Saw this label and wondered if Beam got the brand from ND? Just curious....
Like Gary says! A quick internet search shows the name was registered as a trademark in 1935 by the Penn-Maryland corporation and that Jim Beam Brands Co. is the 12th owner since registration.
Wow, excellent find!
bibamus, moriendum est
Interesting find! So I would assume that the yeast changed over to the standard Beam yeast when they acquired the brand?
Yes, the Beam expression uses the Beam house yeast and standard Beam mash bill.
Beam merged with National (ND) in 1987 and they started working on the Small Batch Collection (SBC) shortly thereafter, so it's possible they were browsing some old records, looking for ideas, and found this. Another of the SBC brands was Basil Hayden, which came from the ND portfolio via Old Grand-Dad (OGD).
The ND merger was really an acquisition but 'merger' sounded better because ND was the larger company. Beam had Fortune behind it and was in better financial shape. I started to do some work for Beam at about that time and it was interesting because it was a lot for them to swallow. Until that point, Beam had been essentially a one-product company with mostly U.S. sales. Suddenly they were a broad-portfolio company with worldwide sales.
As for the recipe, Knob Creek bourbon is Jim Beam bourbon and Knob Creek rye is Jim Beam rye. Same recipe. The only difference is that the distillate intended for Knob is taken off the still at a lower proof. And they manage the Knob barrels differently knowing they're going to age at least nine years. But they didn't start to do that until several years down the road, after the brand was well-established. For the first few years it was 9-year-old Jim Beam, period.
But very cool to see that old label and to know the name was used before.
This may explain the persistent rumor over the years that Knob is also OGD juice, which it isn't and never was. The rumor was probably started by someone who knew Knob was a minor ND brand.
Knob Creek, for those who don't know, is a real creek in Kentucky. The second and last Lincoln family farm in Kentucky was what Lincoln called "the Knob Creek place." There's also a famous shooting range there, site of the "Guntucky" TV show. With Fort Knox so near, shooting ranges around there are a little different.
Last edited by cowdery; 06-11-2013 at 16:56.
Col. Charles K. "Crotchety" Cowdery
"Whiskey Don't Keep."
Chuck, does Beam use that lower-proof distillate for any of the other brands, or does it all go into Knob Creek?
Good question . . . . . . .
Check out this thread for an answer. Short answer, yes.
I guess "give 'em the bird" isn't just a marketing slogan, it's a brand management strategy, too.