Heaven Hill Distillery Wins Back-to-Back Whisky Magazine Distiller of the Year Awards  

— February 15, 2024
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The 2024 American Icons of Whisky celebrates the largest, independent distillery as best in country at World Whiskies Awards

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (February 15, 2024)– The Whisky Magazine American Icons of Whisky Awards announced Heaven Hill Distillery, the world’s largest, independent American Whiskey distillery, as the 2024 Distiller of the Year at their annual awards banquet in Louisville, Ky. last Thursday. The award marks back-to-back wins for Heaven Hill in this globally acclaimed category. Sustainability Director Rachel Nally was also recognized as Highly Commended in the Sustainability Officer category. This was on top of being named as Sustainable Distiller of the Year in 2023.

The sequential wins emphasize Heaven Hill’s stature in the industry as the largest, independent distillery dedicated to quality and heritage. With more than two million barrels aging across 70 rickhouses, the distillery’s Bernheim facility in Louisville produces over 440,000 barrels of whiskey per year, in excess of 29 million proof gallons. The recognition also showcases Heaven Hill’s continued commitment to the whiskey industry, investing more than $200 million in the new Heaven Hill Springs Distillery in Bardstown, Ky. slated for operation by the end of 2024. Initial production is slated for 10 million proof gallons (over 150,000 barrels) a year and will have capacity to increase production to 450,000 barrels annually. This will be in addition to the company’s current distilling capacity at Bernheim in Louisville.  

The new Heaven Hill Springs Distillery celebrated a major milestone last August with the installation of the first of three stills, crafted in Louisville by Vendome Copper. At 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. 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. Three Vendome stills of similar size have been operational at Bernheim since the last expansion of the distillery in 2017.

“As the largest, independent distillery, Heaven Hill is proud to carry forth the tradition of distilling American Whiskey and has been since 1935,” said Conor O’Driscoll, Heaven Hill Master Distiller. “The back-to-back Distiller of the Year award is emblematic of our distilling legacy and commitment to producing the best American Whiskeys across all styles.”

The World Whiskies Awards are the global awards selecting the very best in all the international recognized styles, awarding and promoting the world’s best whiskies to consumers and trade across the globe. In 2023, Heaven Hill was honored to win Distiller of the Year, Sustainable Distiller of the Year, and saw National Spirits Special Lynn House recognized as American Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year. Also in 2023, Master Distiller Connor O’Driscoll was recognized as Highly Commended Master Distiller along with wins in the categories of World’s Best Small Batch Bourbon and Best Kentucky Small Batch Bourbon for Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C922. In 2022 the Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience won Visitor Attraction of the Year along with Director of Kentucky Visitor Experiences Jeff Crowe winning Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year. National Brand Ambassador Bernie Lubbers is also a past winner having taken home the prize for American Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year three previous times.

“Being recognized as the best in the industry is an immense honor for Heaven Hill as the largest, independent distillery,” said Chief Marketing Officer Matt Blevins. “We congratulate our colleagues in the industry on their awards and wish everyone the best at the World’s Best competition later this year.” 

Sustainability Director Rachel Nally joined Heaven Hill in 2019 and leads the company’s Environmental and Sustainability Team. An expert in the areas of cultivating sustainable practices and creating highly efficient and compliant operations, Rachel works tirelessly to ensure Heaven Hill is on track to reach milestones in the company’s 2030 Sustainability Goals. Most recently, Rachel’s efforts lead to Heaven Hill achieving not one, but two of the Environmental Protection Agency’s first ever ENERGY STAR certifications for the Bernheim Distillery and the Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery in Buda, Texas.

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