During the Kentucky Bourbon Festival I meet folks from all over the world...They ask questions of all sorts...Some of em just like to hear my very southern accent...but the majority of em are looking for information...correct information...
Some of the most common questions that folks ask me during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival;
How much does a bottle of EC OR EWSB etc...cost? Are you open for tours now? Are any of the original 5 Shapiria brother's alive? How much money do they pay you? What is Max's favorite drink? What is your favorite drink? Why can't I buy a bottle from the distillery? How many disitllery are left? Will you marry me? Can I take you home? ...(to which I reply, ya gotta ask my huband first, he's sittin right over there)...
Well...back to the subject at hand...The most common question asked, What is the longest operating distillery?...A lot of em claim to go back to ten buck two... I asked the Getz...that exact question...What is the longest continuious operating distillery?....Their response...JIM BEAM...
I wanted to post this...This record of facts goes back..."way back"...just in case some folks try to change history a bit...and it does happen...This was recorded more than one hundred years ago....It's about Beam and Hart...It's kinda midway in the history of Jim Beam...It's author is Sam Elliot a bourbon historian of his time...sort of like our Chuck Cowdery, "Our" world scholar of Bourbon History
Beam and Hart---"Old Tub" Distillery
The Beams and Harts were among the first settlers in Kentucky. Their decendants are none the less prominent in business and enterprise.
Away back in the last century, when Nelson county was among the first settled in the State. Jacob Beam, a young man of sterling worth and integrity, located in this county. He at once began the manufacture of whiskey. There was very little profit in the business then, but it was suitable to the young man's inclinations, as it was about the only medicine known to the early settlers, and he believed by giving it special attention, as a business, some good would come, in the future, when the country became more densley populated, result from it's manufacture.
He continued in the business and as a result of his forsight he was able, at an advanced age, to turn over to his children, his business, which at the time of his death was paying about as well as any other. Among his heirs was a young man, said to have been a "chip off the old block". This was David Beam. He too, entered into the whiskey business and from 1820 to 1850 made excellent whiskey. About this time the Beams were known all over Nelson and adjoining counnties as among the best producers of fine whiskey in this territory.
In 1833 his son David, now one of Nelson a most honored citizens succeeded his father and made a great success by his knowledge of how to make good whiskey. He continued manufacturering whiskey until 1892 when he realized that he was getting too old to be worried with so many cares and so much labor so he transferred the business into the hands of his son James B. Beam and his son-in-law Albert J. Hart, both of whom are known as being among the best practical distillers in the county.
The Hart family were amoung the earliest settlers in the State. Several familes bought land and settled down in this county. The distillery of Beam & Hart is situated about two miles from Bardstown on the Springfield branch of the L&N railroad. The location is an ideal one. There are numerous spirngs of lime water in addition to a large pool which is always full of clear water that comes from many large springs nearby.
This distlllery is on the head waters of Froman's creek. One noted for its unbounded supply of pure water. The capacity of the house is 150 bushels of grain per day. Mr. Hart is an expert judge of fine grain necessary to produce good whiskey, and none but the most select is every used. Mr. Beam does his own distilling, and his product is not to be excelled by anyone, he is among the very few in the county who are what you may term "Practiacal Distllers".
It is but natural that a man who manufatures his own whiskey will give more attention to its production than one who employs a substitute. The distillery is exceedingly well arranged and most convieniently located. The warehouses are spledidly constructed and ventilated.
Mr. Hart gives special attention to the storing and protection of the whiskey, which entered at 101 proof spirits, has been known to come out of bond as high proof as 109. The general average proof, though, is about 4 degrees. The whiskey is used throughout the country, and the warehouses have a capacity of over 10,000 barrels, there being three large ones. Their only brand is the celebrated "Old Tub".
Bettye Jo Boone
7th generation Jacob Beam