In a ceremony that included Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira and Master Distiller Denny Potter along with U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Heaven Hill Distillery dedicated the expansion of their Bernheim Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The $25 million investment makes this location the largest single site bourbon distillery in American whiskey.
A 33% Capacity Increase from 300,000 to 400,000 Barrels Per Year
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Major components of the current expansion include four additional fermenters, another distillation set of a thumper and 70′ tall, 5′ 6″ diameter beer column, a drop tub to increase number of mashes per day, a 50,000 pph boiler, a new grain handling and storage upgrade, a cooling capacity upgrade, and an operations software upgrade. Two prior expansions were completed at Bernheim Distillery since 2006, with the first bringing capacity to 200,000 barrels per year in 2007 and the second to 300,000 barrels per year in 2014.
All that distillation capacity requires more barrel storage capacity. Since 2016, Heaven Hill has also opened four warehouses at their Cox’s Creek barrel warehouse location, where each warehouse holds almost 57,000 barrels of the more than 1.3 million barrels (approximately 25% of the world’s Bourbon supply.)
Vice President of Marketing Kate Shapira Latts, Chief Financial Officer Mark Pulliam, Chief Operating Officer Allan Latts, Master Distiller Denny Potter, Director of Trade Relations Larry Kass, Director of Corporate Analysis/Western Division Sales Manager Andy Shapira, VP of Human Resources Debbie Morris, President Max L. Shapira.
“Critical to reaching this milestone is the growth of our flagship brand, Evan Williams Bourbon which is expected to be a 3 million case brand within the next year, the second largest selling Kentucky Bourbon in the world.” ~ Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira
Heaven Hill acquired the Bernheim facility in 1999 after a tragic fire claimed the original Heaven Hill distillery nearly 21 years ago in 1996. Dating back to 1871, the historic Bernheim facility, D.S.P. – KY 1, is now home to the Evan Williams Bourbon, the second largest selling Bourbon in the world, Larceny, Elijah Craig, and Henry McKenna, among others. The current expansion brings capacity to 400,000 barrels per year to help Heaven Hill to meet current and future demand.
“As an American-owned and operated company, Heaven Hill Distillery is proud to be on the forefront of the American Whiskey movement and embark on the latest iteration of distillery technology and innovation,” said Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira. “The Bourbon distillation project combines the latest of distilling techniques with the ability to produce our brands using traditional methods as we have for more than 80 years.”
Master Distiller Denny Potter, Congressman John Yarmuth, Executive Officer of Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet Vivek Sarin, Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira
“This expansion is a truly monumental event for Heaven Hill, for the city of Louisville, and for the bourbon industry worldwide,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “This historic company has continued to distill some of the best American Whiskeys for nearly a century, and has helped lead the rebirth of bourbon as America’s native spirit. As co-chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, I’m especially proud to now represent the largest bourbon production site in the world.”
To celebrate the achievement, a commemorative barrel was signed by Heaven Hill employees and local dignitaries, and all shared a toast of Evan Williams Bourbon. Founded in 1935, Heaven Hill Distillery is a family-owned and operated, independent Kentucky company—the last remaining in the Bourbon business today.