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boone
10-02-2007, 12:03
I need to share some things with folks who follow Bourbon and it's history.

Some of you know my folks but many of you do not. My grandfather was Harry Milburn Beam aka Pop Beam :grin: :grin:

My G-Grandfather was Joseph L. Beam. One of the first original incorporators of Heaven Hill and the first Master Distiller of Heaven Hill. To put his presence in sync with the Beam family, he was first cousin to the famous Jim Beam.

There's hardly a distillery in these parts that have not had their roots planted without the help of my family. Joseph L. (Papa) started to learn the trade under his Uncle Jack Beam at the early age of 14...Back then, he hopped from distillery to distillery when the crops came in. By the time he was 19 he ran a distillery...Gethsemani...

Papa Beam and Jim Beam were partner's in a distillery right before prohibition...The F.G. Walker distillery. I have copies of the documents signed by both of them. Papa Beam owned 42 shares at $100.00 each in this company. That's a incredible amount of money back in the days of Jan. 1917. I have good reason to believe that this kind of financial loss (prohibition) took nearly all he had...but not all because I've heard my mom tell about going to their house and the "maid" serving them in the dining room with fancy china and pretty little tea cups. This big home was located right across from "My Old Kentucky Home" where the "Parkview Motel and Kurtz Restaurants is now. They rebounded...I have documents when Grandma retired and sold her shares of Heaven Hill to the Shapira's...She was formally addressed at Mrs. Beam...In 1942 she owned 108 shares total value back then was $64,800.00. She passed shortly after that :(

Joseph L. and Katie McGill Beam---Grandma Beam's brother was Will McGill, longtime distiller at Stitzel Weller--- My great grandparents had seven son's...all were Master Distiller's throughout Kentucky and one in PA.

A very nice article written in the American Wine and Liquor Journal (1937) header states...The Saga of the Seven Beams...A Kentucky family with a daily production capacity of 47,000 gallons of sour mash. Each worked at different distillery's throughout Kentucky. Gotta remember that this was in 1937! :grin:

Another notable item in my collection is a letter from the Smithsonian Institution. It's addressed to my Uncle Desmond Beam....In part--->Dear Mr. Beam: The Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service are pleased to invite you to participate in the 7th annual Festival of American Folk life to be held June 30-July 8 on the National Mall in Washington D.C. along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

When we began our filed research, we decided to seek out people in Kentucky who are distinctive representatives of grass roots culture. After meeting hundreds of musicians, cooks, craftsmen and talented skilled men and women throughout the state we selected about 150 that would fairly represent the proud heritages of different national and racial backgrounds. The decisions were difficult to make, but were will have succeeded if individuals like yourself come to Washington and share your unique experience with your neighbor and country men from around our Nation.

He set up a still near the reflecting pool :grin: :grin:

I could probably write a book with all the doin's of my family of Distiller's...Seems that over time distilleries now days like to ice the history to a different note.

Another notable, is that Uncle Elmo was the very first Master Distiller at Maker's Mark. When Bill Samuels Sr. decided to open up Star Hill he called upon two men as his backbone...Ed Medley and Uncle Elmo...Elmo and Bill Sr. were good friends. Elmo had retired---not the greatest health either---moved to Florida. Bill Sr. knew that he (Elmo) worked at Stitzel Weller with Papa Beam and that he knew the wheat recipe quite well. To make a long story short. He packed everything and move into the "Big House" at Star Hill (Maker's Mark) to distill for the Samuels family. He passed away there, two years later.

This post turned into a novel again...I didn't intend for it to become what it is...but it just happened.

The sole purpose of this thread is in remembrance of my "Pop Beam" Harry Milburn Beam. I was the "apple of his eye" and he made no beans about it either. I'd spend my entire summer vacations with him and Grandma Beam :grin: :grin: :grin: A lot of my young life was spent with them :grin: :grin: :grin:

On October 2, 1972 he was killed in a car crash on Old Louisville Road (31E). The road to Cliff's Kentucky home. There's a small place right before you get there called High Grove...a stone wall with a beautiful look out. He lost control of his car and hit that grove of trees right beside that wall. No one saw the car until the wee hours...

I have wonderful memories of him. I miss him dearly. I have attached a piture of him with his six brother's...Pop Beam in on the far left...then...Everett, Desmond, Wilmer, Otis, Roy and Elmo.

Gone but not forgotten ...

OscarV
10-02-2007, 14:24
Thanks for the post Bettye Jo, I love reading stuff like this.
It is both informative and entertaining.

I to had an Uncle Elmo, Great Uncle actually, brother of my Grandfather Elmer.

craigthom
10-02-2007, 14:32
That's great! You've got quite the bourbon pedigree.

I thought I might have some whiskey making in my past, since my great great great great grandfather operated a mill in western Pennsylvania during the time of the Whiskey Rebellion, but it appears that it was a sawmill. He moved to Jefferson County, Indiana, in the early 1800s, so he was close to Kentucky, but there are no whiskey references.

boone
10-10-2007, 12:10
I ran across this file today (see attachment) looking for other information. The bad thing about looking thru old bourbon history stuff is that you hardly ever find what you are looking for because of finding files to review, like this one :grin: Note the date, May 1937. Heaven Hill in it's infancy :grin:

Gillman
10-10-2007, 12:42
Very charming early photos and ads.

