Photograph by Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
Bourbon is America’s whiskey, and few distillers have been making it for longer than the Beam family.
Seven generations of Beams have manufactured bourbon in Kentucky’s bluegrass hills, ever since a farmer named Jacob Beam first sold barrels of corn whiskey from an 18th century distillery he called Old Tub.
Jacob wouldn’t recognize the operation that makes Jim Beam today. The brand’s parent company -- Beam Inc., based in Deerfield, Illinois -- had $2.47 billion in sales from spirits last year. Bloomberg visited the Jim Beam distillery in Claremont, Kentucky, to give you a taste of their process.