CLERMONT, KY - Jim Beam® Bourbon, the world's No. 1 bourbon, made history today with the filling of its 14 millionth barrel of bourbon since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. The milestone barrel — a bourbon industry first — was personally filled and sealed by seventh generation master distiller Fred Noe and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin at the company's flagship distillery in Clermont, Ky.
"History is what you make it," said Noe. "And, here at Jim Beam, we're proud to make it one barrel at a time. This milestone is cause for celebration both for our employees and bourbon fans around the globe. Fourteen million is a big number, and it says a lot about the success of our whiskey and the growing passion for bourbon around the world."
The historic milestone, achieved just two years after the filling of Jim Beam's 13 millionth barrel, serves as a testament to the continued global bourbon boom.
"Kentucky bourbon has become not only an American icon, but an international symbol of our proud heritage and craftsmanship," said Governor Bevin. "I'm pleased to toast Jim Beam's impressive milestone, rich history and spirited future."
The 14 millionth barrel will join the nearly two million barrels of bourbon currently aging in Jim Beam's rackhouses across the Commonwealth. It will be stored inside the distillery's historic rackhouse D, a nine-story warehouse re-built by Jim Beam after Prohibition on the Clermont distillery grounds. The rackhouse is open to visitors as part of the Jim Beam® American Stillhouse tour.
According to the Kentucky Distillers' Association, bourbon is now a $3 billion state industry, providing more than 15,000 jobs and generating more than $166 million in tax revenues annually. Over the past five years, the bourbon industry has grown 35 percent.
As the producer of more than half the world's bourbon, Jim Beam has played a leading role in this growth. At one time known for primarily one brand, the iconic Jim Beam portfolio now offers a wide range of award-winning expressions including Jim Beam Black®, Jim Beam® Apple, Jim Beam® Single Barrel, Jim Beam® Devil's Cut®, Jim Beam® Honey, Jim Beam® Maple, Red Stag by Jim Beam®, Jim Beam® Bonded, Jim Beam® Rye and Jim Beam® Distiller's Masterpiece.
"When Jacob Beam, Jim Beam's great, great grandfather, filled his first barrel of bourbon in 1795, he had no real idea of what he was starting," said Noe, who has been on hand for the previous six "million barrel" milestones, starting at the filling of the 8 millionth barrel in 1998. "All he wanted to do was make the best bourbon possible. The growth of this company reflects that dedication. For more than 220 years, we've made every barrel count."
Beam has continued to expand its operations in Kentucky, fueled by a commitment to innovate and meet surging global consumer demand. Over the next five years, Beam Suntory plans to invest more than $1 billion to make bourbon in the Commonwealth.