America’s largest family-owned and operated distilled spirits producer, Heaven Hill Brands, based in Louisville, Kentucky, has grown beyond its traditional roots as a Bourbon distiller to become the country’s seventh largest overall distilled spirits producer with a portfolio of innovative and relative products. Commitment to excellence… focus on customers… ongoing improvement… ingenuity and resourcefulness… treating others with dignity and respect… nimbly adapting to new developments.

These are values that help an organization perform at its best and endure. They have guided Heaven Hill Distilleries throughout its 80-year history and have ensured its success.

America’s largest family-owned and operated distilled spirits producer, Heaven Hill Brands, based in Louisville, Kentucky, has grown beyond its traditional roots as a Bourbon distiller to become the country’s seventh largest overall distilled spirits producer with a portfolio of innovative and relative products.

Since Heaven Hill was founded in 1935, the Shapira family has been at the helm. Heaven Hill has always taken great pride in being family run. With its third generation of family management in place, the company’s unique position in the industry is assured well into the future.

Andy Shapira, member of that third generation, is committed to upholding Heaven Hill’s lauded excellence in the industry. He is also committed to ensuring that Heaven Hill does its part to enhance quality and enjoyment of life through philanthropic support.

Shapira and his family have exercised their profound belief in “giving back” by supporting the Myeloma Institute and its cutting-edge research.  Here’s why…    γ

distill (us) verb
or chiefly British distil /di’ stil/
to take the most important parts of something and put them in a different and usually improved form; to extract the essence of.

-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In 2013, Shapira visited his local emergency department with a bout of food poisoning. A CT scan of his gut revealed abnormal spots on his bones, and blood work indicated myeloma – certainly not what he expected from a hospital encounter triggered by eating bad food. With the mindset of a thorough businessman, Shapira researched his options and was intrigued by the depth of research and clinical excellence of the myeloma program at UAMS. His Louisville oncologist confirmed the wisdom of his choice.

After his first visit with Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., at the Myeloma Institute, Shapira knew he was at a center that shared the values so fundamental to Heaven Hill. Surrounded by compassionate experts, he was confident he was at the right place. Based on the nuances of his disease, he underwent two stem cell transplants as part of his personalized care plan.

“The outcome was great, although I have to admit the treatment was difficult. But, that’s why I came to UAMS. I was young and wanted aggressive treatment,” he said.

Shapira had three young daughters at the time – the twins are now 11 and the youngest is 7 – and he was determined to fight hard to knock out the myeloma. His wife did solo parent duty at home with the girls while his mother, Ellen, took on the caregiver role in Little Rock.
Shapira and his mother found a lot of silver linings while in Little Rock. It was an easy place to set up a home away from home and work remotely. In fact, they had numerous Heaven Hill business connections here, all of whom were eager to help if needed. They readily bonded with other patients and caregivers, including some from the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico.

“There is a real connection here, even with the people who clean the infusion unit floor. Everyone knows what you are going through,” he said. 

The best silver lining of all: Andy continues to be in sustained, complete remission. “I was so fortunate that I had the resources to go to Little Rock for treatment. It’s important to go where you can get the best treatment, if possible.”

In the spirit of giving back and with the goal of doing their part to ensure continued excellence for other patients, Shapira and his mother chose to make a meaningful donation to the Myeloma Institute. “UAMS is leading the charge with new treatment options, and we want to help,” he said.

“We are making steady progress in our research on harnessing the immune system to fight off myeloma,” said van Rhee. “This exciting research has tremendous potential for improving patient outcomes. Support from the Shapira family helps make this possible.”

The family’s commitment to ongoing improvement and ingenuity guides their investment in programs of excellence that are making a difference. The Myeloma Institute is exceedingly grateful to the Shapira Family for its strong vote of confidence.