Arts and Culture

One of the most prominent names associated with Kentucky bourbon is Beam.

The Beam family began making whiskey in 1795, but it was Jim Beam who put the product on the map, building the brand bearing his name after Prohibition.

Today, Jim Beam bourbon and the company’s other varieties of spirits are among the most popular in the world.

Jim Beam’s great-grandson, Fred Noe, has documented the colorful history of the family business and his rise from bottling line worker to Jim Beam master distiller.

(Read an excerpt here.)

“I thought about doing some other things but in my heart, I think, the bourbon making was there,” he said.

His book is called Beam, Straight Up:  The Bold Story of the First Family of Bourbon.  

It was co-written with family friend Jim Kokoris.

Fred Noe spoke with WFPL’s Rick Howlett.

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Managing Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.