The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is celebrating its one-year anniversary Nov. 15 with a week of celebratory events and the release of a commemorative Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is a multi-million dollar artisanal distillery, immersive tourism experience and retail store celebrating the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first commercial distiller and namesake of Heaven Hill Distilleries’ flagship Bourbon brand. As Louisville’s first stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience drew 70,000 visitors this year from around the globe.
“The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is an incredible pioneer in Louisville’s ever-expanding bourbon and spirits tourism presence,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Thanks to Heaven Hill for blazing a trail and giving so many visitors a tremendous experience with our city’s native spirit, history and heritage.”
Anniversary festivities kick off 10:30-11:00 a.m., Mon., Nov. 10, when Mayor Fischer, company executives and other dignitaries will be on hand to unveil an official Evan Williams historical marker across the street from the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, 528 W. Main St. Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill, America’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits company, will sign bottles from 3-5:30 p.m. and there will be a Downtown Neighborhood Celebration from 2:30-5 p.m. in the Retail Store.
A special 2005 Vintage Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon may be purchased exclusively at the Bourbon Experience starting Nov. 10 as well. There are only 420 bottles available, poured from two hand-selected barrels. The bourbon is 100 proof, as opposed to the standard 86.6 proof in other Evan Williams Single Barrel bottles. The bottles are dipped in copper wax and feature a unique “Evan Williams Bourbon Experience First Anniversary” label and sell for $99.99 each.
Throughout the week, the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience will offer buy one, get $1 tours, a free, logoed nosing glass for every guest and door prizes each day. Tastings of rare Evan Williams 23-Year-Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey will be on tours Tues., Nov. 11, and Artisanal Distiller Charlie Downs will treat visitors to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience’s ‘new make,’ fresh off the still on ‘White Dog Wednesday,’ Nov. 12.
On Thurs., Nov. 13, Heaven Hill Brand Ambassador Bernie Lubbers, fondly renowned as “the Whiskey Professor,” will lead tours in the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience’s Speakeasy, a 1920s inspired bar that transports guests back to the last days of Prohibition. On Friday, guests will enjoy refreshments, bourbon cupcakes and Heaven Hill Master Distiller Craig Beam and Evan Williams Bourbon Experience Artisanal Distiller Charlie Downs will sign bottles 4–6 p.m. Lastly, Downs will sign bottles noon-2 p.m., Sat., Nov. 15, as guests enjoy refreshments.
“We’re extremely proud of the experiences we’ve offered to our guests this year at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience,” said Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira said. “Through the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, people from near and far have come to know just how integral our area has always been to the growth and development of the Bourbon industry. It all started here with real-life legends, like Evan Williams, Louisville’s first commercial distiller and wharf-master. We give guests a taste of that tradition and how it lives on today.”
The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience offers guests guided, immersive tours where they are brought back in time to see Evan Williams’ original distillery, Louisville wharf scenes and historic Whiskey Row. A dioramic video wall display allows guests to see how Heaven Hill’s modern Bernheim Distillery operates and how it differs from distilleries in Evan Williams’ era.
The building features a five-story-high Evan Williams Bourbon bottle façade and indoor Bourbon fountain installation as signature architectural features. Guests of legal drinking age may enjoy educational tastings of premium Bourbons in two themed tasting rooms and a large retail area offers a wide range of Evan Williams branded merchandise, specialty food products and a number of Heaven Hill premium Bourbons and American Whiskeys for sale.