Big things are ahead for the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, and Tuesday night I got to see firsthand just what they’re up to over there — and enjoy a few handfuls of cheese.
If you haven’t been in a few months, you likely didn’t realize the gift shop and tasting rooms were under construction. But because of my bottle-hunting ways, I had been by the Heritage Center a few times looking for some one-eyed whiskey unicorns. The staff always greeted me with a smile and would say, “Pardon the construction, and no, we just sold our last unicorn of the day.” Just my luck.
But Tuesday night, the plywood came down and the dust was swept up to unveil a brand spanking new expanded retail space and three quaint and cool tasting rooms that all have a different theme tied to Heaven Hill’s brands of bourbon.
You can expect the Fitzgerald Room, inspired by Old Fitzgerald Bourbon and referencing the man who often “sampled” from the barrels he was paid to protect. This is also where Larceny Bourbon got its inspiration from — Fitzgerald, larceny, stolen bourbon … you get the idea!
Another new room is The Library, a tasting room that honors the Father of Bourbon, Elijah Craig. There’s a 26-foot-long table with cozy chairs and nuanced decor that all relates back to Craig’s life and legacy.
The other rooms is The Founders Room, inspired by the Shapira family behind Heaven Hill.
These new renovations are part of Heaven Hill’s $17.5 million investment in the expanded Heritage Center, and the staff also showed us a few sneak peeks of what’s to come in Phase 2. What might that include? How about a gorgeous second-floor outdoor balcony attached to a rooftop restaurant and bar. Or a “You Do Bourbon” interactive experience where you get to choose and then fill your own bottle of bourbon. Or about about two installations: the Elijah Craig Exhibit and the Larceny Exhibit.
They promised there is much more up their sleeves, and I’m looking forward to watching these Phases roll out … like a barrel of Elijah Craig rolling into my living room come Christmas Day. Hey, a girl can dream!
All the phases should be complete by spring of 2021.
So next time you’re in Bardstown, stop by Heaven Hill and check things out! The expanded gift shop is worth the 40-minute drive from Louisville alone.
Here’s a look at some photos I took and some renderings: