For over 200 years, Jim Beam has remained a global market leader in the Bourbon industry. But its creation did not happen in one night. This process required hard work, determination and perseverance for as many as seven generations of the Beam family.
In the late 1700s, German, Scottish and Irish settlers in Western Pennsylvania produced rye whiskey. One day, the US government proposed exploring the wild expanses of Kentucky and growing corn there. Jacob Beam took this opportunity and settled in Kentucky in 1788.
The first barrel of corn whiskey of the Beam family was sold already after 7 years, in 1795, and this date is considered to be the year the brand was founded. So, the family has been distilling whiskey from corn must since the XVIII century, but the real bourbon “Jim Beam” will be born much later.
In the 1830s, distillers poured their whiskey into barrels previously containing fish or vinegar – you see, this is not the taste that you want in your glass. They then learned that firing a barrel eliminates unpleasant odors and makes drinks more tasty. Burnt barrels during long trips from Kentucky to New Orleans gave the bourbon an impressive caramel flavor and a beautiful golden color.
Today, the use of new charred American white oak barrels is an indispensable standard for the production of bourbon.
In 1894, James (Jim) Beam stood at the helm of a family company – it was he who skillfully led the enterprise through crisis times and prohibition, and the brand name still bears his name.
Although it was later sold to Beam Global Spirits & Wine, the recipe still uses Jim Beam’s yeast. However, they are never used completely, as a part passes to the next sourdough.
Composition and production technology
“Jim Beam” is produced from a special grain mixture, which includes at least 51% of corn, rye and Mash Bill barley malt. Wort is prepared on the basis of water with a high content of calcium, filtered through natural limestone. Each bottle contains a family heirloom – a yeast made according to a prescription 75 years ago. The technology of their preparation is carefully guarded and respected, which is why the taste of “Jim Beam” did not change for centuries.
After heating and cooling, the wort is distilled twice through a column with a height of about 20 meters. After distillation, the bourbon is sent to new 200-liter oak barrels, burnt from the inside. It is aged in them for at least 4 years – and this is twice as much as is prescribed by law.
After staying in contact with wood for a long time, bourbon absorbs oak tones and acquires into a warm golden color. Over time, it also acquires a smooth, pleasant aroma with a touch of flowers and spices.
Only after 4 years of aging, Jim Beam turns into the favorite drink of millions – at least 40 million liters are sold annually in the world.
Types of Jim Beam bourbon
The Jim Beam family has 18 varieties. Some of the most popular are:
- Jim Beam Original – the same classic bourbon, made according to the recipes of Jim Beam.
- Jim Beam Apple – a traditional whiskey with the addition of green apple juice, a great option for summer cocktails. To make apple tones even brighter, we recommend drinking it with a tonic and a slice of green apple.
- Jim Beam Black – triple-aging whiskey. It has a particularly smooth, rounded, balanced taste and an equally rich and soft aroma.
- Double Oak – its feature is that after the initial exposure the whiskey is again placed in a new charred barrel. Accordingly, all aromas and shades of taste become twice as intense.
- Signature Craft – To produce this version of the seventh generation master distiller, Fred Noah is experimenting with malt and aging. Savor this 12-year-old whiskey in small sips and enjoy notes of caramel, vanilla and oak.
- Honey – a new version of 4-year aging with the addition of honey. It has a complex, deep aroma with lively tones of honey at the finish, a pleasant sweet taste.
For over 200 years, the Beam family has perfected the art of making bourbon. Today, Jim Beam is America’s favorite bourbon, and every sip of this drink has a touch of history.