Thursday, August 31, 2023

New Still Will Increase Heaven Hill's Capacity by One-Third, on Way to Doubling It


Heaven Hill installs the column still at its new distillery in Bardstown.
Heaven Hill today, with much fanfare, installed the column still that will be the centerpiece of their new Bardstown distillery. It's a big one, five-and-a-half feet in diameter. They say it is capable of producing 35,500 proof-gallons per day, which is equal to more than 500 barrels per day. 

Heaven Hill is one of the four companies who together make about 70 percent of America's whiskey. Even as many new whiskey companies have come online, the Big Four have all gotten bigger. 

This milestone is exciting because it marks Heaven Hill's return to Bardstown as a distiller. They are also restoring an old name, Heaven Hill Springs, for this facility.

Since 1996, when fire destroyed Heaven Hill's original Bardstown distillery, Heaven Hill has made its whiskey at its Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, where it has three column stills slightly smaller than this one. When they put the last 60" still in at Bernheim, they said that was it. They couldn't add more capacity to that facility. They say that facility's current capacity is 450,000 barrels per year and the new facility is planned to reach that same capacity in time, which means they must already have holes in the floor for two additional stills. 

They had to do this because they were all out of room at Bernheim. There is plenty in Bardstown. The new distillery is being built on a surprisingly empty piece of land between Old Bloomfield Pike and New Bloomfield Road, aka US-62. It's just west of where the old Fairfield Distillery was, where Heaven Hill has maturation warehouses today.

Nothing in Bardstown is very far from anything else and Heaven Hill has several facilities in the area. The main campus is south of downtown, on Loretto Road, by Willett and on the way to Maker's Mark.

All the gang was there. Vendome made the still and Buzick did the installation. Heaven Hill executives and other dignitaries watched from a respectful distance.


L said...

Interesting that it was no problem to put this in at 450k a year, yet Bardstown Bourbon Company had to go through hell and high water to install a new 36"/~60k barrel per year still, allegedly due to lack of municiple water availability.

mozilla said...

Personally, I'm very happy for Heaven Hill to get stills running again in their hometown.
I hope they find a way to get that great floral nose to their distillate, that they used to have.

Anonymous said...

Coming from another realm of chemical engineering, it is amusing to hear a 2 meter diameter still described as "large". On the other hand, it is probably nice to know that most of one's product is drank rather than burnt.