Take Us Along Winner

Jodie Niles

This week's Take Us Along winner is Jodie Niles of Milwaukee, Wis., who took Wisconsin Auto & RV along on a trip to the Jim Beam Distillery in Frankfort, Ky. She is shown with a copy of the magazine in front of the building.

Kentucky has a bourbon history and tradition that dates back centuries. The drink takes its name from Bourbon County, Ky., once known for shipping liquor down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. The name Jim Beam comes from the man who rebuilt the business after prohibition. There have been seven generations of the Beam family involved with the production of bourbon whiskey. The Beam family history is interesting, to say the least. In the late 18th century, members of the Bohm family came from Germany and settled in Kentucky. They changed the spelling of their name to Beam. Johannes Beam (1770-1834) was a farmer and began producing whiskey in the style that would become bourbon. Around 1795 Jacob Beam produced corn whiskey, called Old Jake Beam. David Beam (1802-1854) took over the family company in 1820. He was 18 years old at the time. David M. Beam (1833-1913) moved the distillery to Nelson County and began shipping his bourbon via rail. Jim Beam (1864-1947) took over the family business prior to prohibition and then rebuilt it after prohibition. The James B. Beam Distilling Company was founded in 1935 by four men, including Jeremiah Beam (1899-1977). Eventually Jeremiah gained full ownership of the company. Frederick Booker Noe II, (1929-2004) became the master distiller of Jim Beam and the sixth generation of the Beam family to make bourbon. His death came after an extended illness. His son, Frederick Booker Noe III, said. "A grandson of the distiller Jim Beam, Booker Noe worked at Jim Beam distilleries in Boston, Ky., and nearby Clermont for almost half a century." Fred Noe (1957-present) is the current distiller and the seventh generation of the Beam family. Thanks for taking us along!