My Amazing Bourbon Trail Road Trip Part 1

I embarked on a 3000-mile road trip from Texas to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and back (no straights lines). Here are the details of my amazing journey.

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I waited a long time for this trip and let me say it was totally worth the wait. I am talking about my trip from my home here in central Texas and Louisville, Kentucky, host of the infamous “Bourbon Trail”. I started planning this trip over a year ago, needing to balance the time of the year we wanted to be in that part of the country, other commitments, and various other life events we needed to schedule around. My wife is not a bourbon drinker, so she was a bit skeptical at first as to her enjoyment of our time in Louisville. To make sure she also had fun, we decided to do separate outings on a few days, and we decided to expand our trip from just being Bourbon Trail focused.

Why the bourbon trail? In my early 50’s, a buddy of mine introduced me to good scotch, and I enjoyed building my knowledge of scotch (while drinking it, of course). During that time, he also showed me some bourbons, and that started my love of bourbons. Fast forward to today, and not only am I a scotch and bourbon guy, but also a lover of Texas-produced bourbons. The industry in Texas is relatively new, with the first legal distillery in Texas only opening in 2004. Compare that with the first registered distillery in America which was Jack Daniels in 1866. It is Garrison Brothers, who among all the bourbon producers in Texas, has made its name in the bourbon circles, as all the bourbon staff in Kentucky are aware of Garrison Brothers and you see it on shelves in restaurants and bars. There are, of course, many great Texas Bourbons, but this one stood out.

I embarked on this journey to Tennessee and Kentucky as I really wanted to get a good look at the bourbon industry there as compared to where we are and where we are heading in Texas. Being in the middle of whisky production in these states and understanding their history and maturity will help me with my articles and ultimately make a place Texas whiskey, wine, and beer drinkers go to for intel.

As I mentioned, we decided to expand our trip beyond just a round trip to Kentucky, but to use our closeness to other areas as an opportunity to see other places. From a state perspective, excluding Texas, we touched ten (10) states on our trip: Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Below is a map of our actual travels. If you like this route, it’s about 3,300 miles total and we did it in 3 weeks. Obviously, can go slower or faster depending on your situation and desire.

To get a little more detailed on the cities we visited and stayed overnight one or more nights, here is the list in order: Home -> Dallas, TX -> Little Rock, AK -> Memphis, TN -> Nashville, TN -> Louisville, KY -> Lexington, KY -> Knoxville, TN -> Charlotte, NC -> Charleston, SC -> Savannah, GA -> Jacksonville, FL -> Tallahassee, FL -> Gulf Shores, AL -> New Orleans, LA -> Sour Lake, TX -> Home

A few items I also want to touch on, and I will write separate articles on them later. First, our dashboard camera. We bought a new one for the trip (Link below), and I have some thoughts and recommendations for you should you want to add one to your vehicle.

The second item was an out of the blue purchase of technology that I wasn’t expecting to do but got the itch to do it. Ray Ban Meta Glasses. I have some insight on these as well, but the spoiler is they were great on this trip.

Now for the rental car, which was very important for this trip. I achieved the best deal through Costco for Budget Rent-a-car, and it was hundreds less than other quotes. We ended up with a red Mitsubishi Outlander with 3,600 miles on it. We chose it over the Ford Escape SUV which was another option. The Outlander was bigger and more comfortable, but to be honest, not a car I ever gave second looks to. The spoiler here is that the car performed remarkably well, and if someone told me to buy a new car today, it would be up there towards the top of my list. I will say “sorry” to Budget as I doubled the mileage on the car during the trip!

This was not an inexpensive road trip! The fuel costs were low, with our average miles per gallon being about 28. Total fuel costs $301.06 (I budgeted $475, but that was based on 25 MPG and a higher price per gallon than we actually paid. Car rental was about $1,100, so the transportation part of this trip was about $1,400. The bigger expense was hotel stays, meals, and activities such as distillery tours.

Now that you know about our trip, the next few installments of this blog will focus on details during the trip, our experiences, and of course, the bourbon! So, stay tuned for My Amazing Bourbon Trail Road Trip Part 2.

About the Author

A native of Texas, Ken “Texan” Pierce is a renowned alcohol aficionado with decades of experience in the Texas wine, whiskey, and beer industry. With a vast number of alcohol production resources right in his back yard in the Texas Hill Country, Ken has made it his mission to promote and advance the Texas winemaking, distilling, and brewing industry across the country.  Ken holds certifications from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) for wine and is a Certified Texas Wine Ambassador. His ability to identify tasting notes and pairings makes him a respected authority within alcohol enthusiast circles. When he’s not reviewing the latest craft spirits, you can find Ken playing his guitar, trying to sing, and sipping on a Texas libation.


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