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Kentucky is back open, with new experiences for visitors

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 18:02:35-04

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — June 14 marks National Bourbon Day, and to mark the occasion, one of the most popular stops on the Bourbon Trail unveiled a new multi-million upgrade to its visitor experience.

On hand for Monday morning's celebration at Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience was Governor Andy Beshear.

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Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience officially opens Tuesday, June 15.

After more than a year of COVID briefings and pandemic-related restrictions, the governor joined a packed crowd, indoors, to celebrate a new chapter: welcoming the world to Kentucky.

"Kentucky is fully open and we're excited," said Gov. Beshear.

Kentucky's signature spirit is certainly a big economic driver and just one reason why people from around the world visit our state every year.

Beshear stood next to Heaven Hill Distillery President Max Shapira as he delivered remarks to celebrate another reason for people to come back to the Bluegrass.

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Gov. Beshear and Heaven Hill Distillery's president, Max Shapira, hold up a proclamation declaring June 14 National Kentucky Bourbon Day.

"Visitors to distilleries spend between $400-1200 on average during a single trip through Bourbon Country," said Beshear. "This state-of-the-art visitor center is going to give people one more great reason to visit Kentucky."

The new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience is part of a $125 million investment. It will lead to more bourbon, more jobs, and more money poured into the state.

"Yes, we are bullish on bourbon. Yes, we are bullish on bourbon," said Shapira.

Inside the 30,000-plus square foot facility, you'll see interactive exhibits, a new restaurant and bar which leads out to a rooftop view, a theater, and a gallery commemorating the history of the distillery.

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There are many interactive exhibits in the new facility.

The center also details the Shapira family, who invested in the then-new distillery at the end of Prohibition and own it to this day.

"Our story was replicated many times and many industries throughout the land, but only in America could this happen, and we are proud to be a part of that history and heritage," said Shapira.

A history that continued on Monday as Beshear was the first to fill a bottle in the distillery's new "You Do Bourbon" experience. He, too, is bullish on Kentucky's signature spirit.

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"You Do Bourbon" experience is starting tours in July.

"On the cusp of a new era. Where opportunities as Kentuckians, I believe, will be greater than we've ever seen," said Beshear.