The Barton tour is very new and a work-in-progress. I'm sure they would appreciate any feedback.
They are planning to plant some flowers and pretty it up a little, but I don't think it will lose any of its rawness as a result.
I hit Barton last Friday. We were in two cars that got sperated, and none of us know Bardstown that well. Both cars had trouble finiding the distillery, and ended up coming in different entrances and had to sign in and different guard shacks. This wasn't a big deal, but it shows that they're not really pushing the tour to make people stop in impulsively.
First of all, all of the employees in the gift shop and on the tour were EXTREMELY friendly. We had five people in our vacationing group, and we were the only ones going on our tour time. They held the tour up for 5 minutes at our request to accomidate another friend coming into town to see Barton.
There was nothing about the tour that really stood out from the other 7 distilleries we saw in a 30 hour span, particularly as they were in a shutdown. (They seemed to imply that the shutdown would be much shorter than what has been reported elsewhere, but I didn't press them on the statements.)
As said above, the tour seemed a little rough. There were no designated "tour areas" as denoted by lines on the floor or anything. One member of our group is actually pricing shrink wrap equpiment for his manufacturing plant, so he was able to watch the equipment at Barton for a few minutes without being hurried along. It was very relaxed and flexible, but I think they would be unable to accomodate a larger group in this format.
The tasting was excellent as well. When my brother was asked what he thought after sampling 1792, he replied, "I feel confient and more handsome," drawing a good laugh from the employees.
The Village of Bardstown is notoriously restrictive about signs, which may be why the official entrance was hard to find. They even give people a hard time about signs on their own property.
Because Stephen Foster: The Musical is an international phenomenon.
A friend of mine just found a bottle of Barton with Frankfort as the address on the label instead of Bardstown/Owensboro. Was there a period of time when VOB was distilled at BT?
Nope. Most likely that's a new bottle. The label location usually indicates where bottled and companies often list all of the locations where something might be bottled. Sazerac now has five bottling facilities.