The crisp chill of fall is just around the corner. That means that the time is right to get your hands on a great bottle of whiskey. When the mood strikes, you can always drop by your local liquor store for a pint of aged whiskey — even basic stores are sure to carry a few interesting brands — but why not get in the spirit and turn it into an odyssey? (We like to turn everything into an odyssey.) Nothing is better than going to the source and picking up a bottle and a little insider knowledge.
The summer-fall changeover is perfect for an epic, memory-filled road trip to buy some booze. And this country is dotted with spectacular, innovative distilleries just waiting for you to discover. Check out some of our favorites below.
High West (Utah)
Perched in the Wasatch-Uinta Mountains in Wanship, Utah, High West is one of the most picturesque distilleries in the world. On top of its beautiful surroundings, the distillery also makes some amazing whiskey, including: American Prairie Bourbon, Campfire, and Yippee Ki-Yay rye.
While in the area, stop by nearby Park City and take advantage of any number of outdoors activities. Or just eat at the High West restaurant in town.
Jack Daniel’s (Tennessee)
If you find yourself anywhere near Lynchburg, Tennessee, this fall, you should make a pit stop at the Jack Daniel’s distillery. The sprawling campus is full of as much history as it is whiskey. Take a tour of the distillery, sample some Jack, and stock up on swag at the Lynchburg Hardware General Store.
This destination might be the holy grail for American whiskey fans, and for good reason.
Garrison Brothers (Texas)
American whiskey might be based in Kentucky, but Texas is quickly becoming a powerhouse in the spirits world. One of the best in the state is Hye, Texas’ Garrison Brothers. Visiting this small-batch distiller means embracing Texas Hill Country (and a wild west, cowboy mentality) while you visit the cabin gift shop and tasting room before taking an open-air ride to the cookhouse and distillery.
Balcones Distilling (Texas)
Garrison Brothers isn’t the only whiskey-maker in the Lone Star State. Waco’s Balcones has been winning awards for years and offers tours, a tasting room with flights, and a packed gift shop. This is a great stop for fans of smoky, Scotches as Balcones Brimstone is a great, American alternative to the classic, peaty whiskies of Islay.
Jim Beam (Kentucky)
Jim Beam is one of the biggest names in the whiskey world and its visitor’s attractions live up to the iconic moniker. If you make it to Clermont, Kentucky, stop by the renovated American Stillhouse for rare bottles and Jim Beam gear. You can also take tours of the grounds and distillery and visit the Jim Beam Bourbon Bar.
If Jack Daniel’s is the heart of American whiskey, Jim Beam is its soul.
Woodford Reserve (Kentucky)
Located in Versailles, Kentucky, in the heart of horse-racing country, Woodford Reserve is equal parts classic southern hospitality and innovation. The distillery has different types of tours, including a historical tour and a mixology class as well as a gift shop. with the amount of awards this distillery has won, it’s no surprising that the distillery and the surrounding grounds are so picturesque and Instagram-worthy.
Tuthilltown Spirits (New York)
Visit Gardiner, New York and stop by the Tuthilltown Spirits visitor center and take a tour of the award-winning small-batch distillery. Tucked away in scenic Hudson Valley, Tuthilltown makes Hudson Baby Bourbon, Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, and Hudson Four Grain Bourbon.
This one might not be the largest distillery on this list, but the short trip from New York City and the scenery alone are worth the trip.
Denver might be more well-known for its beer scene, but Stranahan’s has gained a huge following in the last few years. It’s so popular that people wait in line overnight to get the newest addition of Snowflake whiskey every winter. Even if you aren’t there for the big releases, you can stop in and visit The Lounge for whiskey and whiskey-based cocktails and take a tour of the distillery. It’s worth the effort and sure to leave you feeling toasty as the leaves start to turn.