Most of you know that Heaven Hill Distillery caught fire in November, 1996. We lost the distillery and 7 warehouses.
After the fire we still have over 40+ warehouses left The bottlinghouse was not damaged. The only loss of work was the night of the fire. Personnel absorbed the distillery worker's into bottling and the warehouse. Business as usual (from a regular worker's view ) From inside you would not have know that something that horrific happened at our homeplace.
The only evidence that millions of gallons of bourbon poured like a waterfall down the hill was the smell of very, very, strong bourbon. So strong, the air seemed flammable. The "news" vans, campers were camped out (nearly all week) across the roadway. This fire was one of the hottest fires ever recorded. It made the national news and it's something I will never forget.
The federal investigators who investigated the Oklahoma City bombing "tried" to find a "cause" for this fire. The end result? No conclusion The fire was so hot that "all" the evidence was literally "evaporated"...We will never know what caused that fire.
It took a long time to acquire a distillery. The possibility of rebuilding was a big hope for all of us. It did not happen. HH bought the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville.
A lot of us speculated that the reason HH did not rebuild was because the land that the original "Distillery" and some of the warehouses sits on was on a 100 year lease. That lease, was signed in the early 30's...I also heard rumors that HH tried to buy the land from the Rapier Smith family on several occasions.
I was talking to one of the "Smith family members" last week. He told me that they "have sold" the property to Heaven Hill That's great news. I have talked to several folks at Heaven Hill just to see if this information is accurate. It is I also asked what were the plans for that property? (Like I was going to get a answer ) I don't know response, was given...
That's really good news. With the addition of our new Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center as one of the newest Kentucky visitor attractions this land purchase is just icing on the cake for Heaven Hill. I can only imagine some of the great things that they are planning