Master Distiller Denny Potter Hammers Home Bung in Heaven Hill’s 8 Millionth Bourbon Barrel [Video]
Heaven Hill Distillery has been on quite tear lately. It was about two years ago they completed their first of a dozen new barrel warehouses at their 175 acre Cox’s Creek location in Nelson County, Kentucky. About a year ago they announced the promotion of longtime industry veteran Denny Potter to the role of Master Distiller and VP of Operations. Six months ago they completed the production expansion of their Bernhiem Distillery, located in downtown Louisville, from 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per year making the largest single bourbon production facility in the world. And in February of this year, the companies Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Louisville’s Whiskey Row filled the 1,000th barrel after producing one barrel per day since the artisanal distillery opened in 2013. Did we mention Heaven Hill is also the second-largest holder of aging Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey in the world?
26 Years for the 1st Million, Only 3 Years for the Most Recent Million
Well, with all that new capacity, they are reaching barrel filling milestones at a much faster clip than ever before. The company filled its first barrel in December of 1935. It took them all the way up to July of 1961, nearly 26 years to fill their first million. The latest million milestone took just over three years to jump from 7,000,000 to 8,000,000 barrels. Using their current capacity we’ll likely be hearing about the 9,000,000 mark in about two and half years.
On the Cusp of the Great Bourbon Renaissance
“We are so pleased to be part of this great bourbon renaissance which we think we are just on the cusp of a lot more of this to come,” said Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira at a ceremony marking the latest milestone. “Filling this 8 millionth barrel, that’s a historical thing that we are going to be doing but we are looking for the 8 millionth and one, and next your at 8 millionth and 300,000 barrels and we are looking for growth today, tomorrow, next month and over the course of many years to come. We think the bourbon industry is just on the brink of something fantastic both domestically and abroad.”
Watch the video below to hear Max share the history of Heaven Hill, highlights of recent milestones and his thoughts on where the industry is headed.
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The eight millionth barrel was “bunged off” by Master Distiller Denny Potter and President Max Shapira in a brief ceremony at Heaven Hill’s cistern room attended by company executives and local dignitaries. Participants toasted with a glass of Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
“As we roll out the eight millionth barrel, we recognize the dedication to quality and thoughtful innovation that has led Heaven Hill Distillery to this milestone,” said Shapira. “A little over 82 years ago, my father and his four brothers held a vision that has been carried forward by the Shapira family of fierce independence and passionate family ownership. We celebrate their legacy as we look forward to the next eight million barrels and beyond.”
Heaven Hill Distillery was founded in Kentucky by the Shapira family in 1935. The company remains true today to its original mission as a family-owned and operated, independent company—the last remaining in the Bourbon business today. Heaven Hill Distillery maintains over 1.3 million barrels aging in 55 warehouses holding whiskeys including Elijah Craig Bourbon, Larceny Bourbon, Evan Williams Bourbon, Pikesville Rye Whiskey, Rittenhouse Rye Whisky and Parker’s Heritage Collection.
Heaven Hill Barrel Filling Timeline from 1935 to 2018
Let’s take a look at the the timeline of each of Heaven Hill’s barrel filling milestones over the last 82 years.
|Barrel No.||Date||Years/Months/Days Later|
|Barrel 1||December 13, 1935|
|Barrel 250,000||December 22, 1949||14 Years, 0 Months, 21 Days|
|Barrel 500,000||September 30, 1955||5 Years, 9 Months, 29 Days|
|Barrel 1,000,000||July 21, 1961||5 Years, 9 Months, 20 Days|
|Barrel 1,500,000||December 5, 1968||7 Years, 4 Months, 4 Days|
|Barrel 1,750,000||November 8, 1971||2 Years, 11 Months, 7 Days|
|Barrel 2,000,000||March 26, 1976||4 Years, 4 Months, 25 Days|
|Barrel 2,500,000||June 18, 1982||6 Years, 2 Months, 17 Days|
|Barrel 3,000,000||February 18, 1988||5 Years, 8 Months, 17 Days|
|Barrel 3,500,000||September 7, 1993||5 Years, 6 Months, 6 Days|
|Barrel 4,000,000||January 13, 1998||4 Years, 4 Months, 12 Days|
|Barrel 4,500,000||December 4, 2002||4 Years, 10 Months, 3 Days|
|Barrel 5,000,000||January 31, 2006||3 Years, 1 Month, 30 Days|
|Barrel 5,500,000||November 18, 2008||2 Years, 9 Months, 17 Days|
|Barrel 6,000,000||December 13, 2010||2 Years, 0 Months, 12 Days|
|Barrel 6,500,000||March 26, 2013||2 Years, 3 Months, 25 Days|
|Barrel 7,000,000||February 10, 2015||1 Year, 10 Months, 9 Days|
|Barrel 7,500,000||September 27, 2016||1 Year, 7 Months, 26 Days|
|Barrel 8,000,000||April 9, 2018||1 Year, 6 Months, 8 Days|
Heaven Hill Expansion to 400,000 Barrels Makes it the Largest Single-Site Bourbon Distillery in American Whiskey
Heaven Hill’s Master Distiller Denny Potter Expands Roll to VP Operations
Heaven Hill Distillery Cut’s Ribbon at 660,000 Barrel Warehouse Site
Evan Williams Artisanal Bourbon Distillery Bungs its 1,000th Barrel