A group of German immigrants moved to America during the eighteenth century. The first distillery was founded by one of their number, Johannes ‘Jacob’, of the German family, Boehm. The family named was changed to the more Anglo-American ‘Beam’. Jacob Beam had land in Kentucky and quickly noticed how well-suited the area was for cereal farming. He grew corn and grains which he eventually started using for distillation. In 1795, Jacob began selling his whiskey under the name Old Jake Beam from his distillery, Old Tub.
In 1820, Jacob Beam’s son David began managing the distillery at just eighteen years of age. He soon began to expand the brand. The distillery was moved to Nelson County for it proffered a valuable railway network and would increase the distribution possibilities. Following the end of Prohibition, Colonel James B Beam managed the business and in 1933 it was rebuilt in Clermont, Kentucky. Colonel Beam also bestowed his name to the company, thus the whiskey became known as Jim Beam Bourbon. In 1935, the James B Beam Distilling Company was established by a syndicate, including Jeremiah Beam who soon became the sole owner. In 1954, he founded another distillery near Boston, Kentucky and, with the help of Jimberlain Joseph Quinn, he developed the brand.
In 1960, Booker Noe was appointed the Master Distiller at the Boston facilities and, in 1987, he launched a brand of bourbon bearing his forename; Booker’s was the first cask strength bourbon. There has since been a range of various bourbons released by Jim Beam, including the world’s top selling premium bourbon, Knob Creek, named for a creek just south of the distillery where a young Abraham Lincoln once played. Alongside Vin and Spirit AB, Jim Beam formed Fortune Brands in 2001, the various wine and spirits brands owned by the company are operated by the holding company Jim Beam Global.