As the First Family of Bourbon, we’ve been at work on our craft for centuries. Sometimes we break the rules, but there’s one we always follow: only bottle whiskey worthy of the Beam name. Here’s a few ways we do that.
Cold, harsh winters and scorching hot summers keep southern living interesting to say the least. But they also create the perfect climate for aging whiskey. And for growing just the right grains to make our bourbon. Throughout the Bluegrass State, corn, barley and wheat thrive – which is lucky since these are the key ingredients we use for mashing and distilling. Our bourbon owes a lot of its rich flavor to the wide-ranging, four-season climate and agriculture here in Kentucky.
Most whiskeys made from water containing iron will turn black and have a slightly metallic taste. Not ours. Kentucky just so happens to sit on a natural limestone shelf that acts as a filter, creating iron-free, calcium-rich water. This helps craft the slightly sweet, golden brown bourbon we all know and love, and makes our distillery the only one to use a natural water supply to make bourbon. To preserve our whiskey’s most valuable asset, we’ve partnered with the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest to establish a water sanctuary that protects our water source for generations to come.
Without it, we wouldn’t be what we are today. Because this isn’t just any old yeast. It’s a very specific old yeast – the same strain our family has been using since the end of Prohibition in 1933. It’s such a closely guarded secret, that Jim Beam himself would take a jug of yeast home for safe keeping every weekend.
Jacob carried our first still to Kentucky on his back. We’ve been hard at work perfecting our distillation process ever since. It starts with our secret mash bill, which we feed into a 10,000-gallon cooker along with some “setback” (a portion of the old mash from our last distillation). This transforms our mash into “sour mash”, and it’s this process that separates our bourbons from each other.
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