Whiskey Distillery Tour: Jim Beam

welcome to whiskey comm we're fine

spirits meet and today I'm at the Jim

Beam distillery the Jim Beam the story

was founded by Jakob boom a German who

came to America and started making his

own whiskey here in the Bourbon County

distillery is actually not named after

Jakob boom which he renamed himself to

Jacob beam but the his grand grand

grandson in the fourth generation the

James beam and this is actually he was

called Jim so it's called the Jim Beam

distillery today the the stories in is

in the hands of Fred know who is the

seventh generation in the family and he

runs the distillery in the old tradition

with the old mash bill and let's find

out what this is all about I'm standing

right next to the mass shop where all

the grain is put in on the far right we

have the corn in the middle we have the

malted barley and on the Left we have

the right this is all being cooked at

about 215 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit this

is roughly let's say yeah 101 to 105

degrees Celsius add a bit of oil

pressure after it's been cooked so the

starch just split up for the sugar

it's being pumped up pumped over into

the fermentis the yeast is added and

fermentation takes place I'm standing

next to the big fermenters the Jim Beam

plant here has 19 fermentis with a

capacity of 45,000 gallons and all of

these 45,000 gallons we have 600 gallons

of yeast the whole mash during the

fermentation process is cooled down to

92 degrees Fahrenheit that is roughly

about 33 degrees Celsius and that lets

the least develop in a good way so we

get a nice 10 percent alcoholic beer

that is then pumped into the bol and

then ready for fermentation I'm signing

right next to the Jim Beam column still

this is the first still and the column

still is six stories tall and inside it

is copper the copper is very important

because their catalytic reactions going

on and making the Bourbon smoother after

the console you have a spirit at 125

proof that is 62.5 ABV after this first

destination the spirit goes down into

the basement where we have the doubler

and the doubler does the second

desolation again with copper and that

takes it up to 135 proof and that is

67.5 abb this is then called the high


oh yeah and this these high wines is

white whiskey and this is ready to be

put into the barrels for maturation so

we got a good verb my lovin so now we're

at the Jim Beam warehouse this warehouse

here is nine stories tall it's one of

the many warehouses to beam owns they

have in total 1.8 million barrels in the

property of the Jim Beam company if you

look at one of these barrels they all

label the right way you have the company

James speed beam Distilling corporation

then you have berm whiskey in it this

here is a bit scribbled up it says that

it's been a bottle at the right strength

filled at the right strength the cask

then you have the distillery number

which is 230 and the last year is the

code for the date it reads like that you

have 14 stands for 2014 d is the 4th

letter in the alphabet so it's the 4th

months this means it's April and the

23rd so it's 23rd of April 2014 the

warehouse is not heated or not chilled

so they all mature in a very natural way

and you don't have any warehouse

rotation so the different whiskies in

different levels mature in a different

way because the the heat rises up in

your warehouse so the the Bourbon in

very top layers mature faster and there

is a so called sweet spot it's in the

fifth layer and there you get the best

burbs that are now being bottled in the

small batches and the super premium

Bourbons so that's that's the secret

behind the maturation in the warehouses

this is one really cool thing here this

is the 13th million cask that has been

filled at the Jim Beam distillery in

2014 it was signed by Fred know the

master distiller

by his son Freddie no who is already

working at the distillery and learning

from his father

and all the steps inside the distillery

then Baker beam is his cousin and Jim

Beam no is another cousin that works at

the distillery and this cask shows how

strong the bean brand actually is yeah

if you have 13 million casks filled with

your whiskey then you know you are a

global brand we're now at the dumping

floors where all the barrels come in

that are ready for bottling

these are here are not Creek four

barrels that about nine years old at

least nine years old what these guys

here do is they drill the bong hole out

put in the breathing straw and the

barrels are then put on top and the

whiskey runs out while the whiskey runs

out it's being filtered through a metal

plate with small holes in it and then

all the the charcoal that is loosened up

during the maturation process also comes

out and it's being kept into these trays

the whiskey now goes down to bottling

and it's being filled into the bottle so

this is your unfiltered whiskey for you

