To the Bardstown community:

Heaven Hill has been a part of this community since 1935. Together, we’ve grown. Together, we’ve built a company that supports generations of community members that do great things for our company and for this community. And, together, we’ve supported local businesses by welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors into the heart of Bourbon country at Heaven Hill. 

The past 86 years haven’t come without its challenges. From recessions and production challenges in times of war, to a fire and pandemic, we have endured together with the nimble spirit that has defined our company. In times of challenge, we move forward together with a vision for continued growth and success for all our team members and the community at large.

After several weeks of collaborative discussions with the UFCW negotiating team, Heaven Hill is pleased to have a new, five-year contract in place with members of United Food And Commercial Workers 23D, and to welcome our team members back to work. This website serves as an informational resource on the negotiation process.

Our employees have long been a source of pride, and it will always be our goal to be an industry-leading employer and supportive corporate partner to the Bardstown community.

The latest on negotiations…

Heaven Hill negotiated in good faith for several weeks toward ratification of an industry-leading employment contract. 

While there was much discussion in the public and the media, throughout the negotiation process Heaven Hill proposed a highly competitive compensation package. To ensure the facts are clear in regard to Heaven Hill’s offer to union members, the highlights of the contract follow:

The union contract offer includes:

  • Guaranteed wage increases in each of the next five years;
  • Maintaining the same robust health care plan we had in place for the past 10 years with the lowest employee healthcare contributions in the bourbon industry and benefits better than any plan administered by the provider in our region;
  • Removal of two-tiered wage scale and increasing wages of those affected; 
  • Reduction of mandatory overtime, while ensuring that employees who do work more than a 40-hour work week will earn overtime;
  • Increased flexibility in scheduling. The proposed shift to a non-traditional work week for select parts of our business (something other than Monday through Friday) would only apply to new employees or existing employees who choose to opt-in to a non-traditional schedule as we add shifts to reduce mandatory overtime. No employee would be forced to a non-traditional schedule. No employees will be mandated to a 7-day work week with 2 days off.
  • Most employees will receive one additional week of vacation;
  • Increasing the number of total paid holidays with addition of two paid holidays;
  • Increase in company-funded match to 401k investments.


  • October 23 – Union members ratify contract.
    • Heaven Hill statement: Heaven Hill is grateful to learn the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23-D ratified a new five-year contract with Heaven Hill. We look forward to welcoming our team members as we transition back to normal operations. The agreement continues Heaven Hill’s long-standing commitment to its team members with industry-leading health care, wage growth and increased schedule flexibility.
  • October 22 – Tentative agreement reached. 
    • Heaven Hill statement: Heaven Hill and UFCW 23D have reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract, with the full recommendation of the UFCW negotiating committee. The agreement continues Heaven Hill’s long-standing commitment to its team members with industry-leading health care, wage growth and increased schedule flexibility. UFCW members will vote on the contract on Saturday, October 23.
  • October 18 – Negotiations reach an impasse and Heaven Hill initiates process to hire replacement workers.
    • Heaven Hill statement: “We’ve heard from our employees in the community that they are in favor of the proposed contract terms and eager to return to work,” said Max L. Shapira, President, Heaven Hill. “Given the long-standing and positive working relationship Heaven Hill has with its employees, it is disappointing we were unable to reach an agreement with Union leadership.”
    • The company has successfully collaborated with the UFCW for decades and it is unfortunate that another collective bargaining agreement could not be ratified. Heaven Hill believes the failure to ratify an industry leading contract is in part related to the mischaracterization of the terms of our proposed contract by union leadership with their membership and the media. 
  • October 12 – Heaven Hill President Max Shapira sends letter to all employees clarifying misrepresentations of the contract made by union leadership. See the letter here.
  • October 5 & 7 – Negotiations Continued
  • September 30 – Heaven Hill President Max Shapira reaches out to each employee with a personal letter outlining the details of the company contract offer. See the letter here.
  • September 27 – Negotiations Resume
    • Heaven Hill Statement on Resuming Negotiations: On Monday, September 27, Heaven Hill officials and representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers 23D are returning to the negotiating table. The company is prepared to reconvene with union leadership to work toward the ratification of a quality workforce package. Our employees are a source of pride and we have consistently collaborated over the years with all of our labor unions. It is our priority to provide competitive compensation and benefit packages and we look forward to discussing this in more detail with union leadership.
  • September 11 – Heaven Hill Statement on Work Stoppage
    • The membership of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23-D failed to ratify a new five-year contract with Heaven Hill. Since the company was founded, the support of our employees has been a source of pride and we have had productive conversations with the union for several months now regarding components of the contract. We will continue to collaborate with UFCW leadership toward passage of this top-of-class workforce package.
  • September 10 – The contracts between the UFCW Local 23-D and Heaven Hill covering represented workers at the Bardstown, Ky. bottling, warehouse, and operations sites expired at 11:59 pm local time.
  • July 26 – Negotiations Begin