Heaven Hill distillery has a rich bourbon history. Currently, they’re the largest family-owned distillery in the United States and the second largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon in the world (I’m still trying to work my way up the list). The distillery was founded in 1935 by the Shapira family with Master Distiller Joseph Beam (yes, his cousin is Jim).
Previously, I created an infographic grouping of bourbons by mashbill for the Buffalo trace distillery. Heaven Hill presents a few obstacles when trying to group bourbons and whiskeys by mashbill. First, they’ve produced many different brands over the years. Some have been discontinued but some are still around. While I tried to include some of the discontinued bottles I know there are some that have not been included. Second, Heaven Hill is the source for several Non-Distiller Producers which I’ve debated on whether or not to include in this post. Ultimately, I decide to include a few NDP’s I was fairly confident HH was the source. If there are other whiskies you think should be added let me know and I’ll research and add them. Finally, on November 7, 1996 a fire almost completely destroyed the Heaven Hill production plant. As you know, fire and alcohol are not a good mix and nearly 90,000 barrels of bourbon were lost in this tragedy.
After the fire, other distilleries came together to help Heaven Hill keep up with production. For instance, Brown-Forman distilled Rittenhouse on behalf of Heaven Hill. In 1999 Heaven Hill purchased Bernheim Distillery to help with production. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that HH was able to distill Rittenhouse on its own.
How can we distinguish between pre-fire, post-fire or a contracted distiller during the fire? The easiest way to verify your bottled was produced by Heaven Hill is to check the DSP code. Anything produced by Heaven Hill pre-fire will be labeled DS- KY-31. Anything post-fire will be DSP-KY-1 (DSP-KY-354 will be the Rittenhouse distilled by Brown-Forman).
Heaven Hill Mash Bill Breakdown