oh yeah bit strong but also very strong

with flavor this is where the empty

barrels ending up there I get a new bong

hole and then they're being rolled into

the truck start there and

internationally shipped the beam Suntory

group is pretty big so there are a lot

of takers like Laphroaig a Highland Park

they're really keen on the the fresh

barrels that just had the burb min and

they still have a lot of vanilla and oak

notes in them so I'm here at the Knob

Creek single barrel line and the cool

thing is every visitor can bottle their

own bottle so let's do this first step

is to rinse the bottle and you're

instead actually with whiskey with

bourbon so you don't dilute your whiskey

with anything you also got a new clean

bottle so I'm going to label this here

so we can see my bottle being filled and


thank you enjoy that last ball okay yeah

so that's now dipping with wax and you

can even have the own signature on the

bottle you can do your your fingerprint

on the top

and we Wetmore taken unprecedented for a


and she'll be good

thank you very much so this is your Knob

Creek single barrel individually made

for me I'm going to take that home with

me very nice here I'm standing in front

of a quality storage house that stores

two bottles for every bottling they make

and that stores it for two years so the

Jim Beam distillery can prove yes

this batch was right and they can pull a

quality sample from every batch they

made two years ago this year is Fred no

he is the seventh generation of the

family and he is the master distiller

right now at the distillery and he will

talk us through the small batch Bourbons

and yeah

thank you for having us our pleasure

Benedict glad for you to be here in

Clermont with me today yeah I'm glad to

be here it's Kentucky is such a nice

country we've traveled up and down and

yeah so I have a few questions for you

our own question would be um I've talked

about that Jakub boom the your very very

old grandfather um was from Germany

called Jakob boom have you ever thought

about making a bottling for Germany

called Yakubu no we never have really

thought about that at this point but now

that you say that we may have to do a

commemorative bottle for oh wow that

will be cool and great-great-great

great-grandfather and take them boom we

do have roots in Germany we don't really

know exactly where but family did come

from Germany many many many years ago

tubing is pretty popular Joanie we sell

a lot of your stuff and yeah so so what

are we having today today we're going to

look at our small batch bourbon

collection which were developed by my


Booker know and the first we will look

at is basil Hayden this particular

bottle right here okay basil Hayden is

named for the distiller who started the

old granddad distillery back in the


okay that's where the name comes from

this bourbon we double the amount of rye

that we put into the mash bill so we

have corn rye and malted barley this one

has a much higher percentage of right

than the other three in the collection

so I'm looking at a say here eight years

old so I'm looking at a bit of more

spicy and more MORE I see a little drier

the dry okay you know this one is very

it's 40% ABV this one is very easy on

the palate mmm which we're seeing a lot

of folks who are just starting to

experiment with bourbon mmm enjoy the

flavor of basil Hayden because it is

such an easy to drink bourbon I think

you're going to see it's has nice aroma

a good body

a real click quick clean finish that

doesn't overpower your palate and people

who are just trying to experiment with

bourbon a little bit have enjoyed it

quite a bit I mean you see you've got

some nice good golden amber color to it

oh yeah that's what I like about the

bourbon it has no coloring and still you

have that great car yeah well all the

color gets comes from the charred white

oak barrel that we store the Bourbon in

when we distill it it's crystal clear

you saw on your tour yeah the white dog

I had a bit of white dog and I have to

say I think bourbon is all about

maturation I think the barrel the barrel

helps it quite a bit I mean this one

definitely has good aging when you knows

it you could pick up the spiciness oh

yeah the increased amount of rye please

not it's the spiciness but it's not as

as attacking like like any I had a few

others but all right that's why I say

it's a very easy to drink bourbon hmm

because it's easy on the senses the nose

to taste the finish so it's 80 proof 40

percent eighty proof 40 40

saying 80-proof okay you see the

spiciness oh no now that comes a

specialist and then when you swallow it

it's a bit glowing mm-hmm and then the

finish is very quick you know it doesn't

overpower your palate yeah oh there

comes a bit of dryness but I like it

LaRue hmm that's one that we're seeing

quite a bit of growth on here in the

United States okay people are

