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Jim Beam

AKA James Beauregard Beam

Born: 1864
Birthplace: Nelson County, KY
Died: 1947
Location of death: Clermont, KY
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Bardstown City Cemetery, Bardstown, KY

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Bourbon baron

James Beauregard Beam was half-heir to the Beam & Hart Distillery, founded in 1795 by his great-grandfather Jacob Beam. The family patriarch made "Old Jake Beam Sour Mash", a mix discontinued in 1825, but by the mid-19th century the company was more famous for its Old Tub brand of bourbon. Young James Beam joined the business in his mid-teens, and took charge at the age of 28 with his father's retirement. By his 40th birthday, the firm was producing nine barrels of bourbon daily. Business boomed as the advance of railroads allowed spirits to be shipped economically far from Kentucky.

The family business was shuttered and sold during America's prohibition era, and over the next thirteen years Beam operated coal and limestone mining concerns and owned a citrus farm in Florida. With the repeal of prohibition he constructed a new distillery in 1933, incorporating as James Beam Distilling Company. According to company folklore Jim Beam built the new distillery "by hand", no doubt an exaggeration, as he was 70 years old at the time. Beam sold the business in 1945, and died two years later. Jim Beam is now owned by the Fortune Brands conglomerate.

Father: David M. Bean (distiller)
Brother: Parker Beam ("Park", distiller)
Son: T. Jeremiah Beam (Jim Beam executive, b. 1899, d. 1977)
Daughter: Margaret Beam

    James Beam Distilling Company Founder & President (1933-45)
    Beam & Hart Distillery President (1892-1919)
    Kentucky Colonel
    German Ancestry

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