BARDSTOWN, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated another major milestone within Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry as he joined local officials and leaders at Heaven Hill Distillery in Nelson County to celebrate the filling of the company’s 10 millionth barrel.
“Congratulations to the Shapira family and the entire Heaven Hill team on reaching the incredible milestone of filling their 10 millionth barrel of bourbon!” said Gov. Beshear. “Heaven Hill has long been an industry leader, and I’ve been proud to watch them literally rise from the ashes of the devastating November 1996 fire that took so much. Heaven Hill has emerged stronger than ever, and I look forward to their continued success.”
Today’s celebration comes just over a year after the Governor joined Heaven Hill leaders to break ground on the company’s new $135 million Heaven Hill Springs Distillery, which is creating 38 full-time jobs for Kentuckians. That project marked the return of the company’s distilling operations to Bardstown 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.
“This achievement reinforces Heaven Hill’s enduring strength and legacy,” said Heaven Hill co-president Kate Latts. “As the only family-owned and -led spirits company in the world to reach this incredible milestone, we take great pride in our accomplishment.”
Headquartered in Bardstown since 1935, Heaven Hill maintains over 2 million barrels of whiskey aging in more than 70 rickhouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson counties. 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.
The new Heaven Hill Springs Distillery augments the company’s distilling capacity to meet increased global whiskey demand. It has been designed to create a more environmentally conscious distilled spirits industry and ensure a thriving environment for generations to come.
Nelson County Judge/Executive Tim Hutchins congratulated the company on this historic achievement: “The filling of the 10 millionth barrel at Heaven Hill signifies the strength of Kentucky’s signature spirit and the importance of Nelson County as the epicenter of bourbon production in the commonwealth. I congratulate the hard-working employees of Heaven Hill on this historic achievement, and I look forward to partnering with our distillers to make our community stronger for the future.”
Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton highlighted the significant achievement and continued partnership between the company and community: “We congratulate and express our appreciation to Heaven Hill Brands for this significant milestone in their bourbon production. The 10 millionth barrel demonstrates Heaven Hill’s continued commitment and long-term investment in Bardstown. The city of Bardstown is grateful to be part of the success of this company and to work side by side with them to facilitate their tremendous growth. Today’s event further qualifies our position as ‘The Bourbon Capital of the World’ of which we are so proud.”
Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency, noted the hard work and dedication required by the company to reach this milestone: “Every single barrel that is filled by Heaven Hill is a celebration and a testament of what great leadership and skilled and committed workers can accomplish over decades of time. The filling of their 10 millionth barrel is a historic milestone for Heaven Hill, and we celebrate this with them and acknowledge the significant economic impact that this company has had on our communities and county.”
Heaven Hill’s investment and job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Gov. Beshear recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.
The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
Gov. Beshear also announced an increase of 6,400 jobs filled, bringing the commonwealth to 2,015,600 filled jobs in June. That is a record number of nearly 60,000 more jobs filled than before the pandemic.
This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 870 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling approximately $26.8 billion in announced investments.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduces its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
For more information on Heaven Hill, visit HeavenHillDistillery.com.
A detailed community profile for Nelson County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.