This old distillery holds a special place in my family history...My great-grandfather Joseph L. Beam started his "career" as a distiller in this location...at the sweet ripe age of 14 years old...His Uncle, Jack Beam, gave him his first job...
The Warehouses were torn down in the 70's...At that time it was called Gethsemani...That distillery has made many a famous bourbon in it's time...under many name brands throughtout it's life span...
The lumber in those warehouses were solid poplar...hardly a knot in any board you could find...We grabbed some of the lumber being sold and took it to my dad...I asked him if it would be possible to build a house from it...He could not believe his eyes...He told us to buy all we could...and we did...I spent a entire summer pulling nails and sorting lumber...We stored it in a barn until we were ready to build...and...My entire house is built from the warehouses that my family of distiller's built and started thier young career's...
This story was published in the Nelson County Record, 1896, by Sam Elliott.
Early Times Distillery Co...
One of the most pleasant drives I ever took was the day I visited the Early Times Distillery. As you drive out from Bardstown, you behold some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. The pike is one of the best constructed in the state and such magnificient and grand fields, valleys and cliffs that the eye beholds along the route is worth the coming a long distance to see. A you near the premises you can only get a partial view of this immense plant, but if you will only content yourself until you alight from vehicle, or the cars.
The wonderful beauty of the entire surroundings is most apparrent. Standing upon an elevation several hundred yards east of the distillery and glancing towards the immense structure, one is so favorably impressed with the magnitude of the establishment that he can but wonder how came it there, the sight is seldom, if ever, witnessed outside of a great city. The soft breeze that fans the brow and cools the heat of brain, lends much towards the conforts of the visitor. The large springs of pure water that gush from out the bowels of the earth and flow in such immense streams, while the sun shines it's reflecting rays upon them turning the clear, crystalized waters into thousand different beautiful colors, creates a thirst that thousands of the wealthy of a pent-up city would give most any monetary consideration to sit by it and quinch the burning desire with one gourd of this pure and health-giving liquid.
With a cup full of old "Jack Beam" and a little granulated sugar to mix in porportion with some of these crystalized waters, on has the feeling of joy to flow through his body that no language could express. As I sat near a large, gushing spring, close to a soft bed of mint, and gazed at the clear red liquor that was in a large glass, I knew that I was to partake of one of the best drinks I ever had.
Reader, how would you like to enjoy the same feelings that penentrated my body after partaking of this pure, old fashioned, handmade, sourmash whiskey? You don't get it everwhere; they don't make it everywhere. Look at this well constructed distillery, and observe closely how finely arranged are all it's departments.
At the distillery, everything is under the protection of cover; no soot or dust can fall into the mash or grain. The floors of yeast and mashing rooms are as clean as can possibley be kept by application of water and labor. The machinery is of the finest, and the engineer gives close observation to it in all it's details when in operation.
The distillery is one of the best in the state. It was as early as 1788 that Jacob Beam began the manufacture of Kentucky Whiskey's, and in 1818 his son, David, followed him and kept up his father's reputation as a disitller until 1850. When John H. Beam, David's son, succeeded him in his well established reputation, and has increased the producing capacity and merit of the goods to such a extent that whereas it was then only known among the dealers in Nelson and adjoining counties in his father's and grandfather's days, it is now reputed among the most popular and meritorious brands in the world.
The distillery is 4 miles by pike road from Bardstown, and situated on the Springfield branch of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, at Early Times Station, 43 miles from Louisville. The General Superintendent, Mr. Wm. M. Brown, has been in the employ of Mr. Beam for a number of years. The distiller is the well known H.T. Cravens, who is one of the best in state. It must not be forgotten, tho that Mr. Beam and Mr. Brown are both practical distiller's. Mr. Hurt is president and Mr. Beam vice president. Ed. D. Beam is the general manager and is one of the best liked young men in the county.
The running capacity of the disitllery is 640 bushels of grain per day, and nothing but the most select is used. The warehouse capacity is about 40,000 barrels, with a free bonded house of 1,000 barrels, there being six warehouses in all. They are splendidly constructed and well ventilated, besides being heated by steam. Their celebrated brands, "Early Times",and "A.G. Nall", sour mash, and "Jack Beam" sweet mash, are known throughout the world, and are as popular as they are well known. There is much to recommend in this distillery and the best and most satisfactory evidence of it's ability to make good and pure whiskies is the fact of it's universal popularity at home.
The old saying, "Show me the company you keep and I will tell you who you are", is applicable to the Early Times Whiskey, for it stands at the top of good company at home among the very best whiskies.
The warehouses are Iron-clad and are extremely large and airy. The barrels in which their whiskies are bonded are throughly examined before being filled. Careful examination is given the bonded goods daily, to find out if any of the barrels are leaking. In fact, without going into further details, the distillery is one of the most complete and perfectly arranged in America, and is situated upon one of the most inviting sights in the state.
Bettye Jo and Erica
P.S. Maybe I should have posted a picture of my home? ...Nahhhh...It does not look like a distillery