Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Brands has opened its new US$19 million visitor centre.
The Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience welcomed its first guests yesterday (15 June) in Bardstown, Kentucky, commemorating National Bourbon Day (14 June).
The new visitor centre, which represents a US$19 million investment in Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and tourism industries, has added 13 new staff positions to the company, with capacity for 900 whiskey lovers. The site was formerly known as the Bourbon Heritage Center.
The experience offers a range of activities, from a multi-sensory storytelling of the history of Bourbon through an immersive ‘distillery theatre’, to a tasting room and ‘you do Bourbon’ lab. The new space also has a bar and kitchen.
The expansion, renovation and renaming of the visitor centre are part of the whiskey maker’s investment in Bardstown. Since 2018, Heaven Hill, which produces the whiskeys Elijah Craig and Evan Williams, has undertaken a US$125m multi-year investment plan to expand its production capacity and drive tourism.
The first phase of renovation was unveiled in 2019, featuring three tasting rooms overlooking Bardstown.
Heaven Hill president, Max L Shapira, said: “In the heart of Bourbon country, we welcome fans back to experience America’s native spirit, immerse themselves in the long history of Heaven Hill, and learn about the award-winning portfolio of storied brands now told on these walls.
“The Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience is an innovative, state-of-the-art tourism model, grounded in history, and developed to entice fans for generations to come.”
The grand opening of the Bourbon experience was attended by Shapira and Kentucky governor Andy Beshear.
“I am thrilled to be here to congratulate the Shapira family and the Heaven Hill team on another successful project investing millions in Kentucky and our people,” said Beshear.
“As we emerge from this pandemic with our economy booming, we are announcing more jobs and investment in the commonwealth every week, and the Bourbon industry is no exception.
“This state-of-the-art visitor centre will give people one more great reason to visit Kentucky and experience the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, creating even more jobs and opportunity.”
Earlier this year, the brand unveiled its first official environmental sustainability strategy for the next 10 years.