discovering basil Hayden and liking it

quite a unique design of bottle you have

that cup of band around it mm-hmm but I

like really like it that's a good Burma

I like the small Dutch burns a lot now

this one is doing very very well with

very little marketing support it's not

one we've advertised a lot this one has

really grown a lot from word of mouth Oh

mixology folks around the country have

discovered it and are using it in

cocktails and on the rocks neat you know

it's a very versatile bourbon that folks

really have grown to with increased

amount of females that are getting into

bourbon now women in bourbon are

becoming very popular here in the States

yes I saw Haven is a favorite of a lot

of the ladies who are discovering

bourbon and liking it okay

very nice very nice okay I have another

question for you okay um for the product

range we see a lot of increase like you

have you know have the small batch

Bourbons you have the courage both honey

and and other stuff so your your your

propane just growing

is there any reason behind that well I

think people who are discovering bourbon

Brook there's a couple reasons and

people are discovering you know how

versatile bourbon is and the people who

are into bourbon like new things okay

we're trying new things and exploring

new avenues you know with the in few

stuff as you say that occurs the honey

Bourbons the cherries you know this has

brought people to the Bourbon category

that maybe never looked at bourbon

before you know this is a totally new

segment in the bourbon category with the

infusions and then the old classic

cocktails are getting people looking at

bourbon more yeah I mean in the past

when people send whiskey the only

thought of scotch now when people say

whiskey they want to say what kind of

whiskey because bourbon is moving right

up there with them and you know I think

cocktails are helping education people

are discovering that there's a lot to

bourbon and not just a shot in a beer

like you know in a past yeah you know

when when I thought about burden before

I entered the whiskey business I always

thought about I don't know a cowboy

cowboy Belling under the bar yeah in a

tumbler and ya know only a drink drink

yeah what's called Dusty's throat and

engine down but that's I don't know the

the old-school bourbon if you there

still is it's still a lot of heritage

and I don't know this there's a lot of

to it so and I think education you know

consumers are learning more about what

they are drinking and they are learning

that bourbon has a lot to offer and so

they're giving it a try and like say the

popularity of cocktails whether it's the

old classics are the new ingredients

with fresh juices you know mingled with

the Bourbons and the balance is good you

see people really enjoying say a

Manhattan or an old-fashioned or a

whiskey sour where before a whiskey sire

was just sweet and sour mix now the

mixology folks are squeezing fresh

lemons and making simple syrup getting

the balance right and making a drink

really refreshing and tasty and you see

people drinking bourbon all year long

not just in the wintertime when it's

cold okay good we're going to look at

another one of the small batch Bourbons

which is the number one

selling super premium bourbon in the

world Knob Creek okay you know Knob

Creek is named for a little area here in

Kentucky where President Abraham Lincoln

was born you know this one is uh is very

very popular it is like I say the number

one selling super premium bourbon and it

is really grown by leaps and bounds this

one a lot of folks in the mixology world

prefer it with the Manhattan cocktail

because it stands up very well okay this

one is bottled at 50% for a be sent okay

so we're stepping up in strength more

kick behind that a little more age on

the whiskey its aged nine years nine

years so you know you see the color is a

little deeper and darker than the basil

Hayden that we looked at before this one

when you knows it you're going to see

more of the wood coming through totally

different nose feel on then the basil

Hayden got a little vanilla that came up

all right

that's coming from that white oak barrel

identities raged in okay yeah but

sweetness to come through there's some

sweetness also get the boot now know

when you taste it it's going to be

bigger and bolder on the palate than the

basil Hayden and the finish will linger

with you much longer than the first one

you taste okay longer fingers then

hmm oh yeah

opens up well in your mouth and oh yeah

okay the 50% give it little more body

yeah stands up it has more my uncle to

carry the flavors yeah yeah hmm it

releases it longer it stays longer in

your mouth like I say this one is a very

very good bourbon for the fan of the

Manhattan cocktail because with the

dilution and the remove you know you

need a bigger bolder bourbon to stand up

to the remove and then the dilution when

