Heaven Hill Distillery - Heaven Hill Fills its 10 Millionth Barrel of Bourbon Since its 1935 Founding

Heaven Hill Distillery started making bourbon whiskey in Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky on December 13, 1935. It took Heaven Hill 26 years to make and fill their first million barrels. They continued to make bourbon in Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World until a catastrophic fire burned the entire distillery and several warehouses to the ground in 1996. You can see remnants of that distillery at the bottom of this story. 

Three years later, Heaven Hill purchased what is known as the Bernheim Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky and they’ve been making bourbon whiskey there ever since.

Today, Heaven Hill Distillery is the world’s second largest holder of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in the world. Over the years, they have expanded production at the Bernheim Distillery by adding additional fermentation tanks, a second column still and related equipment and expanding the hours of production. According to Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll the distillery now runs 24×7, over 320 days per year. The company now has nearly 2 million barrels of whiskey aging in 70+ warehouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson Counties.

Heaven Hill Fills the 10 Millionth Barrel of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Heaven Hill celebrated the filling of the 10,000,000 barrel at it’s cistern building in Bardstown. The whiskey made in Louisville travels via tractor trailer truck to Bardstown for barreling. At the celebration we got to talk to Heaven Hill Executive Chairman Max L. Shapira and Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll to get their insights on how they achieved this milestone and their top tips to distilling success.

Heaven Hill Executive Chairman Max L. Shapira

Heaven Hill Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll


Heaven Hill Executive Chairman Max L. Shapira shares his top tips for 88 years of success in the distilling business.

“My dad always told me, he told me this on many occasions. This is an industry where you can’t do something today and get it in the market the next day,” said Shapira.

  1. You can’t do something today and get it in the market the next day.
  2. You have to have patience and perseverance.
  3. You have to produce great product.
  4. You have to wait for the right quality and age to make special brands.

Heaven Hill Distillery Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll offers his top tips for success in hitting the 10 million barrel milestone.

  1. Surround yourself with a great team.
  2. Have passion and enjoy what you do.
  3. Clean distilleries make better whiskey than dirty distilleries.
  4. Pay attention to the details.

In celebration of the 10 millionth barrel, Heaven Hill Co-President Allan Latts expressed his enthusiasm stating, “This is a momentous occasion for Heaven Hill and is a testament to nearly nine decades of distilling excellence. This milestone underscores the unwavering commitment of our employees and shows how beloved our brands are in the hearts of our consumers.”

Heaven Hill Distilling to Return to Bardstown in 2024

This achievement comes just over a year from the date Heaven Hill broke ground on the Heaven Hill Springs Distillery, marking the company’s return to distilling in Bardstown where it has its roots. The new, $135 million, state-of-the-art distillery is being built in the heart of the “Bourbon Capital of the World” and is expected to be operational by the end of 2024. Initial production capacity is slated for 150,000 barrels per year, and over time will have the potential to ramp up to 450,000 barrels annually. This will be in addition to the company’s distilling operations at the historic Bernheim Distillery which will continue producing at its full capacity of 450,000 barrels annually which combined will provide a capacity of 900,000 barrels per year.

The 10 millionth barrel will be put up to age in historic Rickhouse Y, where it will be displayed amongst Heaven Hill’s other milestone barrels.

Co-President Kate Latts proudly emphasized the significance of the event saying, “This achievement reinforces Heaven Hill’s enduring strength and legacy. As the only family-owned and led spirits company in the world to reach this incredible milestone, we take great pride in our accomplishment.”

The bourbon industry has been on a long upward trajectory and according to the Kentucky Distillers Association is now a $9 billion state industry, supporting more than 22,500 jobs and generating more than $1.8 million in tax revenues annually. In addition, Kentucky distilleries produce 95% of the world’s bourbon supply.

“Congratulations to the Shapira family and the entire Heaven Hill team on reaching the incredible milestone of filling their 10 millionth barrel of bourbon!” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “Heaven Hill has long been an industry leader, and I’ve been proud to watch them literally rise from the ashes of the devastating November 1996 fire that took so much. Like our entire bourbon and spirits industry, Heaven Hill has emerged stronger than ever, and I look forward to their continued success.”


View all Featured Suppliers.

