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The family dynasty lives on.

Seven generations, more than 200 years, countless challenges and one goal: to make the best bourbon in the world. This is the story of Jim Beam®. Explore how one family has been creating and living one of the world’s greatest legacies.

Fred Noe 1957 – Present.

Our current master distiller, known as the “Global Ambassador”, expanded Jim Beam® to new markets and upholds the family traditions as master distiller, storyteller and innovative Kentucky bourbon man.

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2005.

Frederick Booker Noe III, Jim Beam’s great-grandson, fills the ten-millionth barrel of Jim Beam® at the Clermont distillery. From humble beginnings, the recipe has stayed true to the original.

Filling the ten-millionth barrel: A milestone in the Jim Beam® history.

2007.

  • Frederick Booker Noe III is added to the Jim Beam® bottle label. The seventh generation of Beam family distillers, Fred grew up in the same Bardstown, Kentucky home as his great-grandfather Jim Beam. As with all the Beams, Fred learns the ropes by working every part of the bourbon making process—from a shift on the bottling line right down to protecting the secret recipe.
  • In September of 2007, Congress declared “National Bourbon Heritage Month” in celebration of America’s native spirit.

2009.

Fred Noe introduced Red Stag by Jim Beam® which pioneered the explosion of flavors innovation in the bourbon category.

Packshot Jim Beam® Red Stag.

2011.

Jim Beam introduces its newest specialty whiskey, Jim Beam® Devil’s Cut® — a slightly sinister bourbon made from the liquid that’s trapped within the wood of every barrel. Fred Noe and his team have developed a proprietary twist on an old technique: barrel-sweating with heat, water and agitation to extract the “Devil’s Cut.”  The result: a robust, premium bourbon with deep color, aroma and character.

Jim Beam® Devil’s Cut® is a devilishly good Bourbon with flavor unlocked from deep inside the barrel wood. Watch Fred describe its unique taste.

2012.

  • On October 3, 2012, Jim Beam® swings the doors open to a completely transformed and expanded visitors experience. The building itself, known as the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, is a replica of a 1940’s-era stillhouse. 
  • An ode to our past and future. Devil's Cut® and Jim Beam®Black both earn gold medals in the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Photo of the Jim Beam American Stillhouse.

2013.

  • Our inspired distillers take our iconic bourbon, infuse it with golden honey, and introduce Jim Beam® Honey to the world. The result is a smooth new taste that’s converting fans and causing mouths to water.
  • Next to that Jim Beam® is expanding its ultra premium whiskey selection in the US with the launch of its Signature Craft 12-Year expression. Aged for 12 years and bottled at 43% abv, the long aging process results in a deep rich amber colored bourbon which is full bodied, with sweet vanilla notes and rich and robust oak flavors. The pride of the rackhouse.
Packshot Jim Beam® Honey Packshot Jim Beam® Signature Craft 12-Year

Fred Booker Noe II 1929 – 2004.

After marrying Jim Beam’s daughter Margaret, Booker Noe brought a new name into the Beam family. Known as “The Innovator” who was larger than life, Booker revitalized the declining bourbon category with his legendary The Small Batch Bourbon Collection®.

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Photo of F. Booker Noe II.

1960.

F. Booker Noe II, Jim Beam’s grandson, becomes Master Distiller at the Boston, Kentucky plant, setting the stage for the sixth Beam family member to head the business. That’s why the Boston plant is also known as the Booker Noe Plant.

Photo of a Jim Beam Bourbon on ice.

1964.

Bourbon is recognized as America’s native spirit by Congress.

Burned-in barrel epigraph.

1965.

Booker oversees the filling of Beam’s one-millionth barrel, somehow managing to do it without a tear in his eye.

1978.

Jim Beam Black® is introduced. Elegant. Smooth. Refined. That’s what years in a barrel does to bourbon. A premium bourbon with a more flavorful character, made to be sipped and savored.

Packshot Jim Beam Black®
Booker Noe introduces Booker’s®—the first small batch Bourbon from Jim Beam®.

1988.

Booker Noe introduces Booker’s®—the first small batch Bourbon from Jim Beam®. It’s made the stubborn, old-fashioned way: handcrafted, uncut and unfiltered.

Photo of the Jim Beam® Small Batch Bourbon Collection®.

1992.

Baker’s®, Basil Hayden’s® and Knob Creek® join Booker’s®—creating The Small Batch Bourbon Collection®. Knob Creek® is the world’s top-selling super-premium bourbon.

The country band Montgomery Gentry playing.

1994.

  • Troy Gentry wins Jim Beam’s US Talent Contest. Afterwards, Troy partners up with Eddie Montgomery to form the country band Montgomery Gentry. The two Kentucky boys go on to become a cornerstone of country music and a longtime partner of the Beam family.

T. Jeremiah Beam 1899 – 1977.

Known as “The Businessman” and the man who introduced Jim Beam® Bourbon to the globe. Under his watch, it became the world’s best-selling bourbon.

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Old James B. Beam bottle.

1946.

