USA/KY: Jim Beam Distillery
Jim Beam is the most recognized and best selling brand of bourbon in the world. It dates back to 1795, when a farmer named Jacob Beam started producing his special corn whiskey (that he called Old Jake Beam Sour Mash) and selling it to his neighbors. People would come with their own glass jugs or tubs (huge ones!) and fill it up with whiskey. A hundred years later, the company started producing their own bottles and the whiskey was called “Old Tub”, still sold in huge glass jugs. Fast forward to today, and you get the worlds largest bourbon producer with seven generations of Beam family associated with it (while the company is now owned by the Japanese Suntory – don’t tell Trump – all the Master Distillers have been Beams). The sprawling Distillery grounds are impressive – with massive aging warehouses and the main buildings and the tasting rooms, well manicured and tastefully and authentically presented. A tasting tour gets you to try 5 Jim Beam products (you can actually choose out of a selection of more then a dozen). There is the traditional straight bourbon Jim Beam, single barrel Jim Beam (straight from the aging barrel adjusted for proof only), extra-aged Jim Beam, double-oak Jim Beam (twice barreled), Devil’s Cut Jim Beam (we bought this one, it’s awesome, it’s the bourbon that gets trapped in the barrel material and thus is extra smokey and intense – the Devil’s share), and more. Jim Beam also makes other brands like Knob’s Creek and Baker’s. Finally, the Distillery is infamous for two fires that burned the aging bourbon here in 2003 (3 million liters burned and spilled into the river killing 19,000 fish) and in 2019 (9 million liters, probably killing even more fish, if there was any left).