The Heaven Hills Brands Bernheim distillery is based in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
They make the popular Burnett’s Vodka. The distillery is rated as one of the largest family-owned independent distillers and producers of finished alcohol products in the USA.
Since 1971, and under the guiding hands of their President, Max Shapira, and his brother Harry, both second-generation family members, the company has seen steady growth.
With its foundations originally established as a producer of Whisky, the company has subsequently diversified its range substantially to include Liqueurs, Rum, Vodka, and numerous other spirit products.
As the owners of the well-known Burnett’s Vodka brand, Heaven Hills Brands currently produce over 35 flavors of Burnett’s Vodka alone.
Amongst others, their selection of Vodka flavors available includes Blue Raspberry, Blueberry, Apple, Cherry, Citrus, Coconut, Grape, Lime, Mango, Mango Pineapple, Orange, Cranberry, Fruit Punch, Peach, Pineapple, Raspberry, Red Berry, Ruby Red Grapefruit Pink Lemonade, Pomegranate, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana, Whipped Cream, Sweet Tea, Vanilla, and Watermelon.
All the Burnett’s Vodkas are produced from a grain ferment, then distilled using a quadruple distillation process, followed by a triple filtration process through active charcoal.
This production method ensures an exceptionally pure Vodka ready for consumption straight, flavored, or as a cocktail.
History of Burnett’s Vodka
As a tradition, Vodka making can be traced back over 600 years to Poland when the first mention of Vodka can be found. This was around 1405 in fact.
It is believed by some scholars that Vodka could have originated as early as the 8th Century AD but there seems to be little evidence to support the claim.
The first Heaven Hills distillery was established in Bardstown, Kentucky in 1935. This is just a few miles from its current facility.
It was established shortly after the prohibition was lifted. The prohibition, introduced by law in 1920, saw the banning of all production, transportation, and sale of any alcohol-based products in the USA. This iniquitous law was finally repealed in 1933.
Several investors, including Joseph L Beam (of Jim Beam Whiskey fame) and one of the Shapira family members, originally co-founded the company.
As the business expanded, five brothers of the Shapira family, one being Ed Shapira, father of Max, bought out the other investors.
Bearing in mind that this event took place at the height of the Great Depression it was a spectacularly brave step. At that time, the business had no known brands, no reserve stocks of Whisky or any alcohol, and was virtually unknown in the USA.
But, the business survived, and as the saying goes, “The rest is History”.
Through three generations, the Shapira family has been a steadying influence at the heart of the Heaven Hills Brands company.
It has grown to be the fourth-largest spirit manufacturer in the USA and is rated as the second-largest holder of maturing Bourbon Whiskey inventory in the world, with a holding stock exceeding 1.5 million barrels.
In 2014, the company changed its name to what is now Heaven Hill Brands and is into its third generation of family management, with Max Shapira’s son, Andy Shapira, Max’s daughter Kate S. Latts, and his son-in-law Allan Latts at the helm,
As an industry leader, Heaven Hill’s product range now includes the world’s second-largest selling Bourbon (Evan Williams Bourbon), alongside powerful brands such as Deep Eddy Vodka, Lunazul Tequila, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, Burnett’s Vodka, Black Velvet Canadian Whisky, Carolan’s Irish Cream, Admiral Nelson’s Rums, Christian Brothers Brandy, and more.
Burnett’s Vodka Price, variations, and sizes
Burnett’s Vodka is usually sold in 750 ml bottles with an alcohol content of 80 proof however a 100-proof version is also available. The flavored products have an alcohol content of 70 proof.
Approximate prices of the 100 proof products are:
|Burnett’s Vodka||75 Liter||100||$19.99|
|Burnett’s Vodka||750 ml||100||$10.99|
Approximate prices of the 80 proof products are:
|Burnett’s Vodka||750 ml||80||$7.99|
|Burnett’s Vodka||1 liters||80||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Vodka||75 liters||80||$13.99|
Approximate prices of some of the flavored 70 proof products are :
|Burnett’s Sweet Tea Vodka||750 ml||$8.79|
|Burnett’s Watermelon Vodka||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Vodka||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Vanilla Vodka||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Pineapple Vodka||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Citrus Vodka||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Raspberry Vodka||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Peach||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Pink Lemonade||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Whipped Cream||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Cherry||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Mango||750 ml||$8.99|
|Burnett’s Pear Vodka||1 L||$15.99|
|Burnett’s Coconut Vodka||1 L||$18.99|
|Burnett’s Grape Vodka||1 L||$19.9|
Burnets Vodka, Alternatives/Comparisons
Pinnacle Vodka, at 80 proof, is sold for around $12.99 per 750 ml bottle and has around 30 flavored as well as a few non-flavored options.
