A Visit to Makers Mark (The Road to Dragon*Con, Part 2)

I SURVIVED the roach.

I never saw him again. Though… perhaps he got off the floor of that dingy hotel room after I clobbered him with the TV remote and crawled down my throat to get his vengeance while I was sleeping… because today, the area of my tonsils feels like it’s been sandpapered.

Yep, I’ve got the post-con, didn’t-sleep-for-four-days blues. And another busy weekend coming up to boot — a newspaper interview and booksigning tomorrow night and a friend’s wedding Saturday.

I had a great breakfast at a greasy spoon Waffle House on Tuesday morning before heading out of Bowling Green, KY. An hour down the road I opted to follow the Bluegrass Highway to find the Makers Mark Distillery (a “historic site”!!!)

Anyone who knows me knows that I always chase my Newcastle with a shot of Makers, so when I saw on the map that I was just a little ways from the distillery… it was a fait accompli.

What I didn’t realize, was just how FAR off I-65 the place actually was. While it looks close on the map, the roads there weave around and double back and it took a good 45 minutes from leaving the highway before I finally found the sign that signaled the “end of the road.”

While the roundabout rolling country roads made the travel time double what the distance should have cost, I was fascinated to see the distillery in action, and I learned why I like Makers Mark and Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbon better than any others — they are 2 of the 5 bourbon makers who don’t use rye in the process (Makers uses red wheat).

I even had my picture taken next to the distillery purifier where all the good bourbon comes out. AND, to make it even better, this turned out to be the first day the distillery was in full operation again after a month off — and they were bottling red-white-and-blue wax-capped bottles to celebrate the election coming up (Makers does a number of different wax cappings, which make their product more collectible).

I let myself be suckered into the ultimate tourist trap and “dipped” my own bottle of Makers in the wax… so now I have a souvenir bottle of bourbon that I can never open (unless I want to ruin my cap!).

The detour ended up costing me over three hours, all-told (hard to swallow when you’ve got 8 hours to go) but at the end of the road I met my wife and son for a good ol’ Chicago Aurelio’s Pizza in Tinley Park… which is worth any drive.

Here are some more photos from the Makers distillery:

The entry road to Makers Mark goes through an old bridge.


The women on the line were dipping red, white and blue wax caps.


Here’s a true “dipping” in action.


Here’s the bottle I dipped, drying under a fan.


A nice shot of “whiskey creek,” where all the water for Makers comes from.

About John Everson

John Everson is a Bram Stoker Award-winning horror author with more than 100 published short stories and 14 novels of horror and dark fantasy currently in print. His first novel, Covenant, won the Bram Stoker Award for a First Novel in 2005. His sixth novel, NightWhere, was a Bram Stoker Finalist in 2013. Its sequel, The Night Mother, was released in June 2023.

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