it's stirred and and served up mmm I

come I can't quite make out which ones I

don't know would say have you because

this one is spicier and this one has

more of an an oaky feel but I would say

it's even though it's as 50% it's I

don't know lighter than the other ones

just smooth got a great flavor I mean

that's the reason now I think it's done

so well is the balance the aging you

know they're just the right amount of

wood with the strength all those factors

come together to create this bourbon and

to make it so pleasing to the palate

okay nice nice so um on the way down

here I saw a plant called Booker no

plant do you have many plants around


yep to to stall the won the Booker no

plants name for my father after he

passed away that's the one that he

started he worked here at Clermont when

they purchased that facility he went

over there and started that plant and I

ran it until he passed away okay so they

named it after dad okay so right after

he passed away called the book used to

be called just a Boston plan

okay I'm Booker no plant Booker no plan

yeah I've seen senior your what's he

called heritage tree mmm-hmm visit the

center's alright great family members

were involved in the motivators nose

okay so great great so we're having the

bakers also bakers yeah

baker's it's named for my second cousin

Baker bean he actually was the last beam

to live in this house that we are in

right now okay Baker lived here and then

he moved he built a home and moved down

the road about a mile and he he was a

distillery manager here at the Clermont

plan and his bourbon is aged seven years

and bottled at fifty three and a half

percent our 107 fruit it's a little

bigger and bolder than the Knob Creek

and the basil Hayden you know this one

is a very tasty bourbon of the four it

really stands up you'll feel it has a

different mouthfeel totally

you'll feel it almost want to make you

pucker up don't draw your mouth okay

you'll get the big vanilla notes in the

nose I think fans of cigars

people who smoke big heavy cigars okay

they really like this bourbon that goes

well with a big heavy cigar because it

is there like anything like particularly

it goes well with cigars it's like the

vanilla oh I take the vanilla and in the

big taste in your mouth if you're going

to smoke being heavy cigars mm-hmm you

need to drink a big heavy whiskey they

tell me the guys at Cigar Aficionado

magazine okay so you're looking at a

strong whiskey to to go with the the

strong flavors right off the cigar if

you were going to smoke a lighter cigar

you might be more apt to pick basil

Hayden okay they say you know you kind

of pair your smoke with what you're

drinking or vice versa and this one

they've tell me you know job don't smoke

that many cigars on the money that

better yeah they tell me this one is

what if you're going to smoke a big

heavy cigar you need a big heavy bourbon

to stand up with it and that's it's

interesting you bring out a good product

and what people do with your product

right okay

not up to you but you realize that after

a few four years everything oh we sell

that a lot to that market why is that ah

because it pairs well with cigars the

building is an experience thing yeah you

know when you're drinking your bourbon

you're using with your friends hmm and

if you have your your big cigar maybe

you're with your friends celebrating or

enjoying and relaxing with a bourbon and

you know that's what they kind of touch

they go together so you're not going to

tell them they're wrong because you know

I like the Bourbon yeah it's just

another good reason to enjoy Baker's

bourbon hmm definitely give your now

feel definitely feel that is a bit more

alcohol in that mmm okay you feel though

your mouth come yeah makes you want to

[ __ ] her up a little bit almost I don't

know if it feels like but if it will be

so I don't know it's like a glowing or


okay it's quite at myself isn't it is it

effort I know when adding when Dad

developed these Bourbons some of our

competitors tried to say that it was the

same bourbon just different bottles

really and my dad would say they

obviously haven't tasted them first when

you've tasted three and you can see that

they're all three different the one that

stands out for me the most

up til now is the Basel hey Dryden

because of the strong ride but this one

I don't know it's still glowing a bit oh

yeah it's got a long going finish but I

mean you can really wear off you you

still feel that if you taste it and you

have that so I get later that's sweet

that's where I think the guys that are

you know you take a little sip of your

bourbon maybe take a draw off the cigar

mmm and the two you know the bakers are

still in your mouth and you exhale the

smoke you know they're still there it

doesn't go away like the basil Hayden it

goes the finish goes away real quickly

this one

angers much longer in your mouth as I'm

