Jim Beam Whiskey

The Jim Beam Process of Perfection Jim Beam is a bourbon of great finesse and subtle nuance, neither light nor heavy,
but rather a mellow "baritone" of a spirit. It is distinctive not because it is different,
but because it is perfect.

An American Legend For more than 200 years, the Beam family has been in the business of making the
world's best-selling bourbon. Of all the families who claim more than one generation of whiskey makers, none
has been as prominent as the Beam family. To get some sense of how ubiquitous
this one family has been in the American whiskey industry, imagine if every state
government had at least one high-ranking official named Kennedy, or if every new
movie starred at least one Barrymore. Generations of Beams have been involved with the Jim Beam Brands Company, of
course, but virtually every other current distillery has had Beams on its payroll at one
time. Heaven Hill, for example, has never had a distiller who was not named Beam. In 1788, the same year that the Constitution of the United States was ratified and
took effect, Jacob Beam, the great grandfather of the legendary Jim Beam, decided
to go west to seek a better life. He loaded up all of his belongings, strapped his
copper still to the back of his second-hand wagon and traveled west, settling in
Kentucky shortly before it was admitted to the Union as the 15th state in 1792. A farmer but also a miller by trade, Jacob built a water-driven mill where he would
grind people's corn for a percentage of their crop. Extra grain was difficult to store in
those days, and even tougher to get to market. Beam knew that whiskey provided
the safest and most economical way to use surplus corn. It wasn't subject to
mildew, was easy to transport and was considered even more valuable than
unstable Continental currency. Using his own still, Jacob began to produce an amber-colored whiskey made from a
fermented mash of corn, rye and malt. The product -- which used more corn than
any other ingredient -- was called bourbon, after Kentucky's Bourbon County. Beam
sold his first barrel of bourbon in 1795. Jacob passed the family bourbon-making traditions on to his son, David, in 1820.
During David's tenure as Master Distiller, the nation was embarking on the industrial
age. As the discovery of California gold brought hundreds of Americans west, new
immigrants were pouring into America in search of freedom and fortune. The opening
of the Erie Canal in 1825 and navigation on the Mississippi made the shipping of
goods, like bourbon, easier and more accessible than ever. David M. Beam, son of David and grandson of Jacob, took over the distillery and the
family's bourbon-making secrets in 1850, a few years before the Civil War began.
Soon after his father died in 1854, David moved the distillery to Nelson County, KY,
closer to the state's first railroad. He called his new home the Clear Spring Distillery,
after the clear, spring water found in a nearby river. David M. brought his son, the legendary James "Jim" Beauregard Beam, into the
business when he was 16. David taught him the same skills and knowledge of
bourbon making that his father handed down to him. Jim took over the family
distillery in 1894 at the age of 30, and for the next 52 years, continued to oversee
the distillation process. Jim Beam's company continued to grow and prosper during the early 1900s until it
was forced to shut down during Prohibition in 1919. During the 14 years of
Prohibition, Beam sold all of his liquor holdings to take up citrus growing in Florida,
then coal mining and running a limestone quarry. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the 70-year-old Jim Beam returned to
distilling and incorporated The James B. Beam Distilling Co., in Clermont, KY, on
August 14, 1934. Eleven years later, in 1946, Jim Beam's son, T. Jeremiah Beam,
became President and Treasurer of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. Jim Beam
died one year later at the age of 83. Jeremiah saw that his sister's son, F. Booker Noe, Jr., had the family passion and
talent for bourbon making. Jeremiah brought his nephew into the family distillery
when he was 21. At Jeremiah's side, Booker learned the family bourbon-making
traditions and secrets. Under Booker's watchful eye, the Jim Beam distillery still uses the same vintage
yeast strain created by Jim Beam in 1934. Today, as Jim Beam Bourbon celebrates
203 years of family history, Booker serves as master distiller emeritus of Jim Beam