Whisky Magazine Issue 45
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Louisville's Heaven Hill have taken visitor centres in to a new dimension. Charles K. Cowdery went to the opening
Long a staple of the Scottish travel experience, distillery visitor centres have finally begun to catch on in America's whiskey heartland.
The latest such venture to open its doors may also be the greatest, the Heaven Hill Distillery's Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, Kentucky. An impressive accomplishment in every respect, it raises the bar and sets a new standard for other companies that may be contemplating their own bid for tourists.
Unveiled with suitable hoopla in October, for an audience of press and local dignitaries, the new Bourbon Heritage Center is a wonderful addition to this handsome little Kentucky town that boasts
several area bourbon distilleries as well as the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
Located next to Heaven Hill's offices, bottling and distribution facilities, with apicturesque view of a dozen or so whiskey aging rickhouses across the road, the centre includes a museum, theatre, tasting room and gift shop. It makes good use of its setting and even the building materials themselves make a statement.
They are copper (signifying the still), limestone (signifying the local limestonefiltered water) and oak (signifying the whiskey barrel). This bourbon trinity, it turns out, looks as good as it tastes.
Heaven Hill, which began in Bardstown in 1934, is America's largest independent, family-owned marketer and producer of distilled spirits products.
It began life as a bourbon company and bourbon whiskey still is a major part of the company portfol...