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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Jim Beam Bourbon and Whiskey Distillery

Jim Beam Inc


Distilleries at Boston and Clermont

Makers Mark at Loretto


In October 2011 Jim Beam became a stand-alone public spirits company.


Not limiting itself to the American Whiskey Industry the whiskey portfolio includes Canadian, Irish,  Scottish and Spanish Whiskies  


The company also crafts and markets dozens of the world’s top premium spirits brands in all categories. This company-wide focus on innovation in both product and marketing, has lead to Beam Inc to become the fourth largest premium spirits company in the world and the largest U.S.-based spirits company.


The Beam / Noe family that founded the business are still heavily involved in the company.


Jim Beam History


In the late 18th Century, the Beam (Boehm)  family who originated from Germany, farmer and miller Jacob Beam travelled west into Kentucky, subsequently setting up a corn mill and small-scale distillery. Around 1795 Jacob Beam sells his first barrel of whiskey which laid the foundation for Jim Beam® bourbon.


1840 T.W. Samuels builds the family’s first commercial distillery in Samuels Depot, Kentucky. (origin of the Samuels Distilling Dynasty and Makers Mark)


David M. Beam in 1854 moves the business and establishes the Clear Spring distillery in Nelson County to capitalize on the growing network of railroad lines connecting to the other states.


1919 The hardships of Prohibition – which led the family to try growing citrus, coal mining and even running a lime quarry. After repeal in 1933, however, the Beam family quickly returned to producing bourbon.


1934 at aged 70  James Beauregard  Beam, or “Jim” – the namesake behind Jim Beam® bourbon – personally rebuilt the family’s distillery at Clermont in just 120 days and establishes the James B. Beam Distilling Co.


The James B. Beam Distilling Company was founded in 1935 by Jeremiah Beam, Harry L. Homel, Oliver Jacobson and H. Blum  From now on  the bourbon was called "Jim Beam Bourbon" after James Beauregard Beam, and some of the bottle labels started to carry the statement, "None Genuine Without My Signature" with the signature James B. Beam


1943 Bill Samuels, Sr. leaves the T.W. Samuels Distillery, burns the 170-year old family recipe and eventually develops a different style of bourbon made with winter wheat rather than the traditional rye. This whisky becomes Maker’s Mark® bourbon.


1945 Chicago spirits merchant Harry Blum buys the James B. Beam Distilling Co.


1952 Margie, wife of Bill Samuels, Sr., creates the signature Maker’s Mark bottle and wax seal.


Jeremiah Beam opened a second distillery near Boston, Kentucky, in 1954.


1968 American Brands Company (predecessor company of Fortune Brands, Inc.) purchases the James B. Beam Distilling Co.


1975 Bill Samuels, Jr. becomes President and CEO of Maker’s Mark.


1987 James B. Beam Distilling Co. purchases National Distillers acquiring brands including Old Crow, Bourbon de Luxe, Old Taylor, Old Grand-Dad, and Sunny Brook.


Old Taylor was subsequently sold to the Sazerac Company.


1992 Booker Noe introduced his own signature bourbon, Booker’s® Bourbon, followed by Knob Creek®, Basil Hayden’s®, and Baker’s® these became known as Small Batch Bourbon Collection® . With the launch of thisrange  Booker had single-handedly created the Super Premium Bourbon category, the fastest growing category in the bourbon segment today.


2005 Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc., purchases more than 20 former Allied Domecq spirits and wine brands This adds Laphroig and Makers Mark to the company.


2005 Frederick Booker Noe III, the great-grandson of Jim Beam, filled the 10 millionth barrel of Jim Beam, keeping the tradition of Jacob Beam alive for the next generation of bourbon drinkers.


2006 Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. renames itself Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. to reflect its global position in the marketplace and expanded portfolio of brands.


2008 The company establishes a dedicated Beam-owned U.S. sales force, and Canadian Club® celebrates its 150th year anniversary. The portfolio expands with the addition of Ardmore® Traditional Cask, and the Teachers Blended Whisky


2009 Red Stag by Jim Beam®, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey infused with natural black cherry flavor, is launched.


2010 Maker’s Mark® introduces its first innovation in the brand’s history, Maker’s 46™.The Clermont, Ky., Jim Beam plant celebrates 75 years in operation following the end of Prohibition.


2011 Beam Global Spirits & Wine changes its name to Beam Inc., separates from Fortune Brands and becomes a stand-alone public company (NYSE: BEAM)


2012 Beam acquires Cooley Distillery, the industry’s only remaining Independent Irish whiskey distillery, and enters one of the spirits industry’s fastest-growing categories, Irish Whiskey.


Several varieties bearing the Jim Beam name are available.


Straight Bourbon whiskey

Jim Beam Original (white label) – Aged 4 years, 80 proof

Jim Beam Choice (green label) – Aged 5 years, 80 proof, charcoal filtered

Jim Beam Seven Year (white label, red cap) – 7 years, 80 proof

Jim Beam Black (black label) – Aged 8 years, 86 proof

Jim Beam Devil's Cut – 90 proof; uses extracted bourbon reclaimed from the walls of the cask after pouring, mixed with 6-year-old Beam bourbon


Straight rye whiskey

Jim Beam Rye (yellow label) – Rye whiskey, aged 4 years, 80 proof


Blended whiskey

Beam's Eight Star (gold label) – 80 proof, 75% neutral spirits

Several of these offerings have performed quite well at international spirit ratings competitions. For example, Jim Beam's Black label was awarded a gold medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


The Jim Beam company also produces a "Small Batch Bourbon Collection":

Booker's: aged 7 years, 120–129.2 proof (60–64.60% ABV)

Baker's: aged 7 years, 107 proof (53.5% ABV)

Basil Hayden's: aged 6 and 8 years, 80 proof (40% ABV); uses the Old Grand-Dad "high-rye" mash bill.

Knob Creek: aged 9 years, 100 proof (50% ABV), with a 9 year, 120 proof (60% ABV) single barrel expression.


Other bourbon brands associated with Jim Beam through ownership by Beam, Inc:

Old Crow

Old Grand-Dad

Maker's Mark


Infused Whiskey

Red Stag by Jim Beam cherry-flavoured bourbon liqueur

Black Cherry (white label)

Honey Tea (yellow label)

Spiced (red label)

Baker's Boubon Booker's Boubon Basil Hayden Knob Creek Makers Mark Bourbon Jim Beam Whiskey

Jim Beam American Stillhouse Visitor Centre

526 Happy Hollow Road

Clermont, KY 40110

Please contact the Distillery to confirm before Travelling

(502) 543-2221


Monday – Saturday – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM EST.


Guided Tours every half hour starting at 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.  No Tour at 12:30 p.m.


Sunday – Noon until 4:30 PM EST.


Guided Tours every half hour starting at 12:30 p.m. until 3 p.m.


Offers bourbon tastings and sales daily. Must be 21+ to participate.


Closed on Sundays in January and February, as well as New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.