Bourbon Barons: Prohibition


On January 17, 1920, the death knell rang for Kentucky’s bourbon industry with the ratification of the 18th Amendment—Prohibition. This made alcohol illegal throughout the country. Prohibition had a major impact on the economy of Kentucky. The Bluegrass State was the home to as many as 2,000 distilleries before Prohibition. The bourbon industry put food on many tables in KY.  It could be argued that the Great Depression started in 1920 for the citizens of our state. With the need to provide for their families hanging over their head, many Kentuckians continued to engage in the now illegal activity.  On this tour we will delve into the life of the bootleggers and speakeasy owners who had to take this path. We will discuss those who had to enforce Prohibition as well as those who had to give up their generations old family businesses. Along the way we will visit sites associated with this period such as the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum in Bardstown, the new Prohibition Craft Spirits Distillery, Evan Williams Distillery for a special speakeasy tasting, then finish with a cocktail at Louisville’s coolest speakeasy, Hell or High Water.  Lunch will be at Gatsby’s on Fourth in the historic Seelbach Hilton Hotel, where the likes of Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald enjoyed a good drink.

Pickup will be at the Lexington Visitor’s Center or the Pepper Distillery District. The tour will be approximately 8-9 hours long.

Price $140: Includes tours and tastings at all locations. Lunch and cocktail will also be included. Water and snacks will be provided.

Click on the available dates below to register for the event:

June 25th


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