Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center

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Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center

Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Oct 16, 2004 12:15 pm

Last night I attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening for the new Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center. I had worked with Solid Light, the design firm that designed the exhibits, at the Filson Historical Society finding information and images for the exhibits. It looked in the morning as if this was not going to be fun with a cold rain and temperatures about 45 degrees. Things started looking up at about 3:30 when the sun came out and the evening turned quite nice weatherwise.

I left straight from work to be at the event that started at 6:30. Traffic was good to me and I got there at 6:00. I had to cool my heels in the parking lot while the building was closed for a private media tour (Jim Murray, Gary and Mardee Regan, Stuart Ramsey and other national and international drinks writers) so the opening was going to get good press coverage. I was not alone as other local dignitaries showed and waited either in the parking lot or the tent outside the building for things to start. The outside of the building is very impressive with limestone, white oak and copper being the primary building materials.

By 6:30 things were starting to happen. Many people I knew such as Jimmy Russell and Jim Rutledge were there and conversation turned to the U of L Miami game (Jim Rutledge is a U of L Graduate with a very nice article about him in an alumni magazine that came out last spring). The came out and joined us so I got to talk with my friends in the press. Drinks were served (I had Evan Williams Single Barrel 1994) and food was served (finger food from waitresses circulating through the crowd). Max started the ceremonies talking about all the people that played a part in this project. State and local dignitaries then gave their speaches with Gov. Fletcher sending a proclomation that it was Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Day. They cut the ribbon and then we got to go in to see the interior.

I was one of the last to go in because I was talking with Sam Cecil (who is doing better than I thought but still looked weak and pale). The exhibits were very well done. Larry Kass and Josh Hafer (Marketing people for Heaven Hill) asked me not to get to picking the history apart. I told them not to worry that I would not rain on their parade and keep comments to myself. I was pleased to see that they were quite subtle in their marketing and simply not telling the whole truth in some cases but not telling lies. An example is Even Williams: They state that he was a perfessional distiller which is true in that he ran a distillery, but what they don't tell you is that his main business was brick making. Most of the oldest house in Louisville were made from bricks from his factory and that was the business that survived his death and was passed on to the next generation.

The exhibits are very well put together and informative. They had a family tree for the Beams who have always been their distillers. They do discuss the industry as a whole but of course focus on Heaven Hill brands. There is a theater with a video (I did not take time to watch it last night) and a gift shop. The thing that impressed me most was the tasting bar set up in the gift shop section. It is a round room with a great looking bar serving Heaven Hill products.

As a whole I was very impressed with the job they have done. The one thing I told Harry Shapira I think they need to say more about is Heaven Hill's history itself. I personally am impressed with the fact they are a company that had no distilling background or brands that survived when others did not. Taylor and Williams had the Yellowstone brand and the tradition of being a disttler but did not last past 1943. Henry McKenna, Waterfield and Frasier and other companies with long histories brands failed, but Heaven Hill did not. I would like to see some more on that in their displays.

After about another hour of socializing I left the place. I think it is a great place. My only other fear is that it might take the place of the Getz Museum in local support and that would not be good. The industry needs the non-bias museum to preserve its history and lord knows the Getz Museum gets very little support now, so a loss of support would be a tragedy.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby bunghole » Sat Oct 16, 2004 12:28 pm

Thanks for that post, Mike! Are you also going to attend the Evan Williams Single Barrel 1995 event? Sounds like fun, and I wish I could be there for that.

ima
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Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Oct 16, 2004 12:30 pm

No, I am not going tonight. I had already planned a premium bourbon tasting event for the Brennan House for tonight.

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Unread postby tlsmothers » Sat Oct 16, 2004 8:20 pm

Thanks, Mike for that lovely write up. It's too bad that it wasn't open during the Festival. Maybe if I make it down to the Sampler, I can check it out. It's great to have folks like you to help keep some clarity to the history so it ain't all marketing hype and romantic legend, which is nice to have, but I love reading your detailed facts.
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Unread postby Stoopsie » Sun Oct 17, 2004 5:56 am

Thank Mike for the great post. I hope this is not taking away from your time writing your book. :P Will your publication contain the history of Heaven Hill that you spoke to Max about?

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Heaven Hill Visitor's Center Press Release

Unread postby tlsmothers » Tue Oct 19, 2004 9:24 pm

FOR RELEASE: October 15, 2004

HEAVEN HILL DISTILLERIES OPENS NEW VISITORS CENTER

BARDSTOWN, (Ky.) - This Friday, October 15, the newest stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail was dedicated. The Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Center, the premier tourism destination in central Kentucky, sits in the middle of Bardstown, the "Bourbon Capital of the World®," on the grounds of Heaven Hill and across the street from 40+ open air rickhouses which house the world's second-largest supply of aging Bourbon.

The architecturally-significant new building incorporates into its design the key natural elements from the Bourbon-making process - such as copper, limestone and white oak - and echoes the form of the open rickhouse. The center is dedicated to the history of Bourbon and its dramatic effect on the growth of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as its legacy as "America's Native Spirit" as declared by a 1964 Act of Congress.

Highlights inside the Bourbon Heritage Center include:

* A series of interactive and educational exhibits that demonstrate the Bourbon-making process and Bourbon history, including information on Evan Williams, Kentucky's first distiller, Elijah Craig - "the father of Bourbon" - and other Bourbon pioneers whose names are immortalized in some of Heaven Hill's most famous Bourbon brands.

• The Evan Williams Theater will show "A Portrait of Heaven Hill," a short informative film on the history of Bourbon, the Bourbon-making process, and Heaven Hill Distilleries. The theater, located at one end of the Center, accommodates 75 in traditional theater-style seating.

