Heaven Hill Springs Distillery - Installation Day for the 60' Tall Vendome Copper & Brass Works Column Still

Heaven Hill Distillery has been a part of the Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky landscape since its founding in 1935. As an early kickoff to 2023 Bourbon Heritage Month the family-owned distillery celebrated a long-awaited victory as they air lifted their 60’ tall Vendome Copper & Brass Works copper column still into place for their nearly $200 million Heaven Hill Springs Distillery project.

Heaven Hill began distilling in Bardstown, The Bourbon Capital of the World, 88 years ago. That distilling came to a screeching halt on November 7, 1996 when a lightning strike caused a fire that completely destroyed the distillery, rickhouses and 2% of the worlds bourbon inventory. For several years Heaven Hill worked with other distilleries to make their whiskey. In 1999 Heaven Hill purchased the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville and has been making their whiskey there ever since. In June 2022, the brand announced its return to Bardstown with a groundbreaking of what will be the Heaven Hill Springs Distillery located in the center of Bardstown.

The dream of once again distilling in Bardstown is now a bit closer as the company celebrated the installation of their 60’ copper column still. The major milestone in the Heaven Hill Springs Distillery project coincides with the start of Bourbon Heritage Month and upcoming Kentucky Bourbon Festival, celebrations that have become synonymous with the rich heritage and craftsmanship of Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Completion of the project is expected by the end of 2024.

And to be clear, distilling in Bardstown may have ended in the fall of ’96 but barreling, aging of bourbon barrels and bottling has never stopped.

“This project represents a significant investment in the future of bourbon production, solidifying Heaven Hill’s commitment to upholding the time-honored traditions that have made Kentucky Bourbon world-renowned,” said Allan Latts, co-president of Heaven Hill Brands.

Heaven Hill Springs Distillery to Produce 450,000 Barrels Per Year at Full Capacity – Nearly 1 Million Total

Initial production is slated for 150,000 barrels a year, and over time will have capacity to ramp up to producing 450,000 barrels annually. This will be in addition to the company’s distilling that occurs at the historic Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, which will continue to operate at full capacity of 450,000 barrels annually. Add it all up and that’s nearly 1 million barrels per year at full capacity. Wowza!

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The new Vendome Copper & Brass Works copper still was shipped to Bardstown in two pieces on separate flatbeds. At nearly 60 feet tall, 66″ in diameter and weighing more than 22,000 pounds, this still is capable of producing 35,500 proof-gallons per day which is equal to more than 500 barrels per day. Crafted from copper, a material celebrated for its role in distillation due to its exceptional heat conductivity, the still represents a marriage of traditional and modern technology. The state-of-the-art piece of equipment is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the character and flavor profile of Heaven Hill’s future whiskeys.

In line with Heaven Hill’s 2030 Environmental Sustainability Strategy, the design of this new distillery reflects the company’s dedication to play a role in forming a more eco-conscious distilled spirits industry. The new still is insulated and then wrapped in a copper skin to enhance energy conservation throughout the whiskey-making process.

The new column will be fed by two 7,000 gallon yeast cookers, four 11,000 gallon cookers, and 10 80,000 gallon fermentation tanks.

The site will also include other sustainability efforts such as a wastewater pretreatment system and program to harness energy creation and recovery which will alleviate demands on the city’s electrical and water treatment plants. Once construction is closer to completion, the campus will use native plants and natural systems to manage storm water runoff and improve habitat on the property.

“Our Bourbon Capital homecoming is one step closer as we mark this significant milestone in the development of our Heaven Hill Springs Distillery with the installation of the Vendome copper still,” said Kate Latts, co-president of Heaven Hill Brands. “As we uphold the values and heritage of our industry, this moment reflects our commitment to crafting exceptional bourbon and continuing our Heaven Hill legacy of excellence.”

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.


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