Buffalo Trace Distillery
Location: Frankfort, Kentucky
Type of Venue: Off-site, distillery
Capacity: More than 350 guests
Capital Plaza Hotel
Set on the well-worn path once followed by thousands of wooly beasts traveling from the grasslands of the Great Plains to the falls of the Ohio, the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, shares a name and a place in history alongside the trail where it resides. The bison were the first to make their mark on this slice of Kentucky, but it was the pioneering work of the early settlers and distillers of the city that would make Buffalo Trace a household name.
The distillery’s roots date back to the early 1800s, when the first still was set up on the land, but it wasn’t until 1999 that the distillery’s flagship brand, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, first entered the market and brought this family-owned company to new heights. The product was an immediate success, and within a year the distillery was on the map, with visitors coming from around the world to discover the roots of their favorite bourbon.
The Buffalo Trace Distillery earned its place as a National Historic Landmark in 2013 and continues on today as the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. Visitors today can get an inside look at the art of making bourbon and go behind the scenes while uncovering some of the distillery’s normal and paranormal features on the distillery’s range of tours. Guests of all ages are welcomed to participate in the Trace Tour and the Ghost Tour, while only guests 12 years or older are able to take part in the Hard Hat Tour, the National Landmark Tour and the Bourbon Barrel Tour.
Aside from the creative events and multiple tasting options the distillery offers throughout the year, the building itself has become a fantastic spot for hosting private events and gatherings. Meeting groups can choose from any of three options at the distillery, ranging from a 1935 renovated log cabin to the intimate and exclusive Master Distiller’s Room. From reunions to receptions and private tastings to corporate outings, the distillery offers the chance to host polished events in a rustic setting.
With three separate spaces to gather, the Buffalo Trace Distillery provides intimate settings for groups of varying sizes. The Elmer T. Lee Clubhouse sits inside a 1935 log cabin that has been modernly restored with an upper level that seats up to 350 guests within 1,950 square feet. The Master Distiller’s Room is decidedly more intimate. A wood-burning fireplace welcomes in groups of up to 14 guests within 250 square feet. The Single Oak Room in the George T. Stagg Gallery is located within the Visitor Center, where the room can divide into space for up to 75 guests in the Single Oak Room or up to 150 guests in the George T. Stagg Gallery.
The Buffalo Trace Distillery does not offer in-house catering, but the meetings and events contract does allow for outside caterers that have obtained the proper license and insurance to serve within Kentucky. Box lunches are available through the Firehouse Sandwich Shop, where juicy barbecue sandwiches are prepared in an easy-to-grab lunch format with tasty sides and a chocolate bar. Alcohol is allowed, and the distillery does permit bar service at events, but each event planner is required to show proof of a licensed caterer and/or bartender before the event.
Every meeting and event held at the Buffalo Trace Distillery comes with a complimentary tour and tasting for all members of the meeting or event group. Tours can be personalized to fit a specific theme of the meeting, but no matter which tour planners choose, guests will go home with a greater understanding and a deeper appreciation of this Kentucky gem. Tours take guests down the path of rolling bourbon barrels to see where the brand’s finest creations are stored to age until the bottles are ready to be filled, sealed, labeled and packaged — all by hand.
The event spaces each bring their own rustic character to the mix, but they also feature some updated amenities, like wireless internet, wireless projectors, built-in screens for presentations, and sound systems. Ambient lighting is available in the Master Distiller’s Room, and meeting groups of the Single Oak Room in the George T. Stagg Gallery can enjoy the industrial chic beauty of a beamed ceiling set above the original hardwood floor of the building’s original 1880s structure. The Elmer T. Lee Clubhouse brings additional convenience to meetings with its own full-service catering kitchen, making catering a breeze for all sorts of events.