• A highlight of the Center is the one-of-a-kind barrel-shaped "Taste of Heaven" tasting room, which seats 22. The dramatic space gives visitors (21 and older) a unique environment in which guided samplings of the company's world-renowned whiskeys will be conducted.

• Eye-catching display items such as old advertisements, photographs, and even a sample of the very first "white dog" (new, unaged Bourbon) that was distilled at Heaven Hill.

• One wall re-creating a rickhouse, complete with various Heaven Hill Bourbon - branded barrels stacked up to the ceiling. The company's milestone barrel heads, beginning with the first barrel filled, are also on display on this wall.

• The center's gift shop will have Kentucky crafts, branded merchandise and a special bottling of Evan Williams Master Distillers' Select Bourbon available for purchase and customized personalization.

The official opening of the Bourbon Heritage Center was held Friday, October 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Officials from Bardstown, Nelson County, the state of Kentucky and the Bourbon industry were on hand to take part in the dedication of the building. Addressing the event will be Kentucky Department of Travel Commissioner Randy Fiveash, whose agency administers state tourism and travel. A proclamation from Governor Ernie Fletcher declaring October 15, 2004 as Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Center Day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky will also be presented.

"The creation of the Bourbon Heritage Center has been a work in progress for many years, and it's gratifying to see it finally come to life exactly the way we had envisioned it," said Harry J. Shapira, executive vice president, Heaven Hill Distilleries, who personally oversaw the design and construction of the Center. "We think it's really come together well, and we're excited that it will undoubtedly be one of the premier tourism destinations in central Kentucky for many years to come."

"We have always done a brisk tour business, often welcoming nearly 10,000 guests a year to our facility," said Shapira. "Our adjacency to My Old Kentucky Home State Park, as well as our support of the Heaven Hill Distilleries Trolley, has meant we have always had a broad and consistent base of visitors. We feel strongly that the new Bourbon Heritage Center will augment both the number of people visiting the distillery and Bardstown, as well as their overall impression of the city, county and region."

Guests can visit Heaven Hill's new Bourbon Heritage Center at 1311 Gilkey Run Road in Bardstown. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays; last tour starts one hour before closing, the center is closed on Mondays. For more information, call 502-337-1000 or visit http://www.bourbonheritagecenter.com.

Founded in 1934, Heaven Hill is the nation's largest independent, family-owned marketer and producer of distilled spirits products. Aging in its facilities is the second largest holding of Kentucky whiskey in the world. Heaven Hill's diversified portfolio includes: the full line of The Christian Brothers Brandies; Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; Hpnotiq; Whaler's Rums; Burnett's Gin and Vodka; Dubonnet Aperitif; Scotch Whiskies; Irish Whiskeys; Canadian Whiskies; vodka; gins; rums; tequilas; cognacs; liqueurs; cordials; and dessert wines. Heaven Hill is based in Bardstown, Ky.

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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:19 pm

There is a very nice article in today's Courier-Journal about the Bourbon Heritage Center at Heaven Hill.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby bunghole » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:09 pm

Howie & I are going to visit next week.

:arrow: ima :smilebox:
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Unread postby Mark » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:19 pm

bunghole wrote:Howie & I are going to visit next week.

:arrow: ima :smilebox:


:o Uh-Oh, you heard it here first HH, watch out! :lol: :wink:

Really though, let us know what ya' think and please take some pics! I'd love to see different views of the finished center.
Last edited by Mark on Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:26 pm

Linn,
I just talked with Howie and I am meeting you in Bardstown of the tour and we are going to follow that with my "Distillery Tour of Shively". We will end the day at D Marie's bourbon bar. Bring your camera and post some photos.
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Unread postby bunghole » Sat Jan 15, 2005 3:28 am

You can bank on it, Mike! :thumbright: I'll also be bringing a very nice assortment of my finest cigars. :cigar: I also want to go to Kremer's if possible.

:arrow: ima :sunny:
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Unread postby bourbonv » Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:50 pm

Linn,
I was actually going to suggest that you and Howie and Chris may want to check out Kremer's while in town. A great place. I went to buy some cigars there the other day and they only had 3 of the type I wanted left. When I went to check out Mr. Kremer found some flaws on two of them and refused to sell them to me and tossed them away. They believe in selling only quality.
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Unread postby bunghole » Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:53 pm

bourbonv wrote:Linn,
I was actually going to suggest that you and Howie and Chris may want to check out Kremer's while in town. A great place. I went to buy some cigars there the other day and they only had 3 of the type I wanted left. When I went to check out Mr. Kremer found some flaws on two of them and refused to sell them to me and tossed them away. They believe in selling only quality.
Mike Veach


GREAT Shop, Mike! I'll bet the sticks in question were 'over handled' by perspective customers and had splits at the foot. This is quite common. That's just one reason I like to buy sealed boxes.

So CHRIS is in on the deal? Ima gonna bust his chops! So to speak (not really), but MAN HAVE YOU GOT DUES TO PAY!

You just wait! I'll see you there.

Hope you got VISA - 'cause you're gonna need it!

Pants Away Baby!

:arrow: Linn
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Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:29 am

Here's a few shots from our visit. Here's the outside. There were a few flurries flying and one landed on my lens! You'll see it one one shot.
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Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:39 am

OOPs! Now I see that the photos show up in reverse order of post I'll try to make a better sequence of shots of the inside.
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John Lipman; Mike Veach, Brendaj, and bunghole in the barrel shaped tasting room.
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