Heaven Hill Distillery Announces BIG Leadership Change

Heaven Hill Distillery: Max Shira, Kate Latts, Allan Latts
L to R: Kate Latts, Max Shapira (m), Allan Latts


(BARDSTOWN, KY) Max Shapira is a well known name in the Bourbon industry, for good reason. He has been in the leadership role of the family owned/operated Heaven Hill Distillery (HH) since taking the reigns after his father Ed’s passing in 1986, acquiring the official “President” title a decade later.  The company was built on family bedrock, co-founded in 1935 by his father, Ed Shapira, and his four brothers and has since grown to become the largest family owned/run distillery in the US, presently.

Max officially started with HH in 1970 following a 5 year run on Wall Street with J.P. Morgan.  Predating this, Max got his undergraduate from Washington and Lee University and his MBA from Harvard.


The time has finally come for a changing of the guard.  On Sept 1st, Max Shapira will officially pass the presidential torch to his daughter, Kate Latts, and her husband Allan, as they will be acting co-presidents of Heaven Hill Distillery, thus creating third generation operating/ownership.  

Since joining the company in 2001, Kate and Allan have been transformational leaders driving Heaven Hill’s accelerated growth. In their new roles as co-presidents, they will continue to pursue Heaven Hill’s strategic growth plans and corporate vision working collaboratively on all key decisions.  Max will transition the day to day operational oversight of the business to Kate and Allan.

“Over the past twenty years, I have been proud to watch Kate and Allan grow and develop into roles of leadership and increased responsibility,” said Max L. Shapira. “They have added immeasurably to the company’s successes and built a foundation for future generations. They bring the passion for this business that has been a hallmark of our company for 85 plus years. I am highly confident the best is yet to come.”

After completing their undergraduate and MBA degrees at Duke University, Kate and Allan then joined Procter & Gamble with careers in marketing and finance, respectively. Today, Kate leads the company’s marketing and brand management functions as Chief Marketing Officer.  Allan serves as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing operations, the company’s corporate functions, strategy and the newly acquired Samson & Surrey division.

“Allan and I are proud to assume the leadership of Heaven Hill with full knowledge of our generational responsibility. My dad, grandfather and his brothers built a company with an enduring legacy of family and independence that is increasingly unique in distilled spirits,” said Kate Latts. “With the support of our incredible team, we are as committed as ever to preserving those qualities and ensuring our success for generations to come.”

In his transition, Max will begin his new role as Executive Chairman, providing partnership and counsel on the strategic direction of the business as well as actively leverage his extensive relationships and industry experience in support of the company’s long-term growth goals.

Heaven Hill will immediately begin its search to identify a new Chief Marketing Officer, while the Chief Operating Officer position will not be backfilled.

Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Larceny, and Henry McKenna Bourbons; Rittenhouse Rye Whisky; Deep Eddy Vodka; Admiral Nelson’s Rum; Black Velvet Canadian Whisky; Lunazul Tequila; HPNOTIQ Liqueur; Carolans Irish Cream Liqueur, plus the newly-acquired Samson & Surrey portfolio.