Elevate your Bourbon knowledge

SOLD OUT: The Bourbon Stewardship Class will be offered Nov. 7

Instructors: Dr. Pat Heist and Macaulay Minton

Hours: 4-7 pm

Cost: $150 and all guests leave with a barrel pick bottle that they selected


Interested in taking your Bourbon knowledge to the next level? Then join one of our upcoming classes to become a bona fide Certified Bourbon Steward. This program speaks to Bourbon lovers from ALL walks of life! This in-depth program is designed to guide you on your journey to becoming a Certified Bourbon Steward, and will equip you with the tools to discuss America's Native Spirit both confidently and accurately while enhancing your ability to make educated recommendations for individual taste and preferences.

Topics covered will include:

  • What makes a bourbon a bourbon? And how it is different from other whiskeys?
  • Bourbon terminology and descriptors.
  • Distillation, aging, and brand creation.
  • Identification of Kentucky’s heritage brands and which distilleries produce them.
  • Hospitality and service in the Bourbon industry.
  • Building a flight and the art of tasting: An exercise identifying 3 Bourbons demonstrating the relationship among the products, describing their characteristics and nuances with nosing and tasting notes.
  • Accurate Bourbon history, including Kentucky’s role in its creation.
  • In the lab with Dr. Heist: Join Wilderness Trail Distillery co-owner Dr. Pat Heist as he leads this hands-on event that teaches the story of Bourbon from the microbiology level through final finished product.

And when the distillate settles, you will have picked a private barrel of Wilderness Trail Bourbon and be fully prepared to take the Certified Bourbon Steward test (code and book included). You receive your choice of a bottle of the  barrel pick Bourbons that were tasted.

If you are interested, email Macaulay Minton to learn more or register by calling the Visitors Center at 859-402-8707.

Date: November 7, 2020 — November 7, 2020


Distillery owners among 26 finalists in East Central Region

We say that Wilderness Trail Distillery co-owners Shane Baker and Pat Heist have a pioneering spirit. Now they have been recognized for the innovative endeavors.

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) announced that Baker and Heist were named Entrepreneurs Of The Year® 2020 East Central Award finalist. Now in its 34th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program honors entrepreneurial business leaders whose ambitions deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain successful businesses that transform our world. Baker and Heist were selected as one of 26 finalists from nearly 100 nominations by a panel of independent judges.

Award winners will be announced through a special virtual event on Oct.7, and will join a lifelong community of esteemed Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world. This year, unstoppable entrepreneurs who have provided extraordinary support for their communities, employees and others during the COVID-19 crisis also will be recognized for their courage, resilience and ingenuity.

Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive award programs for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The nominees are evaluated based on six criteria, including overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management. Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries around the world.

“We are very honored to share this prestigious award nomination with so many great entrepreneurs and businesses that have been built from the unwavering entrepreneurial spirit. To be recognized as a finalist in the extremely competitive Ernst and Young competition is without a doubt another major milestone our team has accomplished,” says Baker. Wilderness Trail Distillery, LLC, a Kentucky producer of fine Bourbon, Rye Whiskeys and other spirits located in Danville, Ky., is a proud member of the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Wilderness Trail Bourbons and whiskeys are highly rated and are among the top 10 American whiskeys on the market found in 28 states and within parts of the EU and UK.

Baker and Heist started Wilderness Trail Distillery in 2012. It followed their first company, Ferm Solutions, which they started in 2006. Ferm Solutions is a leading research and product development and technical service provider to the distilled spirits and brewing industries.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, to be announced in November during a virtual awards gala. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in June 2021.

Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners become lifetime members of a global, multi-industry community of entrepreneurs, with exclusive, ongoing access to the experience, insight and wisdom of program alumni and other ecosystem members in over 60 countries — all supported by vast EY resources.

Date: August 28, 2020 — August 28, 2020


Visitors Center has bottles for sale

Wilderness Trail Distillery has been waiting patiently to have fans sip its first six-year-old wheated Bourbon. We  recently sold out of the bottle in a Family Reserve mahogany box with two shot glasses but we now have bottles for  sale for $69.

The other releases by the Danville distillery, owned by Shane Baker and Dr. Pat Heist, have been four-year-old, bottled in bond Bourbons and a cask strength rye whiskey.

Everyone wants to know a little bit about how the 6-year-old tastes. Well, your tasting notes would be different from your friend's and so forth. Let's just say that the extra two years in the barrel has elevated an already remarkable Bourbon to an even higher level.

Changes to promote safety of our guests and employees

A few things have changed since we last welcomed visitors. We will adhere to social distancing guidelines and face masks are required. The number of people in our Visitor Center is limited 20.

