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Heaven Hill announces US$25m Bernheim expansion

Elijah Craig producer Heaven Hill Brands has pledged US$25 million to expand its Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky, which will make it the largest single-site Bourbon distillery in the US.

Bernheim Distillery will become the largest single site Bourbon distillery in the US

The distillery, which dates back to 1871, was acquired by Heaven Hill in 1999 and produces brands including Evan Williams, Larceny, Henry McKenna and Elijah Craig.

This latest expansion will take Bernheim’s capacity to 400,000 barrels per year. Work will include the installation of four additional fermenters, another distillation set of a thumper and 66-inch beer column, a drop tub to increase number of mashes per day, a 50,000 pph boiler, a new grain handling and storage upgrade, a cooling capacity upgrade, and an operations software upgrade.

In 2016, Heaven Hill revealed plans to invest US$15.5m in expanding Bernheim Distillery, allowing it to increase production by a third. Since 2016, Heaven Hill has also opened four warehouses at its new Cox’s Creek barrel warehouse location.

Speaking to The Spirits Business at the start of this year, Max L Shapira, president of Heaven Hill Brands, said: “In response to the growth that we have seen in Bourbon, we have had a substantial capital infrastructure in place over the past couple of years and continuing into the next few years.”

With 1.2m barrels ageing in its various facilities, Heaven Hill has the second largest inventory of Bourbon in the world, representing about 25% of the globe’s total supply.

“And we are frankly not quite sure if it’s enough,” Shapira admitted. “I wish we would have known seven or eight years ago that this Bourbon renaissance was going to be coming to the market. We, like a lot of others in the industry, our watching our inventories extremely closely.”

To mark the expansion, a commemorative barrel was signed by Heaven Hill employees and local dignitaries. Heaven Hill also announced a partnership with Dare to Care to support hunger relief with a US$100,000 donation.

“This expansion is a truly monumental event for Heaven Hill, for the city of Louisville, and for the bourbon industry worldwide,” said Kentucky congressman John Yarmuth.

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