Three years ago, however, she received an offer she couldn’t refuse.
The Michter’s bourbon brand, which traces its roots back to 1753, had been revived by Magliocco and his consultant Richard “Dick” Newman. They wanted to make the best bourbon and whiskey possible, cost be damned, and they relocated its home base to Louisville from Pennsylvania. Quality was to be first and foremost, and that appealed to Heilmann when she first met with Magliocco and Pratt.
“We do a lot of things here to make sure we make a quality product. That was the one reason I joined Michter’s — I read the cost-be-damned thing and all of that, and when I sat down with Joe and Willie, they reiterated: ‘Whatever we need to make a quality product, and you know we need it, we’ll get that. Whatever it is,’” says Heilmann. “Joe proved it time and time again to me. There were things I suggested we needed for the distillation process that we needed to do this way. It’s going to cost more money, but we need to do this. And it was, ‘OK, if that’s what we need, we do it.’”
The 67,000-square-foot distillery in Shively is pristine, nearly spotless for a working distillery. The towering 46-foot-tall copper still shines from top to bottom, the rick houses are orderly and practically dust free, the bottling room is clean and sanitary.