Visit Lebanon Kentucky & Maker’s Mark Is Having A Draw April 2nd

Lebanon is the Heart of Kentucky and the Heart of Bourbon Country…

Maker’s Mark Distillery is Lebanon, Kentucky’s most recognizable attraction and is located a few miles outside of downtown near Loretto, right in the Heart of Bourbon Country.

Maker’s Mark is the only operating distillery in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark. Originally built in 1805 as a gristmill distillery, it became the home of Maker’s Mark in 1953. Today, it is the oldest operating distillery on its original site.

It wasn’t until 1840 that the T.W. Samuels family got serious about whisky distilling. And that’s when Robert’s grandson, T.W. Samuels, built the family’s first commercial distillery at Samuels Depot, Kentucky. The “secret” family recipe was passed from generation to generation, six to be exact.

When the Civil War was supposedly over, William Clark Quantrill’s band of Confederate irregulars, including Jesse and Frank James, had other ideas. They continued to attack Union sympathizers throughout central Kentucky. Eventually, Quantrill was shot and his irregulars were chased to the hamlet of Samuels, Ky. and took refuge at the home of T.W. Samuels, Jesse and Frank’s stepfather.

The 1920s brought American Prohibition and distilleries were shut down until 1934.

In 1943, Bill Samuels Sr. decided to create a distinguished style of bourbon whisky. So he left the T.W. Samuels Distillery and began his new venture by burning the 170-year-old family recipe.

In 1951, Bill Samuels Sr. developed a new recipe based on locally grown corn and malted barley coupled with gentle winter wheat, not the traditional and harsher grain, rye. He did this without a distillery. He baked bread in the family kitchen, experimenting with different grains to come to this conclusion.

The following year, Marge Samuels, Bill’s wife, designed the bottle and named the whisky. As a fine pewter collector, she had always searched for “the mark of the maker.” She was also a collector of bottles of cognac, many of which were sealed in colorful wax. It was these two things that lent themselves to the Maker’s Mark packaging still used today.

In 1958, the first bottle of Maker’s Mark was dipped, sealed and introduced at $7 a bottle. The popularity of the bourbon has grown continuously since, as has the popularity of the distillery as a tourist attraction.

In 1980, the distillery was declared a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Cecil Andress.

Due to the increased popularity of Maker’s Mark, the distillery expanded in 2000 and 2001, duplicating, in exact detail, the distillery as it had been restored in the ‘60s. This doubled the capacity to make whisky.

Lebanon’s other bourbon attractions include Kentucky Cooperage, a bourbon barrel-making factory, and The Oak Barrel, a fine dining restaurant with a bourbon flair. Both are located right on Main Street. Kentucky Cooperage gives free tours Mon.-Fri. at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

You can have a free tasting of Maker’s Mark right at the distillery and you can register to win a free Heart of Kentucky Bourbon & Barrels Getaway right now at The drawing is April 2 and you can enter every day. No purchase is necessary but a discounted package can be booked online.

Lebanon’s other attractions include Historic Penn’s Store, Lebanon National Cemetery, Scott’r Ridge Lookout, Cecil L. Gorley Naturalist Trail, Heart of Kentucky Marketplace, Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse, to name a few, and Lebanon is within 30 minutes of other bourbon attractions, My Old Kentucky Home, Lincoln Homestead State Park and many other great Kentucky sights!

 The Maker’s Mark Distillery is closed Aug. 16 through Sept. 11 but access to the stillhouse, barrel warehouse and bottling plant is still offered.

 Tours are conducted every hour on the half-hour from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, tours are conducted at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., March through December. All times are Eastern Time.

The distillery is closed on Sundays in January and February. The distillery is open on holidays except Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

 A visitor must be 21 or older to dip his or her own bottle.
For even more information, call 270.692.0021 or go to

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