You may register for tours by clicking here.




Date: July 21, 2020 — July 21, 2020


Annual blood drive held

Employees kept the Kentucky Blood Center Mobile unit busy during our annual blood drive. The staff kept donations coming for the three-hour blood drive. Due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the bus is limited how many donors they can service at one time. Employees from Wilderness Trail and Ferm Solutions donated. We look forward to this way to help the community each year.

Date: May 5, 2020 — May 5, 2020


Pets featured on barrel pick labels adopted

We have some good news to share. Three of the four local humane society pets featured on the labels for a barrel pick have been adopted.

We still have bottles from a delicious barrel pick of 114 proof wheated bourbon (We can ship in Kentucky!) and sales benefit the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society.
Furthermore, adoptions are up at Danville-Boyle County Humane Society. Read more online. 

“We emptied our adoption floor last weekend and hope to do the same again! It's been absolutely amazing to see these pets go to good, loving homes and see the happy updates,” says Fizzy Ramsey, director of the humane society board.
Tucker is the only one who remains of the pets featured on the barrel pick labels. Ramsey describes Tucker, a 2 ½ year old pit bull mix, as “the most special of the pets featured.” She explains that he came to the shelter as a stray and was extremely fearful of other dogs.
“Rather than cowering he responded with aggression. That all changed with dog playgroups and he soon thrived in the play yard.”

Learning from foster care

While Tucker waits for a permanent home, he is staying with Saturday Adoption Specialist Kari Kuh. Kuh says he is adjusting to his new environment in positive ways.

“Tucker was a bit timid and shy when he came home with us in mid-March. He spent the first few days anxiously following the humans around and learning the basics about the doggie door while cautiously interacting with our resident dogs and keeping his distance from our cats. 
“It took about 10 days for him to stop pacing and start relaxing into our routine. A couple of weeks into his stay he began to engage in play with our dogs, and now entering our sixth week together he is best buddies with Trixie, the 75-pound, 9-year-old hound, and Buckaroo, the 8-year-old tripod treeing feist who weighs less than 15 pounds. Tucker keeps them hopping. He wants to play. ALL. THE. TIME! 
‘”Tucker has also learned how to interact with our cats. He desperately wants to hang out with them but won't chase or hurt them. In fact, he regularly sleeps in the human bed with one of the resident cats!”
Tucker's best life would be with an active couple or family with older kids that can give him plenty of exercise, playtime, and more basic training. He would prefer to have another dog to play with. His new family should also know he is still somewhat anxious. Loud noises and sudden movements can scare him.
If you're looking for a guard dog, move on. Tucker isn't much of a barking guy, you're more likely to hear him make silly grumbling sounds during play or snoring once he's finally tuckered out!

Tucker has been using the doggie door and going outside to potty consistently for four weeks. He knows "sit" and "lay down/down" but needs leash work and reminders not to chew on hands and blankets. He responds well to redirection and really wants to please. 
Tucker is sweet, enthusiastic, and loveable-we will miss him a bunch. With regular exercise, consistent training, and plenty of food and treats, this guy will make an excellent companion.

If interested in adoption, please contact the humane society at 859-238-1117. They now have a few more animals for adoption. They are open to the public 1-4 p.m. during the week with a limit of two people at a time.

Date: April 30, 2020 — May 31, 2020


40,000 gallons produced to meet community needs

Wilderness Trail Distillery is more well known for its whiskey, but to support those on the front lines during the battle against the spread of Coronavirus it supplied healthcare providers and others with hand sanitizer. The distillery is not currently producing hand sanitizer, but has 4 ounce bottles for sale in its Visitors Center.

Other distillers also contributed to the effort. Read a Forbes article submitted by Fred Minnick about the efforts of Kentucky distilleries, featuring Wilderness Trail here

To watch a video of Wilderness Trail making and distributing to local healthcare workers and first responders, click here.

The photo above shows our first shipment to the Boyle County Health Department on March 21. The top photo shows, Shane Baker, Wilderness Trail owner, right, with Boyle County Health Department Director Brent Blevins as Blevins accepts the first delivery.

Those 400 gallons were distributed to our local hospital, Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, which also operates hospitals in our neighboring counties of Lincoln and Mercer counties. The first production also was given to our local first responders of firefighters, police and EMS and also long-term healthcare facilities.

Wilderness Trail supplied close to 40,000 gallons of alcohol toward the effort of making hand sanitizer as the distillery continued to keep regional front line responders and hospitals in stock.

Blevins said that the health department has strategically distributed to first responders and health care facilities in Danville and surrounding counties. "Once we got Boyle covered, we tried to focus on the counties that send people to our hospital. Our main goal is keeping Ephraim (the hospital) safe."

The health department also is aiding local businesses that are remaining open. Baker pledges to continue the effort for the next several weeks to produce and provide locally during this time. “If we need to continue from there, we will,” he says.

Of course, Wilderness Trail has some great partners in this effort: Caverndale Farms in Boyle County and Walnut Hill Farm in Logan County are providing grain. Other partners are: Cardinal Ethanol, Owensboro Grain for glycerin and Minuteman Press owner Steve Martin for donating labels. Many thanks for your support.


Date: March 21, 2020 — May 2, 2020


Watch Wilderness Trail Distillery co-owners recent TEDx Talk

Dr. Pat Heist, chief scientific officer and co-owner of Wilderness Trail Distillery, recently gave a TEDx Talk in Nevada. His topic was "The Effect of Climate on Production and Quality of Bourbon Whiskey." He discusses the magic that happens in the barrel and how climate change might affect the quality and price of the whiskey in the future. Without further adieu, watch here.


Date: March 20, 2020 — March 20, 2020


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 24 states.

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.

Michigan: Benchmark

Tennessee: Athens Distributing

Illinois: BC Merchants

Michigan: ABC control state 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

Ohio: Heidelberg

Georgia: Eagle Rock

New York: PM Spirits

Texas: Palomar, known as Victory Wine Group

Florida: Palomar, known as Progress Wine Group

Minnesota: Palomar, known as Maverick Wine Group

California: Pacific Edge

Nevada: Pacific Edge

Arizona: Pacific Edge

Washington: Pacific Edge, known as Moda

Kansas: Worldwide Beverage

Louisiana: Wines Unlimited

Mississippi: ABC control state with Madvines and Spirits distributing

Alabama: ABC control state with Madvines and Spirits distributing

New Mexico: Santa Fe Boutique

Colorado: Estate Brands

South Carolina: Advintage

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


Wilderness Trail is 18th member of KY Bourbon Trail

Wilderness Trail, one of the founding distillery destinations on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft TourⓇ, has advanced to join the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® adventure, becoming the 18th stop on the world-famous journey that showcases America’s only native spirit.
Launched in 2012 as a premium craft distillery in Danville, Ky., Wilderness Trail has expanded its production and grown its distinctive visitor experience to meet the standards to become the first KBTCT distillery to graduate to the iconic Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour.

“This is an exciting day for Wilderness Trail, the Danville community and all our Kentucky Bourbon Trail® partners,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “Wilderness Trail has established itself as a can’t-miss stop that fully delves into the art and science of our signature spirit.
“On behalf of our members, we congratulate Wilderness Trail on their success and proudlywelcome them to the legendary Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour as its 18th member, the most participating distilleries since the KDA founded the KBT® in 1999.”
Co-owners Shane Baker and Pat Heist are recognized globally as leading fermentation specialists through their original company, Ferm Solutions, consulting with distilleries around the world to develop products and enhance production.
With more than 20 years of experience in the production of alcohol and bringing some of the best brands to market, Baker and Heist expanded their focus to creating their own brand of unique spirits ensuring quality and a healthy dose of science in the process.
“We are very excited to be joining the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® after years on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® for both our growth as well as the impact to our community,” said Baker, Co-Owner and Master Distiller.
“We excel in offering a unique experience and educational perspective of the Bourbon-making process by focusing on the science in making Bourbon while maintaining a traditional Bourbon distillery process across our 163-acre campus in historic Danville, the birthplace of Kentucky.”
“Wilderness Trail Distillery has been an incredible asset to Boyle County,” said Jennifer Kirchner, Executive Director of Destination Danville. “In addition to their significant contributions to our local economy in agriculture, industry, and technology, they have helped us
to build a robust tourism footprint.
“If you love Bourbon and you love Kentucky, then you will love Danville.”
Coupled with Danville’s small-town charm and history, Wilderness Trail will be a welcome addition that highlights the spectrum of the state’s different distillery sizes and approaches, said Adam Johnson, Senior Director of the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® program.
“Even in a quintessential ‘Main Street, America’ town, Wilderness Trail shows you can have a world-class attraction with fantastic hospitality,” said Johnson, who is a graduate of Centre College in Danville and has lived in Danville for more than 20 years.
Wilderness Trail currently produces a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel Bottled in Bond, a Small Batch Bottled in Bond Bourbon, and a Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, as well as Harvest Rum and Blue Heron Vodka.
Open for tours Tuesday through Saturday, the visitor experience will include a 45-minute
walking tour and an educational tasting seminar in the Tasting Room. 
“Shane and Pat have poured their hearts and souls into their distillery and it shows in every last
detail,” KDA President Gregory said. “We applaud their commitment to our timeless craft and
thank them for their efforts in securing Kentucky as the one true, authentic home of Bourbon.”


