October 29, 2019
How Heaven Hill’s 2019 Team
Prepared for Victory
Each day, Heaven Hill Distillery pulls more than 1,000 whiskey barrels that have met peak maturity and transports them to our Bardstown headquarters to be readied for bottling. In their place, newly-filled barrels are brought in and, at least in those particular locations, the aging process begins anew.
Every single barrel is rolled off the truck and into the rickhouse by human hands — strong, skilled workers who have mastered the techniques of moving these 500+ lb. charred oak vessels and properly positioning them to undergo the passage of time.
The annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, held each September in Bardstown, pays homage to these rickhouse workers in the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay. In this good-humored competition, teams from different distilleries go head-to-head in a timed challenge that showcases the same techniques used in the rickhouse…“but just way faster,” as team member Robbie Mattingly jokingly puts it.
At the 2019 Barrel Relay, held on September 21st, our Heaven Hill Distillery teams made quite a showing for themselves, sweeping the entire competition and bringing home the first-place trophy in every category.
In the week leading up to the event, we spent a few hours with the team as they practiced and prepared for the competition they would eventually dominate. Watch the video above to learn more about this beloved tradition, and hear more about the pride it brings our team and our distillery.