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  1. #1
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    Distilling Wall of Fame

    The Oscar Getz Museum is thisnking about putting up a "Wall of Fame" to honor people who have contributed to the distilling industry to a point that they changed the industry as we know it. What I am about to do is to open a real can of worms by stating who I think should be the first six people to be honored and why. I am also going to name some other people who should be honored in the future. I am also going to ask you to nominate candidates but you have support your nomination with some facts. Once I have a good list then we can put together some kind of committee to decide who will go on the wall.

    The people honored will have a plaque with their name, dates (birth and death if known) and their contribtions to the industry. If an image of the person can be found, we wil also have an image on the wall.

    Here are my top six choices for the wall:

    1) James Crow: His contributions are well known. He brought the industry into the modern world with improved sceintific methods to study the process of fermentation and distilling.

    2) George Garvin Brown: His importance is in the marketing revolution of the late 19th century. His creation of Old Forester so that it was sold only in the bottle led to improved quality standards and eventually the Bottled-in-Bond Act.

    3) E.H. Taylor: This man was the moving force behind the Bottled-in-Bond Act. Bonded whiskey changed the way the consumer bought whiskey and improved the standard by which whiskey was measured.

    4)I W Bernheim: His contribution is not to the industry and the product so much as to the public perception of the industry. He returned to the community with such gifts as Bernheim Forest, Statues in Kentucky and Washington D.C. and even gifts of coal to the poor of Paducah during a severe winter. His generosity earns him a place on the wall.

    5) Bill Samuels Jr.: Bill is an ambassador for the industry without equal. His selfless promotion of the industry alone would earn him a place on the wall. He is also a very important factor in the creation of the super premium bourbon market.

    6) Elmer T. Lee: Elmer helped create the concept of Single Barrel Bourbon that feuled the growth that has come to the industry in the last 2 decades.


    These are the six I wish to honor the first year. Here are some others that should be considered:

    1) Oscar Getz: His effort to save the heritage of the industry earn him a place on the wall. I would put him in the first six except that I don't want to appear to play favorites and I don't want people to think that this just some way for the museum to blow its own horn.

    2) James E. Pepper: He played an important part in the marketing revolution of the late 19th century by using advertising slogans (Born with the Republic) and strip stamps to seal the bottle with his signature. He was also one of the first distillers to bottle whiskey at the distillery.

    3)Mary Dowling: A female distiller who took her Waterfill and Frasier brand to Mexico during prohibition. She definitely deserves some consideration.

    4) W L Weller: Not only the founder of the oldest surviving whiskey company he was also one of the founders of the Baptist Orphan's Home in Louisville and played a very active role in the administration of the home.

    I am sure you can think of other people and why they should be honored so I will wait now for your replies.

    Mike Veach


  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    It just seems wrong that neither list contains a member of the Beam family. Honoring Elmer before Colonel Blanton? Do you really think Bill Jr. has done more than his dad? James Pepper more significant than Oscar?

    The museum at Old Taylor had a Hall of Fame. Do you know who was in it?

    --Chuck Cowdery

  3. #3
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Two more to add...

    Aeneas(?) Coffey, inventor of the continuous still. There was bourbon before the continuous still, and Lincoln Henderson (surely another candidate) is seeing to it that there will be again (at Labrot & Graham). But the bourbon industry as we know it is a direct result of his invention.

    and

    Alexander Hamilton, first treasurer of the brand spanking new United States, who pressured president Washington into sending troops to enforce federal taxation of distilleries. Without Mr. Hamilton's efforts, and the resulting rebellion and westward migration, there would have been no Kentucky bourbon industry at all, and we'd all be comparing popular Pennsylvania and Maryland rye whiskies with histories dating back into the 1700's.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  4. #4
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    I would like to place in nomination GOD for giving us the ingredients for the water of life. The corn, rye, barley, & wheat. The pure limestone water. The sushine. The white oak trees. The beautiful land we know as Kentucky. His son Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas All.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Nelson County, Kentucky
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    You hit the nail on the head Chuck! Sounds like a personal favorites list to me.

    boone


  6. #6
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Amen, Linn. Merry Christmas, all.

    Ralph Wilps


  7. #7
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    John,
    Coffey would be an interesting choice and will be added to my list. Hamilton on the other hand, well I just can not bring myself to honor the man who gave us the tax on bourbon. I would be more inclined to honor Thomas Jefferson who repealed Hamilton's tax. As far as the myth about the whiskey rebellion making the distillers leave Pennsylvania for Kentucky, don't believe it. There were plenty of distillers here before the whiskey rebellion. I'm sorry but I will pass on adding Hamilton to the list.

    Mike Veach


  8. #8
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Chuck,
    I am just trying to get together a list for the first people to be placed on the wall. We want to do this nice with a brass or copper plaque and this will be an expensive project. We want to start with 6 and add 2 or 3 each year so our goal is to place the most significant people first. With this in mind yes I would place Elmer T. Lee before Blanton and Bill Jr. before Sr. and James Pepper before Oscar because of their contributions, but this is not going to be for me to decide. We want get a list together and have some sort of selection committee choose the final 6 for the year. That is why I am asking for outside imput. If you can think of a Beam with a contribution that equals or excedes the names I have listed, then give me the name and the contribution. I am not saying you are not right, there probably is a Beam worthy of this honor and should be on the list. But which one? You tell me. I have also left off some obvious choices such as Pappy Van Winkle hoping that you would be quick to add his name. Actually he was on my first list. I will leave it up to you to guess who replaced his name.

