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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Heaven Hill to revive whiskey production in his hometown

Heaven Hill Distillery, one of the world’s largest bourbon producers, plans to revive its whiskey production in its Kentucky hometown—more than a quarter century after a devastating fire destroyed a previous production facility .

The family-owned and operated spirits company on Wednesday announced plans to open a $135 million distillery by 2024 in Bardstown, in the heart of the state’s bourbon country.

It’s the latest sign that bluegrass state whiskey producers – both large and small – are upbeat over future demand for their spirits. Kentucky’s bourbon field is in the midst of an expansion phase with projects totaling billions of dollars. According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, bourbon production in Kentucky has increased 435% since the turn of the century.

Heaven Hill says it needs new distilleries to help meet growing global demand For the company’s whiskey. Heaven Hill produces one of the world’s best-selling bourbons, Evan Williams.

It also marks the return of Heaven Hill to distilling in Bardstown—where the company lost its onsite distillery, seven storage warehouses, and nearly 100,000 barrels of whiskey in a 1996 fire.

Later, Heaven Hill’s distilling moved to Burnham Distillery in Louisville, while bottling, storage of aging whiskey and other operations continued in the Bardstown area, where those operations still remain. Bardstown is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Louisville.

Heaven Hill President Max Shapira said the new distillery builds on the company’s old roots in Bardstown. It has been nine decades since Heaven Hill first operated a distillery in Bardstown.

“The people of Bardstown have helped us build and build our brands over the years, so it’s a special homecoming to bring distilling back to this community,” said Heaven Hill President Max Shapira. “Our new distillery will honor our longstanding Bardstown roots while applying state-of-the-art equipment and processes to produce the highest quality American whiskey.”

The distillery is expected to initially employ about 30 people, but the workforce could reach around 90 in the coming years once full production is reached, the company said. The State Economic Development Finance Authority approved up to $1.5 million in economic incentives for the project.

The company said the distillery would be built on a vacant 61-acre (25-hectare) site from where the previous production facility stood. Construction is expected to begin this spring. Initial production is pegged at 10 million proof gallons, or 150,000 barrels a year, and the distillery will have the capacity to increase production over time to 30 million proof gallons, or 450,000 barrels.

Haven Hill said it will continue to age the bourbon at existing locations and that the Burnham Distillery in Louisville will continue to operate at full capacity. Burnheim Distillery produces over 420,000 barrels of whiskey per year.

Other Heaven Hill brands include Elijah Craig, Old Fitzgerald, Larceny, and Parker Heritage Collection.

According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, Kentucky distilleries produce 95% of the world’s bourbon supply. Kentucky’s booming bourbon industry is in the midst of an expansion of $5.2 billion, of which $3.3 billion will come over the next three years, KDA said. The development includes new distilleries, storage warehouses, bottling lines and a visitors center.

World Nation News Desk
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