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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Heaven Hill Kentucky Whiskey Distilleries

Heaven Hill Whiskey Distillery History

Shortly after Prohibition ended in the United States, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., was founded in Bardstown, Kentucky by the Shapira family to produce and market Bourbon and premium American whiskeys.  


At the time, it was as speculative a new business venture as the dot com start-ups of the 1990's -- a company founded with no brands, no available stocks of whiskey, and at the height of the Great Depression.  


Today, the company has overcome these initial challenges and grown to become the largest independent, family-owned producer and marketer of distilled spirits in the country.  


According to industry analysts, Heaven Hill is now the seventh largest spirits supplier in the United States and is the second largest holder of aging Bourbon whiskey in the world with an inventory in excess of 675,000 barrels.


Distillery History

1783 -- William Heavenhill was born "during an Indian raid which was being waged, under the cliffs near Rowan Creek" at the site of present day Heaven Hill Distilleries.


A group of Bardstown-area investors and the five Shapira brothers, David, Ed, Gary, George and Mose, found During 1934 Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., originally known as “Old Heavenhill Springs” distillery.  The company had 12 employees at the time of its founding.


Barrel #1 was filled on December 13.1935 Bourbon Falls is the name on the company's first label.


Heaven Hill, and many other distilled spirits production plants, are shut down during World War II and work with the government to produce alcohol for the war effort.


Evan Williams Bourbon is introduced in 1957 and becomes one of the nation's leading Bourbons and Heaven Hill's flagship brand.


A new bottling facility is built in 1967 with a capacity of 2.5 million cases per year


Elijah Craig 12 Year Old Bourbon is introduced 1986 thus becoming the first "Small Batch" Bourbon available.


Heaven Hill acquires, Henry McKenna Bourbon and Harwood Canadian Whisky in. 1989. Then in 1993 acquires, Philadelphia Blended Whiskey, Cabin Still Bourbon and J. W. Dant Bourbon, among others.


In 1995 Heaven Hill introduces Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon, Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon, and Henry McKenna Bottled In Bond Single Barrel Bourbon. The following year George Shapira, the last surviving member of the five founding brothers, passes away.


At some point in 1999 Heaven Hill acquires the historic Bernheim Distillery, and the Old Fitzgerald Bourbon brand.


During 2004 Heaven Hill receives its first prestigious Impact "Hot Brand" award from M. Shanken Publishing. Opens the Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Centre and the Wine Enthusiast magazine names Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. Wine Star "Distiller of the Year"


Heaven Hill introduces Bernheim Wheat Whiskey in 2005

Heaven Hill Distilleries

Bourbon Heritage Center

P.O. Box 787

1311 Gilkey Run Road

Bardstown, Kentucky  40004


Please contact

(502) 337-1000

For details before traveling

Heaven Hill produces its whiskeys at the historic Bernheim Distillery, which has the designation of being Kentucky Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) #1.


Heaven Hill Distillery Brands

Heaven Hill Whiskey Brands

Heaven Hill’s flagship whiskies are the historic Elijah Craig, Evan Williams Henry McKenna and Old Fitzgerald.


They produce a premium strong bourbon called Fighting Cock


The Bernheim distillery has introduced the first winter wheat whiskey  


Heaven Hill Distilleries, as the second largest holder of Bourbon stock in the world, offers a number of other well-known or historic American Whiskey labels. These include J. T. S. Brown and J. W. Dant bourbons.

For a full list of the whiskey bottlings click on the Green "Heaven Hill Brands" button on the right hand side of the page.


Included in the range are traditional Rye Whiskies bottled under again historic labels as Pikesville Rye and Rittenhouse Rye


To complete the range of whiskies available the distillery also produces Corn whiskey and are the last national producers of the type of American style of whiskey. Bottled under corn whiskey labels as Georgian Moon, Mellow corn, Dixie Dew and J. W. Corn

Bernheim Evan Williams Elijah Craig Henry McKenna JTS Brown Heaven Hill Brands JW Dant Pikesville Rye Old Fitzgerald Rittenhouse Rye HH Visitor Centre BUY WHISKEY NOW BUY WHISKEY NOW