Colonel James Beauregard Jim Beam"

Sketch Photo of Jim Beam, provided by Jim Beam Brands, Co. web site

Sketch Photo of Jim Beam, provided by Jim Beam Brands, Co. web site

"The Namesake" or "The Legend"

Colonel James Beauregard Beam or "Jim Beam" was born in Bardstown, Kentucky near the end of the Civil War in 1864.  His parents were Margaret Ellen Phillips Beam and David M. Beam the grandson of the patriarch of the Beam empire Jacob Beam. He took over the "Old Tub Distillery" (later the Jim Beam Distillery) from his father David before Prohibition. Right when prohibition started, a raging mob tore down the distillery leaving Jim with no business behind. During prohibition he tried a farming business and a quarry business and failed at both. People in town said Col. Beam was only good at making and selling whiskey. They joked that if Beam decided to open a funeral home in town, everyone in Bardstown would suddenly stop dying.

When Prohibition ended in 1934, Col. Beam at the age of 70 went in to business with his son Jere and a couple businessmen from Chicago Harry Homel and Oliver Jacobson. They bought the old Murphy Barber distillery and insisted on the same DSP # (Distilled Spirits Producer) as he had before and they started making whiskey again under the "Old Tub" and Pebble-Ford labels. It was now called the "James B. Beam Distilling Company" and it filled its first barrel in 1935. From this point forward, the bourbon would be called "Jim Beam Bourbon" after James Beauregard Beam, and the bottle labels would bear the statement, "None Genuine Without My Signature" with the signature James B. Beam. After he passed away in 1947, his son, T. Jeremiah Beam in the 1950’s launched the brand "Jim Beam Black" to honor his father, and the "White Label" had become the #1 selling bourbon in the world today.

Jim Beam was inducted posthumously into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2002 in only its second class of inductees ever. Jim Beam became only the 3rd of 11 Beam family members to be inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame behind only Parker Beam and Booker Noe.

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Banner photo by Pearlfisher