Whisky Magazine Issue 36
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Bourbon producer Heaven Hill is a family business that's branching out. Kate Ennis joined the extended family in Kentucky for a preview of their new vintage.
It might well be the case that Heaven Hill president Max Shapira likes to keep it in the family when it comes to his business – but that family seems to be growing by the month.
There are three generations of Shapiras directly tied to the Heaven Hill story so far – four if you include baby Lindsey who at three months old already comes in to the office and has her own Heaven Hill email address – as well as two generations of the world-famous Beam dynasty.
Beyond the immediate relations, though, Heaven Hill is attracting an extended family that has started reaching out beyond Kentucky, beyond America's borders, and across the world.
Max believes this close-knit family structure is the key to success of Heaven Hill, which is the only independent bourbon producer with all its major operations based in Kentucky. And who can argue with popular bourbon brands such as Evan Williams, Elijah Craig and Old Fitzgerald to its name?
Over in Bardstown bourbon fans are revelling in the growth of single barrel and small release whiskeys.
To put it in context, Heaven Hill's own club the Bardstown Bourbon Society has grown so much that it now has 12,000 members across the world. Its sole intent is to enjoy the best the company can produce.
Invitations to join are enclosed in all boxes of Heaven Hill bourbon and the free membership includes a newsletter, certificate, tasting guide and the opportunity to attend events.
One of the company's biggest successes has been the Evan Williams...