David M. Beam
The middle son of David Beam, named after his father, David M. Beam stayed at home and eventually took over the distilling operation begun by his grandfather Jacob. David M. Beam was born in January of 1833 in Nelson County, Kentucky right outside Bardstown. He married his wife Mary Ellen in 1859 and they had four boys; George Beam, Tom Beam, Jim Beam and Park Beam.
Then in about 1860, David M. Beam moved the family distillery from its original site to Nelson County, to take advantage of a new railroad line between Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN. It was at that time, "leveraging" the railroad that their bourbon became a national brand and they named it after their former distillery calling it "Old Tub Bourbon." As the Beams became more and more successful at getting Old Tub to all parts of the continent, they developed some new brands including “Pebble-Ford” and “Clear Springs.”
Of David M’s four sons, the older two George Beam and Thomas Beam left the whiskey business and attempted to establish themselves elsewhere. But it was his two younger sons that made quite a name for themselves in the bourbon industry. The third son and older of the two was James Beauregard "Jim" Beam, born in 1864, who became the most famous member of the family. Jim worked closely with his father and younger brother, William Parker “Park” Beam, who was born in 1868 and worked at the family distillery his entire life.
David M. Beam was inducted posthumously into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2009 in only its eighth class of inductees ever. David M. Beam became only the 8th of 11 Beam family members to be inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame behind only Parker Beam, Booker Noe, Colonel Jim Beam, Earl Beam, T. Jeremiah Beam, Carl Beam and Baker Beam.
Photos provided by Jim Beam