THE LIFE STORY OF A LEGEND
How a Kentucky Straight Bourbon made history
In more than 215 years, JIM BEAM – one of the first whiskeys distilled from corn – has matured to become the world’s most successful bourbon. It is a period of time during which generations of well-preserved traditions have given birth to a legend that is now looking for people just like yourself. On these pages, you can find out more about the history of JIM BEAM and the role it has played in events over the years.
The birth of bourbon. Settlers in Kentucky distill whiskey from corn for the first time, leaving it to age in charred oak barrels. The result is the first true bourbon, a whiskey with an amber color, and a uniquely rich vanilla aroma.
Johannes Jakob Böhm, a farmer and miller of German origin, packs up all his belongings and heads out west. Looking for a better quality of life, he follows Daniel Boone’s path through the Cumberland Cap and settles down with his family in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Using corn and other cereal crops that grow on his land, Jakob Böhm distills a new type of blended whiskey. In 1795, Böhm, who has since taken the name Jacob Beam, sells his first barrel of “Old Jake Beam Sour Mash.” At the time, it was a bourbon that already received a lot of praise – the beginning of a success story.
David Beam, the son of Jacob Beam, becomes master distiller at the early age of 18 and takes over his father’s distillery. For more than 30 years, he manages the family business with more and more successful results. New distribution channels such as a higher level of boat traffic on the Ohio River help to make sure that the unique taste of this Kentucky straight bourbon is known and loved by more and more people across the entire country.
David Beam hands over responsibility of the business to his son, David M. Beam, who decides to relocate the distillery six years later to nearby Nelson County in order to make better use of Kentucky’s first railroad track – a move that makes his unique bourbon whiskey gain many new fans in the following years.
When the time comes for a new head of the family business, David M. Beam chooses his third son, James Beauregard Beam – a straightforward, charismatic man who insists that everyone call him “Jim.” He manages the company until the start of Prohibition in 1919. Afterwards, in 1934, he rebuilds the distillery by hand in just 120 days – at the age of 70. And so he is also the man who gave the incomparable bourbon the name it has today – JIM BEAM.
T. Jeremiah Beam, the son of JIM BEAM, becomes president of the James B. Beam Distilling Company.
Aged just 21, the great-great-great-grandson of Jakob Böhm, F. Booker Noe, continues the family tradition and starts working early at the company.
The incomparable bourbon whiskey with a velvety smooth taste becomes such a runaway success for the Beam family that they decide to open a second distillery close to Boston, Kentucky.
Booker Noe is made master distiller emeritus.
JIM BEAM becomes the best-selling bourbon whiskey in America for the first time.
The “Small Batch Bourbon Collection” is presented – a selection of hand-made premium bourbons.
The “Wine Enthusiast Magazine” nominates the JIM BEAM Distillery as “Distillery of the Year.”
The “Malt Advocate Magazine” gives Booker Noe the “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
JIM BEAM Black® Bourbon receives the highest rating ever awarded by the Chicago Beverage Testing Institute for a North American whiskey.
Fred Booker Noe III, the son of Booker Noe and great-grandson of the legendary JIM BEAM, and both a partner and distiller at the JIM BEAM Distillery, fills the ten millionth barrel.
red STAG by JIM BEAM, a daring mixture of JIM BEAM and the flavor of black cherries, is released in the US and becomes the most successful domestic launch in five years.
Following its success in the States, red STAG is rolled out across the globe and proves to be a particularly big hit in Germany. As the first major innovation in the whiskey market, this new product raises hopes of a string of new ideas from the JIM BEAM Distillery.