Heaven Hill Distillery opened its doors to the new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, the culmination of a $ expansion and renovation that began in 2018.
The visitor center alone got a $19 million upgrade to make it an interactive, educational experience with exhibits that are unique to Heaven Hill. Another $106 million went into American Whiskey production including new barrel warehousing, bottling line and equipment upgrades, increased holdings of Bourbon Whiskey, and distillery enhancements.
First opened in 2004 as the Bourbon Heritage Center, Heaven Hill’s tourist attraction is one of the first visitor centers on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The new center is more than 30,000 square feet – which more than triples the size of the original.
Heaven Hill also unveiled a new product, Five Brothers Bourbon, a blend of bourbons ranging from five to nine years. It is a nod to the five Shapira brothers, who founded the distillery in 1935.
The new tourist center also brings with it 13 new staff positions for the facility, which can hold up to 900 people at a time.
New exhibits and attractions include:
- The You Do Bourbon space is a classroom-style tasting room where hosts can guide guests through tastings. Guests who partake in You Do Bourbon will have the chance to bottle their favorite whiskey from their tasting and personalize it in the bottling room. It also includes a “day in the life” experience offering a look into what distillers to behind the scenes. Guests will be able to select a commemorative mashbill and label in honor of the grand opening while supplies last.
- The 1935 Distillery Theater accommodates up to 40 guests to experience an immersive 11-minute show put on display by seven custom screens that fly in and out using DMX technology at various moments throughout the story of the Shapira family and Heaven Hill Distillery.
- The Family Gallery, which details important people behind Heaven Hill’s rise within distilled spirits.
- The Elijah Craig exhibit immerses guests in a charred barrel, the “Father of Bourbon’s” claim to fame. Walls made of charred oak, curved in a barrel shape, enclose a fabricated ring of fire where guests can learn how the char on the inside of a barrel affects the aging process and flavor development of a whiskey.
- The Larceny space takes guests behind lock and key into Treasury Agent John E. Fitzgerald’s room where he kept the registry comprised of his “Fitzgerald” barrels. Guests are invited to learn how to properly thieve whiskey from a barrel, interact with talking decanters detailing Fitzgerald’s ability to choose only the best barrels, and understand the key differences between Wheated Bourbon, like Larceny, and Rye Bourbon.
- The Bottled-in-Bond exhibit showcases Heaven Hill Distillery’s portfolio of bonded products, the most available on the market today. The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 was an important turning point in the history of Bourbon as exacting standards set forth offered consumers a guarantee of quality and transparency.
- The new Five Brothers Bar & Kitchen located on the second floor boasts an upscale, approximately 25-foot bar fully equipped to serve craft cocktails and Bourbon tastings, a lounge area and dining space for the soon-to-be-opened restaurant. A rooftop bar and conference space also are available.
- The exterior of the new visitor center showcases a replica of how the distillery looked in 1935, an authentic, vintage barrel truck representative of what the Shapira brothers may have driven in the 1940s, and an updated sign celebrating the new name. The newest rickhouse on site features a bird’s eye view into the resting barrels with a glass window corner spanning the seven floors and new Heaven Hill sign.