Rabbit Hole Distillery was founded by Kaveh Zamanian and it opened in May 2018. The distillery was built with Bourbon tourism in mind. It has a very tourist friendly layout in its design. The distillery is located in the “NULU” part of Louisville on East Liberty Street. . There is plenty of parking at the distillery, and it is easy to find and for the young and energetic, you could walk to the distillery from most downtown hotels.
The tour starts in the gift shop as you enter the building. The gift shop has many of the items you expect to find in such a place. There are many branded items such as t-shirts, glassware and bottles as well as a selection of books and barware. Like all distilleries, you need to make a reservation beforehand to take the tour. Tourism is booming at the distilleries.
The tour guide will take you up an inclined hallway and talk about Kaveh and the founding of the distillery. The hallway is a ramp up with windows to your left where you can see the bottling line and barrel filling station. At the top of the ramp you will see the base of the column still. The column still has glass windows in each section of the still and as you climb upwards, you can see what is happening on each section of the still.
The guide will discuss the distilling process starting with the grains, milling the grains and cooking the grains. Up a flight of stairs and you will walk amongst their cooker and mash tubs. Here the guide will discuss fermentation and the types of whiskeys they make. Up another flight of stairs and you will see the upper parts of the column still and their pot still doubler. Here the guide will discuss the distillation process.
The tour ends at the top of the column still and the guide will lead you through a doorway to their tasting room. This is not just a tasting room, even though the tours do end with a tasting. This area is a large room with a full bar and catering kitchen that can be rented for events. Just outside of this room is a rooftop area that overlooks the downtown area of the city of Louisville. The setting for the tasting make the tour worthwhile just to experience this view of Louisville.
The tour guide will have had the tasting already poured and waiting when you enter. You will sit down and they will lead you through a tasting of Rabbit Hole whiskeys, then you are free to wander the room and take in the view. When you are through, an elevator is available to take you back to the ground floor and the gift shop.
I like to recommend Rabbit Hole Distillery to people who have come to Louisville for the first time and have never toured a distillery. The tour does a very good job of explaining each step of making whiskey. It is one of the few places that a tourist sees the top of a column still and the glass windows in the still allow them to see what is happening with each level of the still.
The tour guides are knowledgeable and open to answering all questions. Rabbit Hole Distillery does not have a “Master Distiller”. Decisions are made by the quality control team and that means they all have to be knowledgeable about every step of making the whiskey.
I highly recommend a tour of Rabbit Hole Distillery when you are in Louisville. Be sure to book a tour if you are from out of town for a visit to the city. If you live in Louisville, then consider Rabbit Hole for a place to hold an event for friends an family.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller