New visitor center brings $19 million in tourism and economic investment to Bardstown
BARDSTOWN, Ky. (June 14, 2021) – Gov. Andy Beshear joined Heaven Hill Brands President Max L. Shapira, and local officials to celebrate the grand opening of the new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience in Bardstown.
“I am proud to be in the heart of bourbon country to proclaim today National Kentucky Bourbon Day and I am thrilled to be here to congratulate the Shapira family and the Heaven Hill team on another successful project investing millions in Kentucky and our people,” Gov. Beshear said at the grand opening. “As we emerge from this pandemic with our economy booming, we are announcing more jobs and investment in the commonwealth every week, and the bourbon industry is no exception. This state-of-the-art visitor center will give people one more great reason to visit Kentucky and experience the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, creating even more jobs and opportunity.”
The opening of the new visitor center is the latest of a series of positive tourism and economic development news in the commonwealth. Bourbon is an $8.6 billion signature industry in the commonwealth. Throughout the Beshear administration, Kentucky’s spirits industry has announced plans for over $600 million in capital investment expected to create roughly 540 jobs in coming years. This year alone, the spirits industry announced $240 million in planned investment and 164 new jobs through the end of May.
Even during the pandemic, spirits companies have continued pledging to invest and create jobs in the commonwealth. The Heaven Hill Distillery project represents a $19 million investment in Kentucky’s signature bourbon and tourism industries. The new experience also adds 13 new staff positions. At the 2018 groundbreaking, Heaven Hill announced a new multi-year $125 million investment plan to expand production capacity in Bardstown. The company invested $19 million in the new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience in addition to a $106 million investment in new barrel warehousing, bottling line and equipment upgrades and increased holdings of aging bourbon whiskey.
“The Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience is a leading showcase of bourbon tourism grounded in educational, interactive exhibits honoring the legacy of my father and his four brothers, the iconic brands in our award-winning portfolio, and the craftsmen across our commonwealth who make Kentucky bourbon possible,” said Shapira, president of Heaven Hill. “We are extremely pleased to be welcoming fans and visitors back to Bourbon Country to see, taste and learn about America’s Native Spirit in a new way.”
Heaven Hill first unveiled the renovation phase of the new Experience in November 2019 featuring three iconic tasting rooms that overlook the spectacular views of Bourbon Country. Guests can also join a bourbon host for a 270-degree video about how barrels are made and their importance to the bourbon production process.
In recognition of the commonwealth’s world-recognized bourbon industry, Gov. Beshear proclaimed June 14 National Kentucky Bourbon Day. Heaven Hill Distillery’s state-of-the-art visitor center opened to the public today in celebration of National Kentucky Bourbon Day. The interactive, educational space offers signature exhibits unique to the historic Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience.
Heaven Hill’s presence as one of the first visitor centers on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail has played an instrumental role in establishing Kentucky as a top tourist destination. In 2019, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors. The new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience triples its previous footprint with more than 30,000 square feet, capable of welcoming over 900 enthusiasts or newcomers at a time.
The former Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown welcomed 60,000 visitors annually, consistently ranked as a top tour destination in Kentucky. The company also operates the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Louisville, which welcomes nearly 100,000 visitors per year.
For more information about the Heaven Hill Experience, visit www.heavenhilldistillery.com. To schedule a tour, click here.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.