There’s a new stop on the tasting route of Kentucky distilleries. It’s a small, family-owned and operated distillery called Limestone Branch. While most of the distilleries along the famed Bourbon Trail sell, well, bourbon, Limestone Branch is a little different. One of the first distilleries to be listed on the Kentucky Bourbon Craft Tour, this hidden gem currently sells something a little more unique and up until a few years ago, very illegal.
Pick up a new blue Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour Passport, collect all the stamps staring at this location, and receive a silver plated mint julep beker! Both the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (major distilleries with the brown passport) and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour cross at the Heart of Kentucky, Lebanon, with Maker’s Mark and Limestone Branch distilleries right here!
Moon*Shine and the newly trademarked Sugar*Shine are the two primary brands that Limestone Branch sells, as well as an “almost bourbon”, “Revenge”…although they recently introduced a few new flavors, including blackberry, strawberry, cherry, pumpkin pie, apple cinnamon pie, jalepeno and…Moonpie Moonshine!
Limestone Branch Distillery was opened in February 2012 by brothers Steve and Paul Beam. Moonshine is in their blood. In fact, the Beam’s great-great grandfather, Joseph Washington Dant, began distilling sour mash whiskey in 1836 a few miles down the road from where Limestone Branch Distillery sits today. The Beam’s great grandfather, Minor Case Beam, continued the spirit-making tradition, crafting Old Trump and T.J. Pottinger brands of fine sour mash and rye whiskeys.
Family lore says that the first Master Distiller in the family, Jacob Boehm, came across Cumberland Gap in 1788 with a pot still strapped to his back. He promptly changed his surname to “Beam” and sold his first barrel of whiskey in 1795.
Even though Prohibition ended the family’s ownership of the distillery, grandfather Guy S. Beam carried on the family’s heritage as a Master Distiller for many of Kentucky’s finest distilleries.
Today, Limestone Branch produces small one-barrel batches of the finest spirits possible from their 150-gallon hand-hammered copper pot still. Visitors can tour the distillery, experience firsthand the unique taste of Moon*Shine and Sugar*Shine, and tour the gift shop and grounds.
Admission: Free tour & tasting (21 and older), free entrance to gift shop
Tours: Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and on Sundays from 1 to 5 pm, with tours departing on the hour.