Last year, 5,308 people toured Owensboro’s O.Z. Tyler Distillery as part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience.

That was up from 4,817 the year before.

This year started strong.

Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit and the distillery closed to visitors on March 14.

Now, after nearly 16 weeks, it’s open again and ready for tourists.

Nicole Ebelhar, manager of visitor experience, said the gift shop will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, for the first time in nearly four months.

And tours of the distillery will begin at 11 a.m.

Ebelhar said, “We’ve been renovating the visitor center while we were closed. By September, we’ll have a permanent bar there with a chandelier.”

She said the gift shop and the tasting room have both been redesigned for social distancing.

And tour sizes will be smaller.

Ebelhar said masks are not required for visitors, except in certain parts of the distillery.

“We recommend them in all areas,” she said. “We’ll provide them if they don’t have their own.”

The new cocktail bar should be ready by August, Ebelhar said.

There are three bourbon cocktails available at the distillery now, she said.

But when the new cocktail bar opens, “We’ll have more cocktails plus beer and wine,” Ebelhar said.

The gift shop accepts walk-ins.

But the tours and Tech & Taste bourbon tastings require advance booking.

People can go to oztylerdistillery.com to book events.

Tickets for the tour are $15 and the Tech & Taste is $10.

Ebelhar said people on the walking tour taste the same three whiskeys as those at the Tech & Taste.

But the Tech & Taste is for people who don’t want to take the walking tour, she said.

The gift shop is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The walking tours are at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Tech & Tastes are from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. those days.

Ebelhar said, “We’re starting to book private events for the fall, winter and beyond.”

O.Z. Tyler, 10 Distillery Road in northwestern Owensboro, joined the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 2018 and began distillery tours in mid-June that year.

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301

klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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