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Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour

Bourbon Fun at the Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour

In USA by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch7 Comments

Check out our experience taking a Buffalo Trace distillery tour and see what we ate for lunch after our fun tour of the famous Frankfort Kentucky distillery.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour Guide Fred Mozenter

Buffalo Trace tour guide, Fred Mozenter, is a lifelong fan of bourbon. His goal is to make bourbon fun during his tours.

Imagine our surprise when we made a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for our Buffalo Trace distillery tour in Frankfort and met our tour guide from … wait for it … Philadelphia.

With a southern drawl and a warm, welcoming smile, the tour guide seemed every bit like a local at first glance. We totally assumed that he was born and bred in Kentucky until he dropped the bomb that not only was he from Philadelphia but also that he had once lived just five blocks from the house that we left behind when we answered the call to travel.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Buffalo Trace tour guide Fred Mozenter is a Philadelphia native. The Philly connection added extra flavor to our Buffalo Trace hard hat distillery tour.

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Located just 660 miles from Philadelphia, Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort feels like another world. Instead of the high rises and parking lots that define the Philadelphia landscape, horse farms and distilleries dot the grassy landscape of Frankfort’s rolling green hills.

Originally called the O.F.C. Distillery and later the George T. Stagg Distillery, Buffalo Trace makes many bourbons beyond its signature Buffalo Trace whiskey including cult favorite Pappy Van Winkle and Blanton’s. Inspired by the wild buffalo that once roamed freely along the Kentucky River on passes called traces, parent Sazerac Company renamed the company to Buffalo Trace in 1999.

Buffalo Trace Campus in Kentucky

The Buffalo Trace campus is impressive with its combination of historic buildings and modern technology. The distillery has 100 buildings on 440 acres at this site.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour

We know how we got to Buffalo Trace from Philadelphia – a simple detour from Cincinnati to Nashville during our epic road trip. After visiting Graeter’s, the country’s greatest ice cream company, it was a no-brainer for us to visit Buffalo Trace, arguably the country’s greatest bourbon distiller.

But how did tour guide Fred Mozenter get to Buffalo Trace from Philadelphia? It’s not exactly a normal path to move from Philadelphia to Frankfort. And how did he end up with a coveted job working at the distillery where he traded his Philly accent for a southern drawl?

Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour

Tour guide Fred Mozenter’s bourbon passion is evident during his Buffalo Trace distillery tours. He walks groups through the distillery, explaining the process along the way.

It turns out that Mozenter worked for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) as a store manager for 34 years before taking an early retirement package. Upon retiring, he decided to pursue his true passion – bourbon.

That passion led him to Kentucky and his second career at Buffalo Trace. Hired because he could “make bourbon fun”, Mozenter has been giving tours at Buffalo Trace since he moved south to Frankfort with no end in sight.

Buffalo Trace Tasting

Tour guide Fred Mozenter takes pleasure in sharing his bourbon passion with tour groups. Here he is shown pouring samples at the end of our tour.

History and Fun

During the Buffalo Trace Bourbon tour, Mozenter educated us about the company’s storied history which dates back hundreds of years and survived prohibition. The oldest continuing operating distillery, Buffalo Trace distributed bourbon for “medicinal purposes” during prohibition. Today, the distillery displays memorabilia from its history including site maps and pictures detailing the long, eventful past.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Equipment

This equipment is part of the micro-distillery where the company experiments and makes smaller batches.

The Buffalo Trace Hard Hat Tour shows Buffalo Trace Bourbon in its various stages as it transforms from corn mash to liquid gold. Starting with the cookhouse and the huge fermentation vats, the tour is hands-on – literally. During the tour, participants get to taste fermenting mash and wash their hands with freshly distilled bourbon, activities that let all five senses experience the distilling process.

Blanton's Bourbon Assembly Line

Buffalo Trace does not outsource any aspects of the bourbon process including the bottling of Blanton’s bourbon.

Bourbon Tasting

“All bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbons.”

95% of all bourbon is distilled in Kentucky and the state’s limestone water gives bourbon its distinct flavor, Mozenter said. The remaining 5% is made elsewhere in the United States, but the taste is not the same without Kentucky’s limestone water.

At the end of the tour, we tasted four different Buffalo Trace brands distilled at Buffalo Trace including Clix vodka and decadently rich bourbon cream. As an unexpected treat, we indulged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon chocolates made by a local chocolatier, Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory. All of these products and more are available at the distillery’s onsite Buffalo Trace gift shop.

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon Chocolates

These Kentucky Bourbon Chocolates prove that bourbon can be enjoyed as candy too.

We will long remember Buffalo Trace’s distillery tour, especially when we drink their bourbon. We will especially remember tour guide Fred Mozenter. Just like his getting the job at Buffalo Trace, us meeting him was “meant to be.” Hearing his story validated our decision to follow our dreams of traveling and tasting the world.

A Man and His Bourbon at the Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour

Cheers to chance encounters and good bourbon!

Lunch in Frankfort

Grilled Kentucky Hot Brown at Gibby's in Frankfort Kentucky

We ate this Grilled Kentucky Hot Brown at Gibby’s in downtown Frankfort after our Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour.

Since man cannot live on bourbon and chocolate alone, you should follow your distillery tour with lunch at one of the many restaurants near Buffalo Trace Distillery. After our tour, we ate a Grilled Kentucky Hot Brown at Gibby’s in downtown Frankfort. Located just two miles from the distillery, Gibby’s is a local institution and a perfect spot for lunch.

Gibby’s is located at 204 W Broadway St, Frankfort, KY 40601, United States.

Thirsty for more? Check out the best places to drink in Louisville, just a one-hour from the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Schedule Your Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour

Buffalo Trace tours are complimentary but must be reserved in advance. We took the Hard Hat tour which we highly recommend. You can make your free reservations here.

Book Your Frankfort Hotel

Click here to check out rates for Frankfort hotels.

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Buffalo Trace Distillery is located at 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601, United States.

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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    1. Author

      Nope! Although we are currently in France, we still have stories to share about our North American road trip. Hopefully the mix of topics will keep things interesting for you.

    1. Author

      You should visit Buffalo Trace for Best Sips!

  1. I have never had bourbon but this place isn’t too far from home. Would make a great weekend trip with the hubby! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Sounds like a great tour! And such a great story about your guide and how he came to work there. I love that although his previous career ended he has been able to do this for the last seven years. He clearly enjoys himself!

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