T. Jeremiah Beam
The Classic Businessman
Jim Beam had three children, a son T. Jeremiah Beam, and two daughters, Mildred and Margaret. Jere who was born in July 1899, Mildred who was born in 1901 and Margaret who was born in February 1904. All three were born in Bardstown, Kentucky, “the Bourbon Capital of the World.” As soon as he was old enough at age 13, "Jerry" was put to work in the family business which was called the Clear Springs Distillery in 1913. In 1918 he left home to attend college at the University of Kentucky. His sister, Margaret, married Frederick Booker Noe, Sr.
In 1920, the Beam operation was shuttered by Prohibition. After Repeal in 1933, Jere and Colonel Jim (almost 70 years old) purchased the old Murphy Barber Distillery at Clermont, Kentucky. They built a new plant within an astounding 120 days, renamed as the Jim Beam Company, and resurrected the "Old Tub" brand and adding a new brand called simply "Jim Beam" (its white label version today). In 1938 the Beams started making "Jim Beam Rye Whiskey."
In 1946, Jere took over day to day operation of Beam Distillery and was joined by Park Beam (his uncle) and his two sons, Earl Beam (age 27) and Carl Beam (age 24). Carl was named Master Distiller in 1947 (Carl’s nickname was “Shucks”), and Earl was his assistant while Jere ran the business side of things.
He later earned the honorary title of “Master Distiller,” and because of his great gift of storytelling, Jeremiah traveled the world to share his knowledge of all things bourbon and the Beam family legacy. It was Jere that turned Beam into a global giant, by first just making sure after World War II that any U. S. servicemen had access to Jim Beam worldwide. As the years went on Jere broke down international barriers and made Jim Beam available in country after country. Jim Beam retired from all duties in 1967.
Jere renovated an old building and turned it into the "white house" that sat in the middle of the distillery property so he could be very close to the operation. Four master distillers lived in what has now become known as the "T. Jeremiah House." They also mined a drinking well in the front yard of that house which they named "Jacob's Well" (which also became a brand of Bourbon along with "Jacob's Ghost").
As time went on Carl's sons, Baker and David, also went to work as Head or Master Distillers at the Jim Beam Company. In 1974 Baker Beam becomes Master Distiller at the Clermont Distillery and in 1978 the company releases "Jim Beam Black Label" a bourbon aged twice as long at eight years and sold at a slightly higher premium price.
Jeremiah continued to grow the business, he bought the old mothballed Churchill Downs distillery, and opened a second distillery in 1954 near Boston, Kentucky. Jere invested millions of dollars to make a “state of the art facility” at that time. The new distillery was called J.B.B.2 plant for 30 years. It was built with an even bigger capacity than the huge Clermont plant. That plant has now been re-named the Booker Noe Distillery.
Jeremiah Beam was inducted posthumously into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2005 in only its fourth class of inductees ever. Jere Beam became only the 5th of 11 Beam family members to be inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame behind only Parker Beam, Booker Noe, his father Colonel Jim Beam and Earl Beam.