sure you you're seeing yeah

I think many people have already found

out about your small batch bourbon

I won't cost quite one question for my

father is will there be any I don't know

other bottlings of the basil Hayden

Baker's Booker's like with the the Knob

Creek you have the knob creek Ryu have

the small batch of the single barrel

single barrel there possibly could be

some line extensions down the road with

with these you know the things that we

you know right now we're experiencing

such a big demand for these that the

barrels we laid down for these products

if you're going to extend the line you

have to have extra barrels yeah the

demand is so great at this point we

don't have a lot of extra barrels laying

around to do line extensions so to do it

we would have to lay down more let it

age and then set it aside and say this

is going to be safe for a bookers single

barrel project or a basil Hayden's

single barrel project so I mean there's

you know there's the recent demand

influx has tied our hands quite a bit on

you know releasing a lot more products

in these same lines because these

barrels age you know seven eight nine

years yeah but all the years they're

written down here are not just the good

age but also your reaction time to to

demand increases so and there is a

reason you know the aging you know it

makes it what it is so we're looking at

things weird without the aging would

have the white dog and I have to say I'm

not quite a fan of for jock the barrel

helps the white dog a whole lot yeah

definitely it definitely needs to be

aged I mean it is a it's a raw of spirit

in that form but the barrel really tames

it and brings the character and color

and a lot of flavor to the bourbon yeah

that's what is great

about whiskey aging I'm amazed that you

have so much ages written on the bottles

because on the Indus in the Scotch

community we all experience now the NASS

bottles the edge that must a column or

the basil Hayden right now is actually

that age statement is gonna go away it's

gonna go away all and it's but the thing

is we're still using that all it does is

just loosens up inventory that's close

to eight years old okay you know if you

say eight years old every drop has to be

eight years old obviously where you can

find some barrels that are seven years

six months that still have the same

taste profile depending on whether it's

stored in the rock house so it opens up

more barrels to be bottled so that's

where the no age statement is it's it's

actually it's kind of tall ready come on

basil Hayden but we've experienced no

one complaining of ever seeing a

difference because we're still mingling

the barrels together okay you're getting

a good balance and flavor is still as

long as the people who get a good

product I think they will appreciate it

right I mean it just unties our hands

quite a bit okay

taking the age statement off as long as

you keep the product profile taste

profile the same you're still you're

still looking people who enjoy it you

change it they will know and they will

let you know about it real quickly

definitely for sure yeah

okay so last but certainly not least we

have my father's bourbon Booker's

bourbon you know this one is bottled

uncut unfiltered straight from the

barrel straight from the barrel mm-hmm

okay this one has no water added at any

point it gets distilled at 125 proof or

sixty two and a half percent that way

when it goes into the barrel there's no

water added we cannot put any of the

Bourbons in the barrel it higher than

sixty two and a half percent okay so

anything gets to still higher you have

to take demineralized water and bring it

down to the stats strength so

it's nothing added it on at the at the

filling in the cost you have no water

learning I'm still okay um when you take

it out it had water added either all

about his interest I select little

barrel dad selected the barrels up until

he passed away okay day I select the

barrels that goes into each batch of

Booker's bourbon and it's something I

take a lot of pride in because it is my

father's bourbon that is his handwriting

the original batch he hand wrote the

labels nice that's why they picked up on

the handwriting okay very nice and it

was something that we did as an

experiment we gave the first batch of

bottles most of them away to our

distributor friends to see if there was

a market for high-end Bourbons this was

back in 1987 1987 okay that was before

any of these super premiums were ever

created and so doing this dad opened the

door to a whole new category of bourbon

a super premium Bourbons he went with a

small batch style of making where you

mingle the barrels together for

consistency he's a good friend Elmer T

Lee went the single barrel route with

Blanton's oh yeah that was all in the

same time frame so how big is a small

batch how many barrels are we looking at

