Major World Championship Barrel Relay Wins and More

As a part of National Bourbon Heritage Month, the third week in September marked the 28th annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival (KBF) in Bardstown, home to the biggest names in Bourbon. Since its earliest years, Heaven Hill Distillery has proudly sponsored several of the festival’s most notable events, and has stayed deeply involved in the annual festivities, each an enduring celebration of Heaven Hill’s true foundation and passion — Bourbon.

This year, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and the KBF inducted Heaven Hill’s former Director of Trade Relations, Larry Kass, into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. The award is known as the highest honor in our industry and recognizes individuals that have left a significant impact on Bourbon’s stature, growth, and awareness. Larry, well known as a “treasure trove” of company history, retired last November after twenty years with Heaven Hill. He served in several capacities during his time with the company, acting as a spokesperson to the media, an champion for innovation, a helping hand in the community, and a voice for the future.

President Max Shapira says, “Larry has an innate ability to find a connection with any journalist, colleague, or consumer he met, which was a draw for many. His booming voice makes any story interesting, [and] he had many to tell as he shared Bourbon’s history and culture with the world. And it was through these tight-knit relationships that he was able to strengthen the integrity of our timeless craft and be a force for the category’s resurgence. Larry set the course for our award-winning whiskeys to thrive in the Bourbon Renaissance and laid the foundation for brands built on stories of authenticity and legacy.

“His sense of humor, intellectual curiosity, and candor are renowned throughout the industry,” Shapira continued. “His deep loyalty to Heaven Hill and the Shapira family left a distinctive mark in our history.”

Learn more about Larry Kass and his tenure at Heaven Hill.

Heaven Hill Distillery also dominated in what’s arguably the most popular event at the KBF, the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay. This beloved competition inspires men and women from competing distilleries to face off in a race against the clock, rolling 500 lb. Bourbon barrels around a 40-foot course, and swiftly assembling them into a mini rickhouse structure. This year, the Heaven Hill teams proudly swept the entire competition, taking home first place in all five categories, against teams from Barton 1792, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey, and more.

Men’s Team Competition:
1. Heaven Hill Distillery
2. Barton 1792 Distillery
3. Buffalo Trace Distillery

Women’s Team Competition:
1. Heaven Hill Distillery
2. Buffalo Trace Distillery

Women’s Individual Competition:
1. Ashley Cundiff, Heaven Hill Distillery
2. Brandi Daniels, Heaven Hill Distillery
3. Beckie Woolums, Jim Beam Distillery

Men’s Individual Competition:
1. Robbie Mattingly, Heaven Hill Distillery
2. Brad Goodlett, Buffalo Trace Distillery
3. Cody Bowen, Buffalo Trace Distillery

Single Barrel Roll-Off Winners:
• Robbie Mattingly, Heaven Hill Distillery
• Ashley Cundiff, Heaven Hill Distillery

On Friday night, Heaven Hill was proud to sponsor the elegant Bourbon, Cigars, & Jazz, inviting Bourbon aficionados to revel in a night of sipping select Heaven Hill Bourbons paired with fine cigars. A VIP event kicked off the evening, including a panel discussion with Heaven Hill President Max Shapira and Whiskey Ambassador, Bernie Lubbers. On Saturday, Heaven Hill was one of several sponsors of the Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting & Cocktail Party, which found guests sampling Bourbons and engaging in conversation with Master Distillers from across the industry.

Congratulations to Larry Kass, and to our hard-working Barrel Relay teams on their well-earned honors. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is an amazing event celebrating our heritage and culture, and we’re proud to have participated with incredible events, awards, and sharing our portfolio of award-winning Kentucky Bourbon with some of its most dedicated fans.



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