The Kentucky Distillers Association has added four distilleries to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, bringing the total to 20.
Those 20 distilleries are now grouped into four regions across the state and the distillers association has added incentives, including collectible coins and a tasting glass, to encourage visiters to stop at all the sites on the Craft Tour.
Those four distilleries new on the Craft Tour are Dueling Grounds in Franklin, Casey Jones in Hopkinsville, Boundary Oak in Radcliff and Second Sight in northern Kentucky.
Dueling Grounds founding owner Marc Dottore said being on the Bourbon Trail Craft Tour is important for his distillery.
MARC DOTTORE: Joining the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour is significant to me for a couple of reasons. First off, there's kind of a recognition that we've reached a certain standard, that we're producing a product that is acceptable to a trade organization that governs the entire bourbon spectrum. And it's also a significant way of driving tourists into our site. There are people who come to Kentucky specifically to make a vacation out of doing the craft tour. And so for us to be on that, for them to find us, for us to participate in the marketing assets and things that the distillers association brings to the table is significant.
RHONDA MILLER: How long have you been in business? And what level have you reached at this point that allowed you or that allowed you to be on this craft tour?
DOTTORE: Sure. I got my license in 2013. I spent the first couple of years making very small batches, testing things, saving things, and ordering equipment. And we got everything finally in and set up in 2015. Some changes in the Kentucky laws in 2016 allowed us to open to the public and have a cocktail bar and event space and that sort of thing. And then we put our first bourbon out in December of last year 2018.
MILLER: And Marc, you are the southern most point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, do you think that's significant?
DOTTORE: I think it's significant that we are the southern most distillery on the craft trail. We are the closest to Nashville, which generates an awful lot of tourism. I get a lot of people who come in who are staying in Nashville for the week and they wanted to touch base in Kentucky maybe hit a Kentucky distillery and we’re the closest one.
MILLER: How did you pick Franklin to live and work? And obviously, you came into this craft distillery as a second career?
MILLER: How did that all come about?
DOTTORE: I moved to Franklin in 1996, I fell in love with the town. I had been going up there visiting a friend who lived in the area, just love the vibe of the place. And on Easter Sunday, 1996, I was taking a ride around through the country, and I found like this farmhouse of my dreams. And so for the next several years, I spent my time commuting to Nashville because I was working in the Nashville music business on the business side. And with the idea that eventually I wanted to start some kind of business in Franklin, that would kick in as the music thing would inevitably start to fade because that's the nature of that business, you're not there forever. And so I looked for a long time, I tried a lot of different things. I tried little business ventures, I took a couple of jobs thinking that they might kind of pan out. And what I eventually found was, you know, I was already a beer brewer, I liked the idea of doing something in food, and probably the biggest thing I wanted to hire local people, make a local product and make most importantly, a physical product, something that actually to put across the table. I spent my most of my life talking on the telephone to make a living. And I wanted to do something that was physical.
MILLER: So how many employees do you have now?
DOTTORE: There's three of us full-time counting myself, part-time graphics person and a part-time bartender and bar back.
MILLER: Do you see yourself expanding? Or do you know yet?
DOTTORE: I do. The last three years that we've been really making product, I've doubled my production each year. When you take it in terms of the real numbers, that isn't very much. We went from 25 to 50 to 150 barrels this year. So to continue that growth, I will have to add equipment and I will have to do some expansion. And that's something that we're looking at right now. So we want to go from a 200 gallon system to an 800 gallon system hopefully within two years.
MILLER: Thanks, Marc.
DOTTORE: Thank you.
MILLER: We’ve been talking with Marc Dottore, owner of Dueling Grounds distillery in Franklin. The other distilleries added to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour are Casey Jones in Hopkinsville, Boundary Oak in Radcliff and Second Sight in northern Kentucky.