Near the end of November I took a little vacation. And I don’t know about you, but for me no vacation is complete without a swing through Kentucky to visit a distillery or two.
Now, I’ve been on the Wild Turkey tour before. It’s a worthwhile experience if you’ve got the time to spend. Even though I knew things would be different, this time around I didn’t have that extra time. But since I’d been there last, they'd built a brand new visitor center. From everything I’d heard, I had to see that.
It was a rainy day as I was passing through Lawrenceburg, KY. Cloudy, drizzly and wet. Perfect weather to be inside looking at whiskey stuff. As I walked up, I wasn’t struck by the incredible beauty that everyone talked about. In fact, it was a bit odd looking to me at first. Just a hulking dark brown shape. As I got closer though, I noticed something cool. You could see through the building in places. The outer walls were made out of wooden slats and as you moved in relation to the building they would line up differently, changing how the building looked.
The inside of the building was both visually different and very related to the outside. Instead of dark wood reminiscent of the charred interior of a barrel it was light wood almost exactly the same color as a barrel’s exterior. The building is a reverse barrel.
As I walked in, I was greeted by the very nice and helpful staff. At this point I had a choice, I could turn right to see the displays or go straight past them to see the merchandise. I opted to turn right. There was a long display along one wall that showed the history of Wild Turkey. Following that, you reached an open area.
At first I wasn’t sure what was going on here. Kind of looked like a bunch of signs. Then I noticed one of the signs was moving. These were displays. And touch displays at that. There were videos to watch and things to learn. I love learning.
After that pleasant surprise, I looked to see what else there was. I saw a round map with iPads in holsters around it. Picking one up and pointing it at the map caused the iPad to display the buildings in 3D. Tapping them would give you information about the property. There was also a bottle display that did something similar.
After we played for a bit with the high-tech toys, we asked if we could go up into the tasting area to see the view of the bridge from up there. They happily let us. Even on a dreary day, the view of the river gorge was pretty. After that it was back down to the merchandise area to spend a little money and be on our merry way.
I have to say, I much more impressed by this visitor center than I expected to be. From the inside-out barrel concept of the building itself to the museum quality, high-tech displays this is a sight to see.