New 'Heaven Hill Springs Distillery' Rendering & Construction Progress

Nelson County Judge/Executive Tim Hutchins congratulated the company on this historic achievement: “The filling of the 10 millionth barrel at Heaven Hill signifies the strength of Kentucky’s signature spirit and the importance of Nelson County as the epicenter of bourbon production in the commonwealth. I congratulate the hard-working employees of Heaven Hill on this historic achievement, and I look forward to partnering with our distillers to make our community stronger for the future.”

Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton highlighted the significant achievement and continued partnership between the company and community: “We congratulate and express our appreciation to Heaven Hill Brands for this significant milestone in their bourbon production. The 10 millionth barrel demonstrates Heaven Hill’s continued commitment and long-term investment in Bardstown. The city of Bardstown is grateful to be part of the success of this company and to work side by side with them to facilitate their tremendous growth. Today’s event further qualifies our position as ‘The Bourbon Capital of the World’ of which we are so proud.”

Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency, noted the hard work and dedication required by the company to reach this milestone: “Every single barrel that is filled by Heaven Hill is a celebration and a testament of what great leadership and skilled and committed workers can accomplish over decades of time. The filling of their 10 millionth barrel is a historic milestone for Heaven Hill, and we celebrate this with them and acknowledge the significant economic impact that this company has had on our communities and county.”

Heaven Hill Brands is the largest independent, family-owned and led distilled spirits company in the United States. The company, founded in 1935, is the fifth largest distilled spirits company in the US by volume. The company was founded by Executive Chairman Max Shapira’s father and his four uncles, along with a group of Bardstown-area investors, as “Old Heaven Hill Springs” distillery in 1935, and filled its first barrel on December 13th of that year. Members of the founding family’s second and third generations are now leading the company. Heaven Hill brands include Elijah Craig Bourbon, Larceny Bourbon, Evan Williams Bourbon, Pikesville Rye Whiskey, Rittenhouse Rye Whisky, Parker’s Heritage Collection, and Old Fitzgerald along with its extensive Bottled-in-Bond label collection.

Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.

Heaven Hill Millionth Barrel Timeline
1935 to 2023

Heaven Hill Distillery - Barrel Milestones 1935 to 2023
  • Save
Let’s take a look at the the timeline of each of Heaven Hill’s barrel filling milestones over the last 88 years.

Barrel No.DateYears, Months, Days
1 December 13, 1935Day 1
250,000 December 22, 194914 Years, 0 Months, 21 Days
500,000 September 30, 1955 5 Years, 9 Months, 29 Days
1,000,000 July 21, 1961 5 Years, 9 Months, 20 Days
1,500,000 December 5, 19687 Years, 4 Months, 4 Days
1,750,000 November 8, 19712 Years, 11 Months, 7 Days
2,000,000 March 26, 1976 4 Years, 4 Months, 25 Days
2,500,000 June 18, 19826 Years, 2 Months, 17 Days
3,000,000 February 18, 19885 Years, 8 Months, 17 Days
3,500,000 September 7, 1993 5 Years, 6 Months, 6 Days
4,000,000 January 13, 1998 4 Years, 4 Months, 12 Days
4,500,000 December 4, 2002 4 Years, 10 Months, 3 Days
5,000,000 January 31, 2006 3 Years, 1 Month, 30 Days
5,500,000 November 18, 2008 2 Years, 9 Months, 17 Days
6,000,000 December 13, 2010 2 Years, 0 Months, 12 Days
6,500,000 March 26, 2013 2 Years, 3 Months, 25 Days
7,000,000 February 10, 2015 1 Year, 10 Months, 9 Days
7,500,000 September 27, 2016 1 Year, 7 Months, 18 Days
8,000,000 April 9, 2018 1 Year, 6 Months, 14 Days
9,000,000 December 30, 20202 years, 8 Months, 22 Days
10,000,000August 2, 20232 Years, 7 Months, 3 Days
11,000,000*November 1, 2024*1 Year, 3 Months (*Estimate)

Learn more about Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience.
Learn more about Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.
Learn more about Heaven Hill Springs Distillery.
View all Bardstown and Nelson County Distilleries.
View all Kentucky Distilleries.
View all All US Distilleries.

Related Stories
A Day on the Trail: 25 Years After Devastating Fire, Heaven Hill Breaks Ground on $135 Million Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky

Watch Vintage Aerial Coverage of 1996 Heaven Hill Distillery Fire

Original 'Heaven Hill Springs Distillery' Destroyed by Fire in 1996

Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.

Please help to support Distillery Trail. Sign up for our Newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Recommended Posts