Heaven Hill Distillery started construction on its new state-of-the-art distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. The $135 million project is expected to create 38 jobs.
The 211,000-square-foot operation will be located on 61 acres at 1015 Old Bloomfield Pike. The company anticipates production capacity of 10 million proof gallons annually, or 150,000 barrels, with potential to reach 30 million proof gallons in the future. Since 1999, Heaven Hill bourbon and spirits have been distilled at the historic Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, while bottling, aging and other functions remained in Nelson County. The Louisville operation will continue to operate at full capacity upon completion of the new distillery, which is expected to open in 2024.
“Heaven Hill is bullish on the success of the commonwealth’s signature industry and growth in the heart of the bourbon capital of the world,” said Max L. Shapira, Heaven Hill president. “Our new distillery will honor our long-time Bardstown roots while applying state-of-the-art equipment and processes to produce the highest quality American whiskey and build upon our meaningful partnership with Bardstown and Kentucky.”
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in March preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1.25 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of over $135.4 million and annual targets of creation and maintenance of 38 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years and paying an average hourly wage of $33.62 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Heaven Hill for up to $250,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments. In addition, the company can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
“This is a significant day for Heaven Hill and Kentucky. The return of distilling operations to Nelson County is a return to the company’s roots, and the investment highlights the continued growth of bourbon and spirits in the commonwealth,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “I am incredibly happy for the residents of Bardstown and the surrounding area, and I want to thank the leaders at Heaven Hill for this commitment to create new job opportunities and build the company’s presence in our state.”
The new distillery contributes to Heaven Hill’s 2030 Environmental Sustainability Strategy, which includes reduced carbon emissions, increased water efficiency, reduced waste and conservation of resources. The new operation will minimize water use, preserve existing vegetation, include installation of a wastewater pretreatment system and feature energy creation and recovery.
The new facility returns distilling of Heaven Hill whiskey to Nelson County for the first time since 1996, when a major fire resulted in a total loss of the company’s distillery, seven rickhouses and nearly 100,000 barrels of whiskey. The new location will be named Heaven Hill Springs Distillery in honor of the previous Bardstown operation.
“We are thrilled the Shapira family decided to expand their already deep roots in Bardstown with the building of their new state-of-the-art distillery here,” added Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency. “This multimillion-dollar investment will make a significant impact on not just the community, but on the hundreds of Heaven Hill employees and their families.”
Headquartered in Bardstown since 1935, Heaven Hill maintains over 1.9 million barrels of whiskey aging in more than 60 warehouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson counties. To date, the family-owned company has filed more than 9.5 million barrels. Recognizable Heaven Hill American whiskey brands include Elijah Craig Bourbon, Larceny Bourbon, Evan Williams Bourbon, Pikesville Rye Whiskey, Rittenhouse Rye Whisky and Parker’s Heritage Collection.