04-26-2012

Bardstown distillery to open bourbon attraction in downtown Louisville

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – Bardstown-based Heaven Hill Distilleries will create 14 full-time jobs and invest $9.5 million in Louisville’s historic district, opening a multi-million dollar artisanal distillery, tourism and retail attraction called The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience along what historically is known as “Whiskey Row” on West Main Street.

Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson joined company and local officials Thursday to announce The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, which is set to open in September 2013 at the Heaven Hill building, a 5-story facility that is more than a century old. The attraction will offer guided tours, a fully-functioning artisanal pot still distillery, tasting rooms for visitors of legal drinking age, a dioramic video wall showing the progression of distillery operations, and more – all designed to immerse guests in the bourbon-making process which dates back to distiller Evan Williams in the late 1700s in Louisville, according to a press release from Gov. Steve Beshear's office.

“We are thrilled to welcome Heaven Hill’s amazing addition to this historic section of Louisville,” Abramson said in the press release. “Downtown is growing into a popular destination for tourists and families..."

Heaven Hill is among the nation's largest family-owned distillers. It was founded in 1934 after the end of Prohibition.

“We at Heaven Hill Distilleries are pleased to announce this exciting new initiative for Louisville, for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and for our Evan Williams Bourbon brand,” Heaven Hill Executive Vice President Harry J. Shapira said in the press release. “It brings together important economic development, tourism, and historical forces: an important new manufacturing and distillation facility, a major Louisville and Kentucky-themed attraction, and the history of Whiskey Row and Evan Williams as an important Louisville figure and early distiller.”

To encourage Heaven Hill’s investment and job growth in Louisville, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $280,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

KEDFA also approved Heaven Hill for tax benefits up to $200,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

“This is a great project, not only because of Heaven Hill’s significant investment and the jobs it will create, but for the history that is being reclaimed as the bourbon industry returns to Main Street in downtown Louisville,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.