    Mike Veach


  9. #9
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Al Hamilton not much different than algore other than Hamilton was brave in battle. Big gov't is better gov't. WRONG! Highr taxes are better taxes. WRONG! How about Arron Burr?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Distilling Wall of Fame

    Jacob B. Beam
    1760-1839

    Jacob came to Kentucky over the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap while Kentucky was part of the state of Virginia. He set up a grinding mill and sold his first barrel of whiskey in 1795. Recently uncovered family material indicates he may have been established as early as 1788--or just about the time "bourbon was born". He had a son, David (there were probably more). David had four sons, David M., Joseph M., Jack, and Jacob.

    "Jim Beam"-The James B. Beam Distillery;
    ----------------------------------------
    David Beam son of Jacob--increased the capacity of his father's plant but continued the by-then famous Beam formula.

    David M. Beam son of DAVID--The frontier days were waning and the Beam business began a modest but marked expansion under David M.

    Col. James B. Beam--The famous Jim Beam, son of David M. He entered his father's distillery business in 1880 at the age of 16. Saw prohibition come and go. Col. Beam links Beam Bourbon's historic past with the present day--having established the family distilling operations in 1935 an heading it for over a decade.

    T. Jeremiah Beam--Son of James B. as fifth Generation head of the House of Beam, he supervised the making of Beam Bourbon and contributed to Beam's modern-day growth.

    Carl Beam--Fifth generation Beam Distiller was promoted to Vice President of James B. Beam Distillery in 1959 He retired in 1974. I have been told that his brother Earl was his assistant. Earl left Jim Beam and went to work for Heaven Hill when Harry Beam left. Carl's father, Park Beam and Jim Beam produced "Old Tub" Whiskey until prohibition in 1920.

    Booker Noe--Cousin of Carl, Master Distiller at the Distillery in Beam, Kentucky.

    Baker Beam son of Carl 6th generation Beam.

    David Beam brother to Baker 6th generation Beam.

    Heaven Hill
    ------------

    Joseph L. Beam--son of Joseph M.--Joseph L. Beam was a Master Distiller for more than 58 years. He retired from his post at Heaven Hill in 1945. He supervised consruction of Heaven Hill in 1934, was one of its owners and directed its plant operation for 11 years. After retiring from active duty he remained in a supervisory capacity for some time.
    One of the first original incorporators of Old Heaven Hill Springs. He sold his shares to the 5 Shapira brothers for $100.00 and 60 barrels of whiskey. After he retired his son Harry took his place as Master Distiller.

    American Wine and Liquor Journal November, 1937: Joseph L. had seven sons, and it is these seven, who today are continuing the tradition handed down to them, the manufaturing of Kentucky bourbon. Jospeh Elmo, the eldest of the seven boys is at T. W. Samuels, Deatsville as night distiller (he later worked for Bill Samuels Sr. when he developed Makers Mark). Roy is supeerintendent of Frankfort Distilleries, Louisville. Fredrick Otis is at Buffalo Springs, Stamping Ground. Wilmer is distiller at Burke Springs Loretto, Kentucky. Desmond is with Old Kennebec in Frankfort, Everett is distiller at Salmar in Cleveland, Ohio (he later went to work for Pennco Distillers and developed the renowned Michter's Pot Still Whiskey) and Harry is active distiller at Old Heaven Hill Springs, Bardstown, where his father is now Master Distiller.

    They all have worked at many distilleries. Joseph L., Wilmer and Roy worked at the Stitzel Weller Distillery under Julian P. VanWinkle. There is a letter (donated to the Getz Museum from Mrs. Wilmer Beam) written to my great uncle Wilmer Beam, c/o Yellowstone Distillery, 7th Street Road, Louisville, Ky.
    November 16, 1956

    Dear Wilmer:

    I saw a notice in the Courier Journal November 14th of your father's death which we all were distressed to hear. He certainly had a long rich life. As you know, he was our Master Distiller at Stitzel Distillery for a number of years, also I recall that several of you younger Beams were also there, and I must say we all enjoyed each other during that stay, and furthermore, I wish to advise, that all the whiskey made during that period, with the exception of the first day, was splendid--really wonderful whiskey. I think it can be truthfully said that your father was the Dean Distiller of his age.

    Please pass our kindest regards to all your brothers.

    Sincerely,

    Julian P. VanWinkle, President
    Stitzel Weller Distillery


    Earl Beam--became Master Distiller at Heaven Hill when Harry Beam left.
    Newspaper article about Earl Beam: I came to Heaven Hill 18 years ago. I've never known much of anythin but making whiskey. You might say it's my life. All the Beams, I guess you know, have been whiskey people--my brother Carl is Master Distiller over at the Jim Beam Distillery at Clermont. Jacob Beam was the first in the family, back in 1788. I am the grandson of David Beam, Jacob's son. The first Beam distillery was a small one at Clear Springs. We're of German ancestory. One of the first Beams tried making whiskey at Cumberland Gap, but that's coal and iron country over there and the whiskey tasted terrible, so he pushed on till he came into these parts wher the limestone springs made the best whiskey.

    Parker Beam son of Earl Beam--Parker took his fathers place as Master Distiller at Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. and still holds the position today. His son Craig Beam is now training to become a Master Distiller to take his dad's place.

    The Beam family is known throughout the world as The Finest and Best Kentucky Straight Bourbon distillers ever. You might think that the brand should say Beam on the label but a lot of their talents are "probably" still being practiced today in your favorite brand that does not have the Beam name on it.

    Jacob Beam 1760-1839 should be one of the first 6 names on the plaque at the Getz. A true Kentucky Bourbon tradition handed down from father to son for many generations.

    boone

    7th generation
    Jacob Beam



 

 

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