Jim Beam was first distilled in 1795, and the company is still family owned. There’s a Jim Beam in every state of the union, but there’s only one I call home. Kentucky.
That’s right ladies, gentlemen, and spirits drinkers of all persuasions – when you drink Jim Beam Bourbon or any of its other whiskies (like Knob Creek), you’re drinking from the good ol’ Bluegrass State! In fact, “Jim” – as we Kentuckians know him – has been a fixture of our state for over 200 years! And he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. That’s because Kentucky is known as “The Homeplace to Happiness. And we’re proud of it!”
For many, the warm feeling they get when they drink a Jim Beam or other Kentucky Bourbon comes from the fact that Kentucky is “the home place to happiness.” While this may not be accurate, I’m here today to tell you that IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE FULL OF HOPE AND ENTHUSIASM AND BELIEVE IN THE BOURBON. Because we’re going to tell you an amazing story. It’s a story of greatness. It’s a story of success. It’s a story of one man who got his start right here in Kentucky and went on to become an American icon. And it starts with his name…Jim Beam.
It all started in 1795 when Jacob Beam arrived in Kentucky. He got a job as a cooper making barrels for storing food, and soon went into the business of distilling whiskey. Over the next couple of decades, Jacob and his son, Jim, refined their process until they had what we know today as bourbon whiskey – named after Bourbon County where it was first made. As you may have guessed from the name Jim Beam, his son’s name was Jim. And through the years, the Beam family continued to produce whiskey in this small village right here in Kentucky. But even though we’re proud of it, we’re not going to brag about it.
But all that would change in 1807 when Jacob and Jim sold their whiskey to another distiller by the name of Elijah Pepper. And Elijah used his new found wealth to found a company that would become one of America’s most famous brands: Brown-Forman Corporation, named after his son Elijah Jr., or Eli as he was more commonly known. Eli had been working with his father since he was a boy, and knew how to distill fine bourbon whiskey. He was also very shrewd and ambitious.
By 1863, when the Civil War began, Eli had established a thriving business in Kentucky. But Eli was not one to rest on his laurels. Instead of sitting back and waiting out the war, he used his connections to build a whiskey empire – starting with securing the rights to sell Jim Beam whiskey all across the country. Then he shipped his product around the world until it could be found in every civilized nation on earth. But that wasn’t enough for Eli Pepper. He wanted more than just success – he wanted history. And there’s no better way to secure a place in history than by having someone famous drink your whiskey.