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Legendary Bourbon Distiller Parker Beam Passes Away

Kevin Willis

A sixth-generation distiller has passed away after five decades with one of the most famous bourbon producers.

Parker Beam served as Master Distiller Emeritus for Heaven Hill distilleries, and was with the company for more than 50 years.

Heaven Hill announced Monday that Beam died following a years-long battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The Courier-Journal reports Beam was diagnosed with the incurable disorder in 2010, and raised funds for the ALS Association through his charitable organization, the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund.

Beam started working for Heaven Hill in 1960, under the leadership of his father, Earl. Parker became master distiller in 1975 and has been credited with helping create Heaven Hill’s first small batch and single barrel bourbons.

The award-winning news team at WKU Public Radio consists of Dan Modlin, Kevin Willis, Lisa Autry, and Joe Corcoran.
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