today we're dumping right at 500 barrels

500 barrels to a batch in the early days

200 200 okay so we're looking at say

thousands that's like 2,000 bowls or

probably yeah it depends on how much

angels share okay no you're losing 4% a

year so you know that comes into play

what's left in the barrel with Booker's

whatever's in the barrel that's what you

get okay with the others we add a little

water to bring them down to the bottling

strength so your number of bottles will

increase but with this one whatever

comes out of the barrels is what go

into the bottles and that's what we get

so we're looking at a bit even darker

color them because I don't add water

these barrels get stored in the sweet

spot of the rock house the center cut

the center cut which is the 5th and 6th

floors of these 9 storey buildings ok so

you get the color is a good balance you

don't get barrels that are stored up

high you get a lot more color comes from

that barrel hmm

barrels stout started stored down low

don't get as much you'll see the

strength on the upper stored barrels

will go up the strength on the lower

tiered barrels will go down this goes in

and stays relatively the same

ok now you got your big vanilla notes

just like we've been talking about yeah

oh yeah

this is a bit stronger I can already

smell that you know and dad's theory on

this bourbon was to allow you the

consumer to reduce it to the strength

they want to drink it you can take just

a little splash of water put it in there

and open it up little bust up the

molecules and really change the whole

experience or maybe a cube of ice put it

in there

swirl it as the ice melts it releases

the water mmm

it will open it up a little bit but

dad's theory was for the consumer

because all these have had water added

to bring them down to these bottling

strengths this one he allows you to add

the water if you choose does that's nice

I think most of the people will taste

the first time they will taste it

straight away and you can always take a

taste and then add a little splash to

see what it does to it because it does

change the character of it definitely


it's sweet it and starting to nut I saw

old but now you you really paid take it

up when your saliva is in it but if you

take just a tiny drop okay just

experiment here you'll see that it

greatly changes it opens it up and makes

the bouquet change considering I'll

swirl it around a little bit and now if

you look smell the nose you'll see that

it's set it's opened up and it's even

more aromatic with just a little bit of

water yeah yeah like the high-strength

one's waiting that you can open up

because if you take go ahead say a

forty-percent one add water it opens it

up as well but the chance of diluting it

too much so you have very easy watery

substance right it's just a bit to it

and if you add any ice to it it keeps

getting diluted as the ice melts you

know this particular batch I have to

look I can't see without my glasses this

is one twenty eight point nine so it's

sixty four point four five percent so

this is always always varying from your

various that's the batch okay so that's

the thing you have to look at the little

sticker to see the can tells you tells

you the age of the youngest barrels in

the batch that's the age statement on

there classify that again okay youngest

barrels in this particular batch were

seven years seven months and 13 days old

okay so you actually allowed to write

the specific than age I'm gonna state

the age the youngest barrel in the batch

is the age of the entire batch yeah I

always thought that you had to round it

to the no no rounding no no

you don't have to okay on out see the

exact age of the youngest barrel would

be now you could call this

seven-year-old chemist cold seven we

can't call it a yeah yeah the rules for

Burma quite strict right yes sir but

very strict I like it that you keep the

rules for bourbon quite strict because

no know what you're getting in the

bottle definitely no today's you have

all these additives and stuff all right

no additives in here huh no and that's

the thing everybody has to play by those


definitely so I mean if you see a bottle

of heads bourbon if it's made here in

the United States they follow the same

rules as I follow and you can compare

bottle to bottle by reading the labels

definitely so yeah I think we're we're

through thank you for having us great

whiskey's you have here Thank You

Ervin's thank you though I highly

recommend you you check out all the

Bourbons yourself and thank you for

watching thank you for having us and if

you like this video then please share it

with your friends um come visiting oh

yeah if you're ever in a state to come

visit still house yeah it's it's been

great being here all the visitors center

and all the distillery is great to see

tours and everything everybody gets a

true not just you yeah yeah thank you

for watching