Sales of 16-year-old Bourbon bottle go to Bourbon Charity

Kevin McGuire of Danville (in photo) was the first person to receive one of the 50 box sets of the 16-year-old Bourbon. 

Shane Baker and Pat Heist purchased a 15-year-old barrel of Willett Distillery Bourbon at Willett-To-Be-Cured, an auction for the American Cancer Society. After a year of aging at Wilderness Trail, it was bottled to be sold this holiday season as 16-year-old.

Sales of the $2,500 box set all go to Bourbon Charity. The majority of Wilderness Trail’s donations through the Bourbon Charity will go directly to families who are battling cancer. Some of the funds also will go to public non-profits such as St. Jude and the American Cancer Society but the mission of this project to give direct to families.

Many of the people who contacted us about the Bourbon shared that they too have family or friends who have battled cancer and that is the reason they wanted to support the project. Even if the $2,500 bottle is not in the budget, if you want to make a donation, you may go to Bourbon Charity.

Most of the 50 bottles available were placed in the main lottery for people who signed up online at our website or in our visitor center.

We still have fundraising plans. That Bourbon barrel is going to get another chance to continue raising money to battle cancer. We distilled a special barrel of four-grain Bourbon almost 5 years ago.We are going to double-barrel it and finish it in this infamous old barrel for a while longer. Then we will have bottles of some more great, rare Bourbon to talk about and keep asking the question: How many lives can this one barrel keep touching?

What’s next for the barrel after that? Stay tuned.

Date: December 18, 2019 — December 31, 2019


Great weather, delicious chili, fantastic vendors and awesome sponsors made the perfect setting for the third annual Wilderness Trail Charity Chili Cook Off Oct. 19.

Proceeds support the Danville Kiwanis Local Youth and Senior Citizens programs. Thanks to our awesome sponsors, cooks and tasters, the event raised $7,100.

Our judges had the tough job of selecting the top three winners of the 17 contenders for first through third place trophies and People's Choice awards. Only a few points separated the winners, who were: first, Randell and Tanya Reynolds of Stanford; second and People's Choice, Stanford's Blue Bird's Chef Bill Hawkins; and third, Nicole Caccciatore of The Farmhouse Restaurant in Parksville. Thanks to other great cooks. All of the chili was delicious.

Thanks to our vendors: Broomtown; Central Kentucky Hemp; Kravins; Sugar; Southern Style Kettlecorn; The Local Shaved Ice; Larry Mac's Beer Cheese; and inflatables by Perryville Party Rentals. Many thanks to the Boyle County High School Key Club for providing pumpkin decorating, face painting and balloon animals and the Boyle high cheerleaders for selling hotdogs. The Arts Center of the Bluegrass helped children make a cool spider craft and the Boyle County Public Library gave away books. 

The 2018 Chili Cook-Off raised more than $6,700 to purchase coats, clothing and a small toy for children for the holidays and they have other youth programs as well. We think this year's proceeds will be close to this sum.

The Kiwanis receive the names of the children they help at the holidays 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 holiday project and other programs, too.

The 40 members of the Kiwanis Club appreciate the support of their mission and know that everyone has a lot of fun in the process.

This is a family-friendly that featured free pumpkin decorating and face painting by the Boyle County High School Key Club and free library books from the Boyle County Public Library Bookmobile.
Of course, this event would not succeed without the generous support of its sponsors.
Thanks to the following:
Platinum: WHIR and WRNZ radio.
Gold: The Advocate-Messenger; Heidelberg; Kentucky Cooperage; PNC Bank; Sellers Manufacturing; and WKYB-FM.
Silver:  Boyle PVA Lacresha "My" Gibson; Buzick Construction; Corning; Farmers National Bank; Johnson Polhmann Insurance; Mediocre Creative; and Stuart Powell Ford Mazda.
Bronze: Bluegrass I.T. Services; Bruce Devine Roofing; Caverndale Farms; Central Kentucky Federal; Coldwell Banker VIP Realty; Community Trust Bank; InterCounty Energy; Hayslett Mechanical; Keystone Industrial; The Still at AMBRAbev; United Structural Systems; Wilderness Trace Solar; and Xtreme Style Signs & Screen Printing.


Date: October 19, 2019 — October 19, 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


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

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