 2019 — July 5, 2019


Shipping offered in Kentucky

Two hundred years of history is quite a milestone and we applaud Centre College for its remarkable journey. We are celebrating with Centre College with a special bottling of our wheated single barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon. We were amazed how quickly the first three barrels sold.

If you are wondering about the availability of Centre College Bicentennial Bourbon in our gift shop, please call 859-402-8707.  Our gift shop is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Cost is $55 ($60.50 with tax) and it is available in our gift shop. We do offer the Bourbon in a mahogany collector's box that includes two shot glasses. Cost with the box is $94.41 (including tax). We can ship to places in Kentucky where alcohol sales are legal. If you are interested in purchasing, you may download a shipping form. Please include a daytime address where the delivery can be made because someone age 21 or older must sign for it. Cost is $25 to a ship a bottle and the fee increases based on how many bottles will be shipped. Email your form to Macaulay Minton at

For more information, call 859-402-8707.

Please download a Shipping form

Date: April 24, 2019 — October 13, 2019


Here's where you can find our Bourbon and Rye Whiskey

If you're a fan of Wilderness Trail's Bourbon and Rye Whiskey we have great news for you. It sells in 11 states and we soon will add two more. In addition to our home base of Kentucky where Heidelberg is our distributor, this is a list of states where Wilderness Trail is sold and who the distributors are.

Tennessee: Athens Distributing

Illinois: BC Merchants

Michigan: ABC control states with Benchmark Beverage distributing

Virginia: ABC control state

Wyoming: ABC control state

Washington, D.C.: Prestige LeDroit

Delaware: Prestige

Maryland: Prestige

Iowa: ABC control state

Nevada: Sean Branch Distributing

Wilderness Trail also plans to sell this year in Ohio through Heidelberg and in Georgia through Eagle Rock Distributing.

In the ABC control states, fans of our spirits just have to ask their store to stock it. For instance, Virginia is a control state and is run by the state of Virginia ABC. Wilderness Trail is registered and in the system in Virginia and any store can place an order to stock it or to ship it directly to a person living there through that store for pick up. If you are looking for some of the latest Kentucky Straight Small Batch Bottled in Bond Bourbon with rye small grain, our Bourbon Single Barrel, Bottled in Bond Bourbon made with wheat or our infamous Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey Cask Strength, then please ask your local store to place an order for you!

To see Michigan locations, please download Michigan Bourbon Locations

Date: April 1, 2019


White Oak Trees planted

Thanks to the many people who purchased a white oak tree in hopes that their trees one day will be used for Wilderness Trail Bourbon barrels.

We planted the 2-year-old white oak trees in March and now all we have to do is wait for them to become barrels. Visit your tree as your come see us over the years. Seventy or so years from now, maybe your grandchildren will enjoy a barrel of Bourbon aged in the tree planted for you.

Date: March 16, 2019 — March 16, 2019

Chili event returns Oct. 19

We're on the lookout for cooks and chili eaters for annual charity fundraiser

If you like making chili or eating it, mark Oct. 19 on your calendar. This is the date for this year's charity event. This year's event will expand to benefit more non-profits.

The generous support of the 2018 Charity Chili Cook-Off helped the Danville Kiwanis buy coats and clothing for many children. The Kiwanis received the children's names from Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Wilderness Trace Child Development Center and Sunrise Children's Home. No other agency helps these children in this capacity. The winter warmth supplied from your generosity supports a program that began more than 90 years ago. Twenty years ago, the Boyle County Senior Citizens Center became recipients of the the project.

The 2018 Chili Cook-Off raised more than $6,700 to purchase coats, clothing and a small toy for the children. The 40 members of the Kiwanis Club appreciate the support of their mission and know that everyone had a lot of fun in the process. Sure, someone had to win and some ground beef, smoked sausage, regular sausage, spices and a lot of love led Team Dean to the winners circle. Randy Dean, a native of Louisiana, enlisted his son, Philip, to represent the team of Boyle County Attorney Lynne Dean.

Close on their heels were second place winners Harvey's, a Danville restaurant, represented by owner Alex McCrosky and Arthur Denmon. Coming in third were Cash Express' team of Ella Mattingly and Shatarra Taylor. Taking the People's Choice honor was Blue Bird in Stanford's chef Bill Hawkins.

We thank all the great cooks, vendors and sponsors who made this event possible. Please mark, Oct. 19, 2019, for our next opportunity to make a difference.

Our other cooks were:

Chili Brothers (first place in 2017)
Chili Heads (People’s Choice in 2018)
Fire in the Hole (Brad Simmons, second place in 2017)
Hendog’s BBQ and Catering
Nana C’s 911 Chili (a longtime chili champ)
Ole Chili Team (Gloria Valencia)
Short Fat Guyz Chili (Rick Waldon)
The Caterer (Jerry Houck, much loved caterer)
The Rooster’s Whistle (a coffee catering team who put — you guessed it — coffee in the chili)
Triple J&C BBQ Team (winners of the 2018 Backyard BBQ Competition) with 2 teams

We appreciate all the people who offered free children's activities. Eddie Tamme brought free pumpkins for the children to decorate. The Boyle County Public Library Bookmobile was on hand with free library books. The Boyle County High School Key Club offered free facepainting and balloon animals. Boyle High cheerleaders sold hotdogs.

Thanks also to our awesome judges: Larry Vaught, Chuck Smith, Cameron Mills, and Kentucky Taste Buds Leigh Roach and Tamara Schneider.

And where would this event be without great sponsorship?

Sponsors are:

Platinum: Kentucky Cooperage of Lebanon; PNC Bank; Sellers Engineering of Danville; and The Advocate-Messenger of Danville.

Gold: Boyle County Attorney Lynne Dean, Bruce Devine Roofing of Harrodsburg; and Gibson, for Boyle PVA and Monticello Bank.

Silver: Boyle County Clerk Trille L. Bottom, Buzick Construction of Bardstown; Community Trust Bank of Danville; Corning, Inc. of Harrodsburg; Farmers National Bank in Danville; Monticello Bank in Danville; and Stuart Powell Ford Lincoln Mazda of Danville.

Bronze: Bob Allen Motor Mall of Danville; Caverndale Farms of Danville; Central Kentucky Federal Savings Bank of Danville; Gary Chidester for Boyle County Judge-Executive; Danville Eye Center; Fort Knox Federal Credit Union in Danville; Hayslett Mechanical of Harrodsburg; InterCounty Energy of Danville; Keystone Industrial of Junction City; Melton's Great American Deli II of Danville; United Structural Systems of Lancaster; Walnut Springs Farm of Danville; and Wilderness Trace Solar of Danville.

Date: October 19, 2019 — October 19, 2019

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