Frederick “Fred” Booker Noe III, son of the late great Frederick “Booker” Noe Jr. and great grandson of Jim Beam, is a seventh generation distiller and keeper of a family flame that has burned for more than 200 years. Fred Noe became the Master Distiller for Jim Beam Brands in 2007. He loves sharing the the rich history of his family’s legacy in bourbon and the art of distilling whiskey.
Fred was steeped in whiskey culture early on. He was born in 1954 in Bardstown, Kentucky “the Bourbon Capital of the World,” and grew up in the same house his great grandfather, the legendary Jim Beam, once lived in. He learned at a young age to appreciate and understand the craft of whiskey making while listening to his father’s stories about their family.
After graduating from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Fred worked under his father’s watchful eye, learning every aspect of the bourbon-making process, including distilling, grain selection and fermentation. When Fred was old enough he started out on the bottling line on the night shift. His father, Booker wanted me to learn the business from the ground up. He said to young Noe "You go to the night shift bottling line, you're pretty damn close to the ground." But he said he loved it from the beginning and quickly moved up. He said he was never much of a student in school, but he really took to the distillery pretty good. He has now been a part of the distillery for 34 years as of 2018.
Fred also served as Ambassador of The Small Batch Bourbon Collection, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, Baker’s and Booker’s. These bourbons were personal designed and distilled by his father Booker. Fred played an important role in the development and promotion of these ultra-premium bourbons, which are aged longer, feature higher proofs and representative of pre-prohibition whiskey. When these bourbons were first introduced, he would taste samples at the family’s kitchen table and help select the batches that were ready for bottling.
Fred Noe was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2013. Fred Noe became only the 10th of 11 Beam family members to be inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame behind Parker Beam, his father Booker Noe, Colonel Jim Beam, Earl Beam, T. Jeremiah Beam, Carl Beam, Baker Beam, David M. Beam, Jack Beam and Charles L. Beam. Fred said at his induction into the Bourbon Hall of Fame, that “I gotta say I'm pretty damn lucky. I got the best job in the world, get to work with the best people in the world, and I get to travel the world."
Beam/Suntory North American President Matt Shattock said, "Fred's the closest thing we've got to a rock star." Shattock credited Noe with inspiring innovations to the Beam line, including the Red Stag line and Devil's Cut. Fred’s father Booker Noe was among the Hall of Fame inductees in 2001, and Fred Noe told his son, Freddie, who also now works at Beam, "Stick with it and maybe someday you'll make it too." Noe joined bourbon luminaries such as Jimmy Russell, Bill Samuels, Jim Rutledge, Parker Beam, and the late Elmer T. Lee and Lincoln Henderson.