On a breezy Sunday afternoon, cars parked at Boundary Oak Distillery carried license plates Virginia, Florida, New Mexico and Indiana.
Inside, small groups took tours of the facility while others watched an eight-minute film on bourbon in the theater while Master Distiller Brent Goodin manned the gift shop cash register.
As each person checked out, Goodin struck up a conversation. About half are familiar with Boundary Oak’s signature products, he said, including Patton Armored Diesel, the Lincoln line of spirits or Cinnful 69. A few find the place by word of mouth or a tourism promotion, including a growing number who report seeing the brown tourism sign on Interstate 65 near Exit 102.
In the past week, Goodin is beginning to greet customers carrying tiny brown booklets issued by the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The organization’s 68-page craft tour passports now include the Radcliff distillery.
Boundary Oak joined the Kentucky Distillers Association in 2014 but officially became part of the craft tour for the first time last month.
Now in its third year in the hillside building along Ky. 313, which once served as the Challenger Learning Center, Goodin said the distillery welcomed more than 25,000 guests last year. He anticipates that inclusion on the tour will boost that number to 35,000 or 40,000 annually.
The passport lists 20 small distilleries and includes Boundary Oak in its western region with distilleries in Franklin, Hopkinsville and Pembrooke. Visitors can purchase a $3 passport at any stop and are encouraged to have it stamped at each site. Information about both bourbon trail tours is available at www.kybourbontrail.com.
Goodin said Boundary Oak’s unique location near Interstate 65 and its proximity to Jim Beam in Clermont make it an attractive spot for travelers.
Also, it’s one of the few stops on either trail map that features hotels within walking distance. For many tourists, Goodin believes the convenient access to lodging will make it a destination if not a starting point for their bourbon experience.
“We’re centrally located and easy to get to. It’s easy to park here. And we’re accessible off a major interstate,” Goodin said, listing the location’s attributes.
Six months after the distillery was licensed, Goodin agreed to relocate from family-owned property off Battle Training Road to the Radcliff building. Under an agreement with city government, 5 percent of the proceeds sold on the premise goes to the city.
While the gift shop offers trinkets, novelties and a collection of T-shirts, many of the visitors leave carrying brown paper sacks with a Boundary Oak liquor, including its original product, Kentucky Moonshine 101 Proof or 121 Proof. Goodin, who also signs the bottles he sells, estimates that 80 percent of the sales are alcohol.
With typical transactions Sunday averaging $50 apiece, that’s $2.50 each going to Radcliff.