THE TRADITION OF QUALITY
The family that created a legend
For over 215 years, the members of the Beam family have worked tirelessly, dedicating their lives to the preservation of a unique family tradition: distilling the most successful Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey in the world. For generations, the recipe was fine-tuned as the secrets of the mash, the fermentation and distilling processes, and the storage of the bourbon were passed from father to son.
So it should come as no surprise that this unique passion for perfection and excellence over seven generations has created something truly special: a tradition of quality that can be tasted in every drop of JIM BEAM.
1770-1834 Founder of JIM BEAM
At the age of 18, Johannes Jakob Böhm, a farmer and miller of German ancestry, headed West in the States with his family and all their belongings. He settled in Bourbon County, Kentucky, on a plot surrounded by grassy hills and premium farm land. Before long, he began making a special kind of whiskey out of corn and other cereals using iron-free spring water from a nearby source. The result was a blended whiskey that remains unique to this day, with a fine, rich aroma. In short, a Kentucky bourbon that is second to none. Böhm changed his name to Jacob Beam and sold his first barrel of bourbon in 1795 which, at the time, was still called “Old Jake Beam Sour Mash.” It was the birth of an American legend.
1802-1854 Son of Jacob Beam
During the time when the distillery was managed by Jacob Beam’s son David, America made the transition to become an industrial nation. David Beam took over his father’s responsibilities in 1820 at the age of 18 and was to lead the company through 30 eventful years. It was during this period that inventions such as the telegraph and the steam ship opened up new transport routes that fueled the success of the unique bourbon whiskey.
DAVID M. BEAM
1833-1913 Son of David Beam
In 1850, the grandson of Jacob Beam, David M. Beam, took over the family business from his shrewd and highly successful father. Four years later, he relocated the distillery to Nelson County to be near to the first railroad in Kentucky. Although Kentucky was a divided state during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 and both Union and Confederate armies marched across the land, David M. Beam made sure that the distillery did not come between the two fronts. Instead, his family’s bourbon established itself as a unit of exchange that was extremely popular with both sides. In fact, it was often deemed to be more valuable than the currency at that time.
JAMES B. BEAM
1864-1947 Son of David M. Beam
James B. Beam, the great-grandchild of Jacob Böhm, became the head of the now well-established family business in 1894 and, in the years that followed, managed to transform it into one of the most successful whiskey distilleries in the entire country. During Prohibition, between 1919 and 1934, he was forced to abandon the distilling business and kept his family fed by growing fruit and working in the stone masonry and mining sectors. This was the only time in the last 215 years that no JIM BEAM was made.
Afterwards, he built the distilling business back up and set the history of the amber Kentucky legend back in motion, starting from where it had left off at the start of Prohibition. What’s more, he made the business more successful than ever before. At the age of 70, James Beam inaugurated a new, larger distillery in Clermont, near his home in Bardstown, and the incomparable bourbon whiskey made by the Beam family has borne the name “JIM BEAM Bourbon” ever since.
T. JEREMIAH BEAM
1899-1977 Son of James B. Beam
The great-great-grandson of Jakob Böhm, Jeremiah Beam, began working in the distillery at the age of 13. He then left Clermont in 1918 to pursue his studies. Because of Prohibition, he did not return to join the family business until 1933, when he helped to build it back up. In order to continue the family tradition, he learned all the secrets of making bourbon and, in 1947, earned the title of master distiller before taking his place at the head of the business. In 1954, he opened the second JIM BEAM Distillery in Kentucky, close to Boston.
1929-2004 Grandson of James B. Beam
As the great-great-great-grandson of Jakob Böhm, Booker Noe continued the family tradition and was awarded the title of “master distiller emeritus” by the JIM BEAM Distillery in 1960. It was largely his obsession with details and quest for perfection that drove him to introduce a new and unique special bourbon in 1987: Booker’s Bourbon. An unfiltered bourbon drawn straight from the barrel with an oak hue, a smoky vanilla aroma, and light mocha and coffee tones. Originally, it was kept as a Christmas present for special friends of the family. However, pressure from a large number of bourbon lovers finally caused Booker Noe to put limited amounts of his deep, smoky special bourbon on the market. Until the day he died, Booker Noe lived in the house where his grandfather JIM BEAM had lived.
Son of Booker Noe
Fred Noe, the son of Booker Noe, represents the seventh generation of well-preserved tradition in the Beam family business. Fitting with this tradition, he is not only a partner in the company, but also a distiller at the JIM BEAM Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. He has made a name for himself among bourbon whiskey connoisseurs across the globe with the “Small Batch Bourbon Collection,” a first-class selection of hand-made premium bourbons. Fred Noe lives with his family in the same house where JIM BEAM grew up. And he is determined to continue the family tradition for generations to come.