Heaven Hill was founded shortly after the repeal of Prohibition in 1935 by several investors, including a prominent distiller, Joseph L. Beam, and a member of the Shapira family. As the company developed, the five brothers of the Shapira family bought out the other investors. Joe Beam remained as Master Distiller, along with his youngest son, Harry.
Descendants of the Shapira brothers own and run the company to this day.
The original name was "Old Heavenhill Springs" distillery. The company was founded as a bourbon distillery, and for most of its existence has concentrated on its flagship bourbon labels, Evan Williams and Elijah Craig. However, in the past two decades the company has expanded its portfolio significantly, acquiring brands or obtaining import rights for gins, malt whiskey, vodkas, and other drinks.
On November 7, 1996, Heaven Hill's production plant was almost completely destroyed by fire. Several of the company's warehouses were destroyed, and over 90,000 gallons of alcohol lost. The company survived the next several years through the provision of production capacity by its fellow local bourbon labels, Brown-Forman and Jim Beam, until its purchase and adaptation of the new Heaven Hill Bernheim distillery in Louisville, while fermenting, mashing, and distilling occurs at the new distillery, aging, bottling, and shipping still occur in Bardstown.
Heaven Hill's location in the historical home of bourbon-making, coupled with its status as the only such company still under local ownership, has led it to take a role in curating and advertising bourbon tradition. In 2004, the Bourbon Heritage Centre was opened on distillery grounds, featuring historical exhibits and guided tours of the plant. The company also hosts the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and many of the company's own labels are named after famous local distillers.
BERNHEIM WHEAT WHISKEY
Bernheim was the first straight wheat whiskey to be launched on the US market and is bottled at seven years of age.
A winner of the Gold 'Editor's Choice Award' from Whisky Magazine with a score of 17.75 out of 20 from Dave Broom & Michael Jackson, Bernheim is 51% winter wheat, 39% corn and 10% barley malt. A soft, mellow, fruity palate with gentle vanilla notes.