We marked a major milestone this week on our $200 million project to build the Heaven Hill Springs Distillery with the installation of a shiny, new Vendome copper still. Installing this critical piece of equipment brings us one big step closer to returning distilling processes to Bardstown for the first time since the 1996 fire that destroyed the original distillery.
And it just so happens that the major milestone coincides with the start of Bourbon Heritage Month and upcoming Kentucky Bourbon Festival, celebrations that have become synonymous with the rich heritage and craftsmanship of Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
The new Vendome copper still was shipped by Vendome to Bardstown in two pieces on separate flatbeds. At nearly 60 feet tall and weighing more than 22,000 pounds, this still is capable of producing 35,500 proof-gallons per day which is equal to more than 500 barrels per day – that’s a lot of bourbon! Crafted from copper, a material celebrated for its role in distillation due to its exceptional heat conductivity, the still represents a marriage of traditional and modern technology. The state-of-the-art piece of equipment is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the character and flavor profile of future Heaven Hill whiskeys.
In line with our 2030 Environmental Sustainability Strategy, the design of the Heaven Hill Springs Distillery reflects our dedication to play a role in forming a more eco-conscious distilled spirits industry. The new still is insulated and then wrapped in a copper skin to enhance energy conservation throughout the whiskey-making process. The site will also include other sustainability efforts such as a wastewater pretreatment system and a program to harness energy creation and recovery which will alleviate demands on the city’s electrical and water treatment plants. Once construction is closer to completion, the campus will use native plants and natural systems to manage stormwater runoff and improve habitat on the property.
The distillery is still expected to be operational by the end of 2024. Initial production is slated for 150,000 barrels a year, and over time we will have capacity to ramp up to producing 450,000 barrels annually! This will be in addition to the distilling that occurs at our historic Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, which will continue to operate at full capacity of 450,000 barrels annually.
We appreciate all of our partners who have been on this journey with us and we can’t wait to bring you more exciting updates as the project nears completion.