393 – Forecasting Bourbon’s Future with Susan Wahl of Heaven Hill

If you think there is a lot of bourbon on the shelf now, wait just a few more years. The news over the past year has been flooded with a couple million upwards to a billion dollars in capital investments from everyone in the bourbon industry. When the news dropped that Heaven Hill was going to open a new $135M distillery that will produce 150,000 barrels a year, in addition to their existing Bernheim distillery that already produces 1,500 a day, many of us scratched our heads and thought, “who is going to drink all this whiskey?”. That’s when I reached out to Heaven Hill and invited Susan Wahl to come on the show. She has a long, 20 plus year history working in the whiskey portfolio at Heaven Hill. She’s literally seen it all. We talk about what drove the decision to build a second distillery, the threats, and how they are planning for everything in the supply chain, including barrels and labor. We also talk about data trends and where they see the international market heading.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks when barrel proof became common.
  • What were your whiskey initiatives and marketing plan for bourbon in the early days?
  • How did you take Evan Williams into one of the largest whiskey brands?
  • What trends or data have you learned from the visitor center?
  • What factors did you take into account when thinking that you need another $135M distillery that can produce 150k barrels a year?
  • How much of your sales is domestic vs international?
  • What threats did you see about potentially not building another distillery?
  • Did the removal of European tariffs have an impact on your forecast?
  • Did barrels or other supply chain factors play an important role in your forecast?
  • What data helps you push pass the fears of a 20-year lifecycle on trends?
  • How have you worked with the city to build new warehouses?
  • Does Bardstown have the workforce to take care of the labor requirements?
  • What makes you bullish about tourism for bourbon?
  • @heavenhilldistillery
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *