Amy Preske


A Pandemic Pivot Led to a New Crowd Favorite called “Whiskey Wednesday Live”

Businesses are pivoting during the COVID pandemic, including Buffalo Trace Distillery. When travel stalled in the Spring due to safety concerns, this 245-year-old distillery and tourist destination turned to new media to ensure fans could still experience Kentucky’s top bourbon attraction. On-site distillery tours have since resumed, but fans continue to enjoy virtual tourism from the comfort of their homes.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery live stream on social media each week, called Whiskey Wednesday, has been viewed by over 3.6 million people around the world since episodes began on May 13. The unscripted live program is often hosted by Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley or Bourbon Hall-of-Fame Tour Guide Freddie Johnson. Viewers get behind-the-scenes access, insights, live bourbon tastings, and learn from experts how the National Historic Landmark Distillery produces fine bourbon. The interactive show also allows fans to participate, by commenting and asking questions online.

Whiskey Wednesday airs live at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time weekly. The feed is simulcast on social channels for the Distillery and its brands. The feed can be found on the Buffalo Trace Distillery Facebook page, as well as the Buffalo Trace Bourbon YouTube account, and as replays on the Distillery Instagram feed. Past episodes are easily found on the Buffalo Trace Bourbon YouTube channel.

The show debuted with almost 30,000 viewers on Facebook and YouTube on May 13 when Harlen Wheatley showcased the grains used to make bourbon cooking in the mash house. Fans immediately began sharing the streams, posting questions for subsequent shows, and virtually visiting the Distillery in eye-popping numbers.  

It only took eight episodes to hit 100,000 viewers (July 15), then one more week to reach 200,000 (July 22). The stream has averaged over 165,000 weekly viewers since July 15, when the Distillery re-opened for socially distanced tours. 

“Whiskey Wednesday has given our fans and visitors a connection to us, and allowed us to connect with them, in a time when personal connections are more challenging,” Wheatley said. “If people can’t travel to the Distillery in person, what better way to tour or enjoy a bourbon tasting with us from wherever you are. We’re grateful to our fans for watching and interacting. We hope they keep doing so.”

Future Whiskey Wednesday episodes are planned to continue in 2021 and will include more bourbon tastings, behind-the scenes tours, trivia, history and special guests.

In addition to Whiskey Wednesday, fans can take a virtual tour of the property anytime on the Distillery website.  On-site distillery tours are complimentary and available too, but by reservation only.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery pandemic relief efforts go beyond providing virtual content for visitors and fans. The Distillery continues to produce hand sanitizer on an industrial scale for some of the world’s largest organizations in healthcare, government, military, retail, distribution, airline, pharmacy, and banking industries and has produced about 2 million gallons of hand sanitizer to date.

The Distillery also continues progress on its $1.2 billion infrastructure improvement and distillery expansion to increase production for future bourbon demand.

About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery's rich tradition dates back to 1775 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won 35 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Its Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon was named World Whiskey of the Year for 2018 and its William Larue Weller and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac were named 2nd and 3rd finest whiskeys in the world for 2020.  Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 1,000 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotracedistillery.com.  To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/media