Heaven Hill to revive its whiskey production in its hometown

Apr 27, 2022, 1:15 PM | Updated: 3:06 pm
This image provided by Heaven Hill Distilleries shows a rendering of a new Heaven Hill distillery b...

This image provided by Heaven Hill Distilleries shows a rendering of a new Heaven Hill distillery by architects Joseph & Joseph. Heaven Hill Distillery says it plans to revive its whiskey production in its Kentucky hometown. The family-owned and operated spirits company announced plans Wednesday, April 27, 2022, to build a $135 million distillery expected to open by 2024 in Bardstown, Ky. (Heaven Hill Distilleries via AP)

(Heaven Hill Distilleries via AP)

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 announced plans Wednesday to build a $135 million distillery expected to open by 2024 at 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 bullish on future demand for their spirits. Kentucky’s bourbon sector is in the midst of an expansion phase totaling billions of dollars in projects. Bourbon production in Kentucky has skyrocketed 435% since the turn of the century, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

Heaven Hill said its new distillery is needed to help meet growing global demand for the company’s whiskeys. Heaven Hill produces Evan Williams, one of the world’s top-selling bourbons.

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

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

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

“The people of Bardstown have helped us create and build our brands over all these many 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 long-time Bardstown roots while applying state-of-the-art equipment and processes to produce the highest quality American whiskey.”

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

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

Heaven Hill said it will continue to age bourbon at existing locations and the Bernheim distillery in Louisville will continue operating at full capacity. The Bernheim distillery produces more than 420,000 barrels of whiskey per year.

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

Kentucky distilleries produce 95% of the world’s bourbon supply, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Kentucky’s booming bourbon industry is in the midst of a $5.2 billion expansion, with $3.3 billion of that coming in the next three years, KDA said. The growth includes new distilleries, storage warehouses, bottling lines and visitors’ centers.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Sept. 17, ...
Associated Press

R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in sex trafficking case

Disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for using his fame to sexually abuse young fans.
15 hours ago
FILE - The Flint water plant tower is seen, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Flint, Mich. A Michigan Supr...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Years later, Flint water court fight drags on

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan authorities have long promised to hold key officials criminally responsible for lead contamination and health problems arising from a disastrous water switch in Flint in 2014. There’s not much to show more than eight years later. The latest: an extraordinary rebuke Tuesday from the state Supreme Court, which unanimously dismissed indictments […]
15 hours ago
FILE-- Gas is advertised for more than $6 per gallon at a gas station in Sacramento, Calif., Friday...
Associated Press

California lawmakers to vote on $307.9 billion spending plan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers on Wednesday will vote on a plan to spend $308 billion in taxpayer money over the next year as the coffers of the world’s fifth largest economy continue to swell during the pandemic. The centerpiece of the operating budget crafted by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders is […]
15 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in the Sou...
Associated Press

Most say nation on wrong track, including Dems: AP-NORC poll

WASHINGTON (AP) — An overwhelming and growing majority of Americans say the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction, including nearly 8 in 10 Democrats, according to a new poll that finds deep pessimism about the economy plaguing President Joe Biden. Eighty-five percent of U.S. adults say the country is on the wrong track, and […]
15 hours ago
Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, arrives at the federal courthouse with his wife Sv...
Associated Press

Giuliani’s former Ukraine fixer gets 20 months in prison

NEW YORK (AP) — Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment investigation, was sentenced Wednesday to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes. Parnas, 50, had sought leniency on the grounds that he’d cooperated with the Congressional probe of […]
15 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Heaven Hill to revive its whiskey production in its hometown