The Heaven Hill Distillery completed the phase one renovations of its Bourbon Heritage Centre in Bardstown, Kentucky, US, in November 2019.

The $17.5m renovation and expansion project was announced in November 2018. This expansion will double the current size of the visitor’s centre and is part of Heaven Hill’s multimillion-dollar investment to increase the production capacity and update the distillery facilities in Bardstown.

The project also involves the addition of a new bottling line and barrel warehousing. The expansion is anticipated to encourage tourism in Bardstown and across the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Bourbon Heritage Centre renovation

The Bourbon Heritage Centre is being renovated in two phases, with phase one comprising of three tasting rooms, each representing a pivotal Heaven Hill brand or story. Phase two will add spaces such as the Elijah Craig Exhibit, Larceny Exhibit, and the You Do Bourbon immersive space.

The renovated visitors centre will also have space for an exhibit titled the Elijah Craig Exhibit, which will describe the background of Heaven Hill Distillery since its inception in 1935 and also cover the history of Kentucky bourbon.

The Larceny exhibit will show the visitors how to thieve whisky from a barrel and establish the differences between Rye and Larceny bourbons.

The You Do Bourbon exhibit will allow the visitors to taste various products, as well as bottle, label and personalise their preferred whisky or bourbon in the bottling room.

A new rooftop restaurant, with an upscale bar and lounge-style seating, will also be installed at the distillery. A private space beside the restaurant for conducting meetings or planned events will also be built.

Tasting room details at the renovated Bourbon Heritage Centre

The new visitor centre includes three tasting rooms namely the Fitzgerald room, the Founders room, and the Library.

The Fitzgerald tasting room allows visitors to experience the Golden Era of Fitzgerald, the namesake of Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald bourbon. It features corbels, hanging acoustical panels, details of Victorian trim, Larceny key wallpaper and decanter chandeliers.

The Founders tasting room design reflects the industrial landscape of the distillery. Inspired by the Shapira family, the founders of the distillery, the tasting room features galvanised steel furniture and back bar stencils leading the visitors to the production facility.

Other prominent features of the Founders room include copper light fixtures and a wooden bar at Heaven Hill’s Glencoe Warehouse.

The Library tasting room accommodates a 26ft live edge walnut table with tufted leather chairs. It includes a patterned carpet, wooden gridded windows, a rolling ladder similar to a ladder in a library and custom barrel hoop art.

Heaven Hill distillery product portfolio

Heaven Hill releases a special whisky edition each year in memory of the late master distiller Parker Beam under Parker’s Heritage Collection. The barrels selected for limited edition special whisky include ryes, wheats and bourbons.

The product portfolio of Heaven Hill includes Henry McKenna single barrel, Heaven Hill bottled-in-bond, Rittenhouse Rye whisky, Pikesville Straight rye whisky, black velvet Canadian whisky, Dubonnet Aperitifs, and Coronet VSQ brandy.

Contractors involved

Solid Light was contracted to design the Bourbon Heritage Centre expansion project. Abel Construction is the general contractor for the project.

BTM Engineering, along with Abel Construction, provided landscape architecture, civil engineering, and topographic mapping services for the expansion project. 

Marketing Commentary on Heaven Hill Distillery

Founded by the Shapira family in 1935, the Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky is one of the largest producers of American whisky.

Heaven Hill has acquired various Bottled-In-Bond labels and produced the most number of Bottled-In-Bond whiskies compared to any other distillery.

The Heaven Hill Distillery maintains more than 1.4 million barrels, which have been ageing in 56 warehouses throughout Jefferson and Nelson counties.