Interesting how apple brandy still held on in the 1930's. In the early 1800's it and fruit brandies such as peach and apricot were huge and rivalled common and aged whiskeys.

Today, these fruit spirits have little impact in the market from what I can see.

Laird's endures though, with a very old pedigree.

Gary

mozilla
10-10-2007, 14:33
Very interesting stuff. I bet it didn't take long to get a baseball game together in that family and how about the bar-b-q afterwords. That would be quite a party. I wonder if the boys disagreed on their bourbon profiles under the porch light? Thanks for the pics!

cowdery
10-10-2007, 16:22
Bettye Jo, do you know where that ad appeared?

boone
10-12-2007, 10:56
I'll let you know, I gave it to my sister so she could enlarge and make a poster of it.


Bettye Jo, do you know where that ad appeared?

boone
10-12-2007, 11:04
When Papa Beam (my great grandfather, Joseph L. Beam) lived right across from My Old Kentucky Home, Grandma Beam always had the boys (7 sons all Master Distillers throughout Kentucky) and their families over for Sunday dinner. After the dishes were cleared, discussions followed on what was going on at each distillery...Mostly, questions to their Dad and Mom. Yes, their Mother played a big part in the distilling business. As I posted before she was a major stockholder in Heaven Hill till the mid 40's. Cept back in those days a woman distiller was "not allowed"...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...seems that it's still that way. I don't recall any distillery that has a female Master Distiller.

Hopefully, the trend will change. Craig has (two) young adult daughter's :grin:


Very interesting stuff. I bet it didn't take long to get a baseball game together in that family and how about the bar-b-q afterwords. That would be quite a party. I wonder if the boys disagreed on their bourbon profiles under the porch light? Thanks for the pics!

cowdery
10-15-2007, 17:14
I asked Craig about this over the weekend. He said both of the girls might be interested and he is very agreeable to it if there are. We talked a lot about how he learned the craft and some of his most pleasant memories are of the guidance he received from his grandfather.

bobbyc
10-15-2007, 19:15
I don't recall any distillery that has a female Master Distiller.


Not that it changes anything here but I think they have that going on in Scotland. If not so named they have women that hold high responsibilities over there.

Gillman
10-15-2007, 19:23
That's right Bobby, I've read of distillery managers, blending specialists, many with advanced chemistry or other qualifications.

Gary

BourbonJoe
10-16-2007, 09:05
That's right Bobby, I've read of distillery managers, blending specialists, many with advanced chemistry or other qualifications.

Gary

"No Chemists Allowed !!" Pappy Van Winkle.
Joe :usflag:

cowdery
10-16-2007, 22:57
Rachel Barrie is the Master Blender at Glenmorangie. She was Scotland's first female Master Blender and is, I believe, still the only one.

boone
10-17-2007, 10:27
I should have been specific. I'm mostly interested in all things bourbon/Kentucky/United States of America oriented :grin: Folks that make our American Spirit :grin:

I should have said:

There are no female Master Distillers/bourbon in the United States...

cowdery
10-17-2007, 22:35
She isn't a master distiller, but the executive in charge of all of Brown-Forman's production facilities, including its three U.S. distilleries, including Jack Daniel's, is a woman named Jill Jones. She's Jimmy Bedford's boss.

TnSquire
10-19-2007, 10:19
She needs to talk him into making better whiskey. :cool:

cherylspicer
11-29-2007, 09:41
Hi,
My name is Cheryl. I am new to this site. I read your story, then viewed the photo. It was so cool because my grandfather was in the photo. I thought he might be because I had an Uncle Desmond and Aunt Thelma. Well, they were my moms Aunt and Uncle. But Everett was my grandfather. This is so neat to see the photo. I had to call my mother right away.
Thanks for the info.
Cheryl

lohssanami
11-07-2008, 02:06
It's really great to read all of this history. Thank you for sharing this with all of us...even though I'm about a year behind.

spun_cookie
11-08-2008, 07:21
Hi,
My name is Cheryl. I am new to this site. I read your story, then viewed the photo. It was so cool because my grandfather was in the photo.

Welcome to the site Cheryl. Very cool that you have been able to run down family photos here. I would have to imagine a family reunion from the 7 brothers down would be one high spirits event!!!

I look forward to you posts and your new found discussion topics with Betty Jo...

Great thread Betty Jo

deputydog
02-02-2009, 14:30
I feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short on this topic but I sure enjoyed reading this post. Have you considered writing all of this history in book form? (My apologies if you have already done so.) I help teach history and I serve on a local history commission. I would love to have someone with your knowledge to draw from. Please, write more.

Dutchie66
06-11-2009, 10:55
Thanks for kickin it 'deputydog'. I overlooked this thread. Very nice stuff to read. Really enjoyed it.