Thursday, November 12, 2015
Is a Bourbon Tour Appropriate for Children?
Most people have no desire to see where their toaster was made, or their clothing, or where their food was grown. Yet tours of breweries, wineries, and distilleries are popular all over the world. In addition to seeing whiskey being made, visitors to Kentucky's bourbon country can see whiskey barrels being made, and whiskey candy, whiskey soy sauce, even whiskey cigars. They can stay in a self-described whiskey-themed hotel. They can eat food with whiskey in it. They can buy tons of souvenirs emblazoned with whiskey brand names.
More and more people visit Kentucky every year to see a distillery or other whiskey attraction. Tennessee too. Jack Daniel's alone receives 250,000 visitors annually.
Many bring their children.
Children may not participate in tastings, of course, but they are welcome on all of the tours. Here is how the Kentucky Bourbon Trail addresses it on their 'frequently asked questions' page:
Are people under 21 allowed to take tours?
All distilleries require you to be at least 21 to sample their products if they offer tastings, but anyone is welcome to tour the distilleries. You must be 21 to participate in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Passport Program.
If you visit the distilleries, you will see many families with children. You will see children of all ages, from babies in strollers to teenagers.
All of the content on these tours is about how whiskey is made, about the families who make it, and about the history. There is very little about drinking it.
Whiskey, however, is an adult product. We try to keep it away from kids, both as parents and as a society. It takes a village, you know. Some people believe advertising for alcohol should be banned because it makes children want to drink. If that's true, then what will visiting a distillery do to them?
The many people who would never dream of visiting a distillery themselves probably don't think children should be allowed, but if you think like that why are you even reading this? You're in a very whiskey-friendly space right now, in case you haven't noticed.
Planning a family vacation is hard. It can be a challenge to find something that appeals to everyone. Maybe that's why so many families default to Disney. The distilleries allow parents to bring their children along on tours, but they don't say whether or not they think it is a good idea. That decision is left up to the judgment of the parents. That's where it belongs.