T. Jeremiah ‘Jere’ Beam, Jim Beam’s son, officially takes over the family business. He also takes Beam®global, shipping cases of bourbon to American servicemen stationed overseas. No countrymen of his would be without bourbon on his watch.

1954.

A second distillery begins production in Boston, Kentucky.

Colonel James B. Beam 1864 – 1947.

The man known as “The Colonel and The Legend” who, after Prohibition ended at age 69, brought the brand back to life by rebuilding the distillery in Clermont in 120 days. He unveiled Jim Beam® shortly thereafter. It’s been the world’s No. 1 bourbon ever since.

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Photo of James Beauregard Beam.

1864.

James Beauregard Beam arrives on the scene. Jim Beam, to his friends and family.

Beam family bourbon—bottled as “Old Tub”.

1880.

Beam family bourbon – bottled as “Old Tub” – becomes one of the first national brands. Before this, people brought their own jugs to the Old Tub family distillery and filled them with bourbon.

Photo of David M.

1894.

Jim Beam takes over the family distillery from his father, David M. He is so protective of his bourbon’s yeast strain that he brings a jug of it home with him every weekend. Fearing an accident taking place at the plant, he had a sample to keep the strain alive. We are still using the same strain today that he started back around Prohibition.

1920.

Prohibition begins. It is the ONLY time that Jim Beam® doesn’t distill bourbon. Instead, he takes a shot at coal mining and citrus farming. Fortunately for us, he’s no good at either. As they say, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

1927.

One of Jim Beam’s daughters, Margaret, marries Frederick Booker Noe. The Noe namesake becomes keeper of the Beam family flame.

Prohibition is officially put into effect in 1918 and an end was put to all manufacturing, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

1933.

Game on. Prohibition ends when the 18th Amendment is repealed on December 5, 1933. Sixty-nine-year-old Jim Beam rebuilds the distillery by hand, alongside his son T. Jeremiah, in just 120 days.

1934.

The first post-Prohibition Jim Beam® bourbon is sold. The flame is reignited. Beam is back in business.

Photo of a delicious Jim Beam cocktail.

1938.

  • The Mint Julep is introduced as the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby.
  • Jim Beam® Rye is Introduced. Made with 51% rye, Jim Beam® Rye is drier and spicier than its sweet bourbon cousins. Just look for the green label.
Jim Beam logo.

1943.

“Old Tub” changes to “Jim Beam®” in honor of Colonel James B. Beam, who would pass away just five years later. The name stuck.

David M. Beam 1833 – 1913.

Known as “The Visionary” David M. Beam transformed Old Tub® into a national brand by moving the distillery closer to rail and telegraph lines, opening it up to a wider audience.

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1856.

David M. Beam bets on the rails. Learning of a planned extension to the railroad line, he makes the bold decision to move his family distillery to Nelson County. With new tracks mere yards from the distillery, the renamed D. M. Beam & Company can more easily ship their bourbon both north and south.

1861.

Ulysses S. Grant, the great Civil War general, is an avid bourbon consumer. Critics of Grant go to President Abraham Lincoln and accuse the military man of being a drunkard. Lincoln is said to have replied, “Find out what he drinks and send a case to my other generals.”

David Beam 1802 – 1854.

Known as “The Pioneer” purveyor of the famous Old Tub®, David enlarged the distillery, positioning it for future growth.

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1820.

Jacob hands the business over to his whip-smart son, David. The Industrial Revolution helps increase distilling capacity with the transition from pot still to column still. The bourbon can be shipped by train and steamboatbeyond Washington County.

Jacob Beam 1760 – 1834.

The success story of Jim Beam® began when our founder, Jacob Beam, son of a German immigrant, started selling the corn-whiskey recipe created by his father. He sold his first barrel of Old Jake Beam in 1795. A milestone for today’s #1 Bourbon.

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Old map.

1740.

The Boehm family steps foot in America, determined as hell. They would later change their German name to “Beam” and become synonymous with the world’s finest and best-selling bourbon. You may have heard of it.

The birth of bourbon logo.

1770.

Corn farmers in the Kentucky region of Virginia distill their excess crop into a sweeter whiskey. Bourbon is born.
 

Kentucky landscape.

1788.

Jacob Beam relocates to central Kentucky. Nestled within the lush bluegrass hills, he finds a place to call home. Hot summers, mild winters and nearby limestone springs make perfect conditions to grow corn. And grow corn he does. Too much, in fact. So he turns some of that corn into whiskey.

1791-1794.

Whiskey rebels in western Pennsylvania fight federal taxation of distilled spirits. Many relocate to the wilds of Kentucky, which becomes a state in 1792.

“Old Tub” label.

1795.

Jacob Beam sells his first barrel of whiskey to one very lucky colonialist. Called “Old Jake Beam Sour Mash,” this whiskey is particularly popular among pioneers, farmers, and traders. The family distillery is known as “Old Tub”.

Each of these great men made history. Now it’s your turn.

Making History Today
Jim Beam® Bourbon

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