Jacob Beam sold his first batch of whiskey straight from the barrel in 1795. Since then, the Beam family name has either been on a bottle of bourbon whiskey or a Beam family descendant has been making whiskey in the role of what today we call Master Distiller ever since.
This week, at the ribbon cutting for the official grand re-opening of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Clermont, Nelson County, Kentucky that lineage was extended as 7th Generation Master Distiller Frederick ‘Fred’ Booker Noe III announced his son 8th Generation Distiller Frederick ‘Freddie’ Noe IV was promoted to Master Distiller of the Fred B. Noe Distillery.
If you have ever had the pleasure of hearing Fred Noe speak you know he’s not a shy man and he’s rarely short for words, typically colorful words, but in this moment, Fred was choked up as he handed Freddie a shiny new whiskey thief hand-crafted by Vendome Copper & Brass Works to commemorate the moment. You can see the emotional father and son moment in the video below. You can also watch the entire celebration ceremony here.
“The future of our company is the future of our family,” said Fred Noe. “The thing I wanted to do was to ensure we built a true home for the James B. Beam Distilling Co. Imagine my surprise when Freddie dedicated the new distillery, in my name, in 2019 at the groundbreaking. I had no clue it was coming. He really got me. The Fred B. Noe Distillery represents not only the future of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. but future of American whiskey. And that’s exactly why Freddie will be leading the next chapter, embodying the heritage and the legacy of our family with our history in distilling while pioneering the future of American whiskey. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my greatest honor to introduce my son, the new Master Distiller of the Fred B. Noe Distillery.
“I think I surprised him today, for a change. It was pretty tough, but we got it done. You know, I never really had a chance to work with my dad Booker Noe in the distillery creating products. I always wished I had because I would love to have heard what he had to say what a master distiller really was. And now I will have that chance to work with Freddie by my side. It’s going to be cool in the Fred B. Noe Distillery. It’s the first time in history of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. that two family members have worked side by side both holding the master distiller title.
“Freddie has always led by taste. Representing the traditions of America’s first family of bourbon in lending his creativity elevate new American whiskey profiles. Today is the first step as we prepare him to lead the James B. Beam Distilling Co. as the 8th generation master distiller. But I ain’t leaving just yet. So, join me in raising a glass, everyone needs a glass, I need a big glass.
“I want to thank those before us, and those that are with us today, as we embark on our next chapter. A symbol of what can be, a taste of the future of American whiskey, here’s to Freddie Noe, here’s to the future of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. and here’s to our beloved homeland Kentucky. Cheers!
“Damn, I needed that!”
Following in His Father’s Footsteps
“It is an honor beyond words to follow in my father’s footsteps,” shared Freddie Noe. “I will continue to honor the 227 years of family craft and experience in my work every day by dedicating myself to making genuine quality whiskey while pushing the brand forward.”
While Fred Noe will maintain his role as Master Distiller, overseeing the James B. Beam Distilling Company’s portfolio of brands that include Jim Beam® Bourbon, Knob Creek® Bourbon, Basil Hayden® and others, Freddie Noe will oversee the Fred B. Noe Distillery as Master Distiller. In this role, Freddie will experiment with new fermentation, distillation, and blending techniques to produce category-defining and boundary-pushing whiskey of the highest quality. Freddie will also lead experiential distillation sessions and seminars with hands-on activities in the blending lab.
Fred had always been inspired by his own father, Booker Noe, who created the original small-batch bourbons. Now, Freddie will continue leading this effort with some of the James B. Beam Distilling Co’s most popular super-premium whiskies such as Little Book® and Bookers®, created by his grandfather, Booker. Freddie was often referred to as Little Book by Booker because of the similarities between themselves. Bookers started the super-premium bourbon segment and now, as Master Distiller, Freddie plans to launch the next generation of super-premium whiskies for the James B. Beam Distilling Co, just like his grandfather.
The 'Fred B. Noe Distillery' in Clermont, Kentucky
Also housed at the Fred B. Noe Distillery is a state-of-the-art classroom for the University of Kentucky’s James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits. Freddie developed an apprenticeship program after the institute was launched, with 200 hours of customized technical content for James B. Beam Distilling Company operators, wherein future leaders in the American Whiskey industry will come together to learn the genuine whiskey-making craft. The institute is designed in partnership with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Distillers Association to educate the next generation through a first-of-its-kind curriculum that covers the skills needed to succeed in the distilled spirits industry.
Grand Reopening of The Homestead at James B. Beam Distilling Co.
In addition to the ceremony to celebrate the promotion of Freddie to Master Distiller it was a day to celebrate the official grand reopening of the re-imagined James B. Beam Distilling Co. homestead and visitor experience and the newly opened Fred B. Noe Distillery and The Kitchen Table restaurant.
The Fred B. Noe Distillery was part of a multi-million-dollar renovation to bring to life the rich stories of the First Family of Bourbon and the legendary brands that chart the history of American Whiskey. This revamp includes an updated visitor experience, offering behind-the-scenes peeks at their incredible brands, a tasting room and even customizable experiences.
–––––– TRENDING STORIES ––––––
Casehouse – Knob Creek Single Barrel Customized Bottles
The reimagination of the homestead came to life through the help of world-renowned designers and builders, including LOVE, who led creative direction design, parent brand identity and the visitor experience, and Pearlfisher | Hakuhodo, who developed the brand architecture, creative and communications strategy.
Additional partners include Bergmeyer who led the development of The Kitchen Table, the Fred B. Noe Distillery VIP experience and the campus visitor experience, Joseph & Joseph + Bravura Architects who designed the base distillery build, OJB who designed the landscape across the entire campus, and Buzick Construction, Inc. and Shawmut Design and Construction who all led construction efforts. Project management and owner’s representation for the visitor experience were led by Stys Hospitality Initiative.
Look who showed up to join in the celebration – Wild Turkey Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, an American whiskey legend.
Beam Announces $60 Million Investment, Breaks Ground on Fred B. Noe Craft Distillery & Returns to James B. Beam Distilling Co.
James B. Beam Distilling Co. Releases Details on its $60 Million Reimagined Visitor Experience Opening in 2021
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- Jacob Beam: 1760–1834 (Originally spelled Boehm the family name was changed to Beam in the mid-1700s after emigrating from Germany to the U.S.)
- David Beam: 1802-1854
- David M. Beam: 1833-1913
- James B. Beam (Jim Beam): 1864-1947
- Jeremiah Beam: 1899-1977
- Booker Noe (Frederick Booker Noe II): 1929-2004
- Fred Noe (Frederick Booker Noe III): Born 1957
- Freddie Noe (Frederick Booker Noe IV): Born 1987