Second continuously operated distillery to reach historic number
BARDSTOWN, Ky. (March 26, 2013) – Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the nation’s largest independent family-owned and operated distilled spirits producer and the world’s second-largest holder of aging Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, on Tuesday celebrated the filling of its 6.5-millionth barrel of bourbon.
Heaven Hill is only the second continuously operating Bourbon producer, and the only private family-owned company, to reach the historic benchmark.
“It is indeed a proud day for our company and our extended Heaven Hill family,” said Heaven Hill Distilleries President Max L. Shapira. “We have throughout our history recognized the filling of our milestone barrels with a ceremony such as this, but the fact that it is less and less time between these occasions is a testament to the remarkable growth and popularity of bourbon. This occasion is made all the more special in that it is personally overseen by two generations of my family and two generations of the family of our Master Distillers, Parker and Craig Beam.”
No one could foresee the many changes and tremendous growth that lay ahead for both Heaven Hill and the bourbon industry from when the company was founded just after Prohibition ended to its latest milestone barrel on Tuesday, but the company remains true to its original mission as a family-owned and operated, independent Kentucky company — the last remaining in the bourbon business today.
Heaven Hill now has around 1 million aging barrels of Kentucky bourbon in its inventory, the second most in the world, and its flagship Evan Williams brand is the second largest selling bourbon in the United States and the world.
The 6.5-millionth barrel was “bunged off” by sixth- and seventh-generation father and son Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam in a brief ceremony at Heaven Hill’s cistern room, attended by company executives and local dignitaries. An acclamation from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear also was presented.
The barrel was then moved to Rickhouse “Y” where it will rest alongside the other Heaven Hill milestone barrels in a special display where visitors to Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center may view them.