UV Vodka, with 25 flavor choices at 60 proof, has similar flavors to Burnett’s, including Cherry, Apple, and Grape. There are also some seriously specialist flavors such as Sriracha Chili. The UV range of flavored Vodkas sells for about $11.99 per 750ml bottle.
Denaka Vodka, at 80 proof, is a Vodka originating in Denmark and has a unique earthy flavor. It is used in cocktails but also offers its own variety of flavored vodkas.
These include orange, black cherry, and vanilla. It’s available for around $12 for a 750ml bottle.
Further options but way above Burnett’s price range, are:
|Absolut vodka||750 ml||$20.99|
|Fair Quinoa||750 ml||$32.99|
|Tito’s Handmade Vodka||750 ml||$20.99|
|Van Gogh||750 ml||$25.99|
How to drink Burnett’s Vodka
Vodka as an unflavoured distilled spirit with a relatively neutral taste can be drunk “straight” to elicit the most flavor possible. A popular method, but usually with a premium brand, is to drink it from a posh glass, at room temperature.
Mixed into a cocktail, Burnett’s Vodka is a barman’s dream from heaven, so here are some favorites :
The Legendary Bloody Mary
A good shot or two of Burnett’s Vodka onto Ice in a highball Glass
A squeeze of lemon juice
A dash or two of smoked Tabasco
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Top up with Tomato juice and garnish with mint
A good shot or two of Burnett,s Vodka onto Ice in a highball Glass
50 % grapefruit juice
50 % cranberry juice
Garnished with a slice of lemon or lime
The Screw Driver (also legendary)
A good shot or two of Burnett’s Vodka onto Ice in a highball Glass
Top up with orange juice
Garnished with a slice of Orange
Why is a 750 ml bottle of alcohol called “a fifth”?
This is because a “fifth” is approximately 1/5 of a US gallon
Does Vodka give you a hangover?
The simple answer is yes if you drink too much. But Vodka is rated as having the lowest “congeners” in alcohol. Congeners are the nasty things in alcohol, such as methanol, that give you hangovers.
The darker liquors, such as whiskey, brandy, red wine, and bourbon, result in more severe hangovers as they have a higher methanol content, a known “congener”, than the lighter-colored or clear spirits.
Price is also a factor, as the cheaper alcohols are never as well made as to the pricier ones and contain way more “congeners”. Cheap red wine is virtually a guaranteed hangover.
A correctly distilled Vodka is so pure that it contains virtually no congeners. Mixing your Vodka with a fruit juice is ideal but mixing it into sugary soft drinks should be avoided as the sugar will contribute to your headache.
Interesting Facts & Myths
There is a story that Burnett’s Gin was initially produced in England around 1770, more than 200 years ago. The story goes on to claim that the Gin was first produced by Sir Robert Burnett, Lord Mayor of London and that it is still distilled and produced according to the original recipe.
Whilst there was a titled gentleman of that name, in that time, in England, and he was in the distillery business, no evidence that he was Lord Mayor of London can be found. However, Heaven Hills do make a Gin and a Vodka, under the Burnett’s brand name.
The strength of an alcoholic product is generally termed “proof” in the USA, e.g., 80 proof. Elsewhere it is termed “ABV”, being Alcohol by Volume, which refers to the percentage of alcohol contained in the liquid. e.g., 43 % ABV. The conversion between proof and ABV is simple. Proof is double the ABV. Thus 43% ABV equals 86 proof
Bearing in mind that commercially available spirits such as Brandy whisky and Vodka generally hover around 43 % ABV (86 proof). Some Vodkas are absolutely vicious in their alcohol content, for example:
- Spirytus Rektyfikowany is the strongest commercially available alcoholic drink on the planet. This Polish product is delivered in the bottle at a mind-numbing 96 % ABV (192 proof)
- Pincer, hailing from Scotland comes in at a whopping 88.8 % ABV (177.6 proof)
- Balkan 176, originating from Scandinavia, is 88 % ABV (176 proof)
- Good Old Sailor, from Sweden, is at 85 % ABV ( 170 proof)
- Devil Springs, given all the above, comes in at a pedestrian 80 % ABV (160 proof)
Burnett’s Vodka at under US $ 9 per 750 ml bottle is a low-priced bottom drawer Vodka, that is not highly rated on the internet.
At its price, it has a place in the market but cannot compete with premium brands for smoothness and taste.