Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., a global leader in premium spirits and a unit of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO) hosted the first Great Whisk(e)y Debate ever held in Scotland. The April 16th debate was hosted for the World Whiskies attendees to exuberantly discuss the history, heritage, qualities and tasting notes of Bourbon whiskey and Scotch whisky.

Bourbon was vigorously defended by Fred Noe, the great grandson of the legendary distiller Jim Beam and seventh generation distiller from the famous Bourbon family, while Scotch whisky was championed by Richard Paterson, third generation master blender of the Dalmore Scotch Whisky distillery and one of the world's leading authorities on Scotch whisky. Moderated by Jim Kokoris, former president of the Kentucky Bourbon Circle and long time friend of all whiskeys, the Great Whisk(e)y Debate sparked strong opinions among the hundreds of spectators.

Beam Global CEO Tom Flocco personally weighed in on this topic yesterday during his keynote speech at the 2008 World Whiskies Conference, offering to set the record straight about one of the world's most loved and misunderstood whiskeys - Bourbon, which was declared "America's Native Spirit" by the U.S. Congress in 1964. "Kentucky produces 95% of the world's bourbon; almost two-thirds of it comes from us," said Flocco. He reminded the audience "that loving one is not cheating on the other. In this industry, you really can serve two masters."

In fact, Beam Global does lovingly serve both masters by manufacturing and marketing both Scotch whiskies and Bourbons, including:

  • Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Characterized by the pungent, earthy aroma of the blue Islay peat smoke, Laphroaig Single Islay Malt Scotch has delighted palates for more than 200 years. Laphroaig has drawn on traditions once used in the 1800s to expand its award-winning portfolio of Scotch to feature Laphroaig Quarter Cask, a smoky Scotch with a gentle sweetness.

  • Teacher's Blended Scotch Whisky - is No. 49 on the list of top 100 premium spirits. With a complex yet smooth character and an exceptionally high malt content, guaranteed at 45 percent - amongst the highest proportion of any blend, Teacher's achieved double-digit net revenue growth driven by emerging markets such as India, Brazil and global travel retail.

  • Ardmore Scotch Whisky - Formerly produced as a "fingerprint malt" for the internationally renown Teacher's Highland Cream Blended Scotch whisky, Ardmore Traditional Cask was released in the United Kingdom and Duty Free markets in the fall of 2007 and entered the U.S. in March 2008 as the first ever widely available single malt whisky from the Ardmore distillery. The launch of Ardmore has been well-received among consumers and distributors alike, winning a Gold medal from the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Due to international demand for Ardmore Traditional Cask, the Ardmore distillery is now operating at record production levels.

  • Jim Beam Bourbon - First made in 1795, our flagship brand, Jim Beam, is the world's #1 selling Bourbon. The 11 millionth barrel of Jim Beam was filled at the beginning of this year - which equates to 311 million cases and fills over 3.7 billion bottles or 74 billion drinks.

  • The grandson of Jim Beam, the late Booker Noe, created the Small Batch Bourbon Collection - the first ultra-premium Bourbon collection. The four whiskeys - Booker's, Baker's, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden's feature Booker Noe's hand-crafted recipes, higher proofs and a little extra aging.

    • Booker's Bourbon is the only uncut, unfiltered, straight-from-the-barrel Bourbon available in the world. Aged six to eight years it is bottled at 125 proof or 63.5% alcohol by vol. Once matured it is hand-picked from the rack house by Fred Noe, Booker's son and Jim Beam's great-grandson.

    • Basil Hayden's Bourbon is aged eight years at a relatively mild 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume. Made with twice as much rye as traditional Bourbons, Basil Hayden's combines a spicy aroma and clean finish that is equally enjoyable straight or as the base of contemporary cocktail. Basil Hayden's is the category's first lifestyle brand and a luxury spirit for those who appreciate its unsurpassed sense of style and sophistication.

    • Aged nine years at a sophisticated 100 proof or 50% alcohol by volume, Knob Creek Bourbon is named after the small town in Kentucky where President Abraham Lincoln was born. In fact, the intriguing taste of Knob and unique flask shaped packaging has driven this brand to become the #1 Ultra-Premium Bourbon in the world.

    • Named after Baker Beam, Jim Beam's grandnephew, Baker's Bourbon is aged seven years and is a very sophisticated 107 proof or 65% alcohol by volume. This whiskey was honored by Whisky Magazine with the coveted award for "Best Whiskey in the World" in 2007.

      The Small Batch Bourbon Collection is credited with driving growth in the Bourbon category at the high-end. Today, these ultra-premium Bourbons continue to grow at a faster pace than premium Bourbons.

  • Maker's Mark Bourbon was the first distillery to capture the possibilities of a super-premium Bourbon and gave rise to the modern era of Bourbon. At the oldest operating distillery in Kentucky, Maker's Mark has expanded its global presence significantly in just two years to become the world's fastest growing super premium Bourbon.

Flocco continued, "We house the world's finest portfolio of Bourbon and Scotch whisky - each with distinct taste profiles that appeal to different consumers and occasions. 2007 was a record year for us when we increased global volume and we yielded greater profits based on the strength of our brand equity and category relevance. This is a win-win for us and for our distributor and retail partners who also reap the benefit from worldwide consumer interest in whiskeys. We will continue to host Great Whisk(e)y Debates around the world as consumers discover and discuss the finer qualities of all whiskeys."

"We will also continue to increase brand investment on these core brands as we execute against our vision of Building Brands People Want to Talk About in 2008," said Mr. Flocco. "We fully expect the new brand positioning campaigns launched in 2007 and early this year to give consumers around the world plenty to talk about, and we are looking at other brand building opportunities that will continue to deliver results for our premium spirits."