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Heaven Hill
Old Heaven Hill

Type

American

Distillery

Heaven Hill Distilleries

Region

Kentucky, United States

Proof

40% alc/vol; 80 proof

Process

Bourbon

Heaven Hill Distillery was founded shortly after the repeal of Prohibition in 1935 by several investors, including a prominent distiller, Joseph L. Beam, and a member of the Shapira family. As the company developed, the five brothers of the Shapira family bought out the other investors. Joe Beam remained as Master Distiller, along with his youngest son, Harry. Descendants of the Shapira brothers own and run the company to this day.

All of the Master Distillers at Heaven Hill since its founding have been members of the Beam family. The original Master Distiller was Joseph L. Beam, Jim Beam's first cousin. He was followed by his son, Harry, who was followed by Earl Beam, the son of Jim Beam's brother, Park. Earl Beam was succeeded by the current Master Distillers, Parker Beam and his son, Craig Beam. The original name was "Old Heavenhill Springs" distillery. The company was founded as a bourbon distillery, and for most of its existence has concentrated on its flagship bourbon labels, Evan Williams and Elijah Craig. However, in the past two decades the company has expanded its portfolio significantly, acquiring brands or obtaining import rights for gins, malt whiskey, vodkas, and other drinks. On November 7, 1996, Heaven Hill's production plant was almost completely destroyed by fire. Several of the company's warehouses were destroyed, and over 90,000 gallons of alcohol were lost.Template:Citation needed The company survived the next several years through the provision of production capacity by its fellow local bourbon labels, Brown-Forman and Jim Beam, until its purchase and adaptation of the new Heaven Hill Bernheim distillery in Louisville, while fermenting, mashing, and distilling occurs at the new distillery, ageing, bottling, and shipping still occur in Bardstown.

The Heaven Hill company strongly emphasizes the history and traditions of bourbon in its public relations, highlighting the company's location in the historical home of bourbon-making and its status as the only such company still under local ownership. In 2004, a Bourbon Heritage Center was opened on the old distillery grounds, featuring historical exhibits and guided tours of the plant. The company also hosts the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and several of the company's brands are named after famous local distillers.


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