Jim Beam

Beam Suntory Building New Craft Distillery in Kentucky

Jul 25, 2019
Jim Beam

The company behind the world's top-selling bourbon, Jim Beam, is pouring tens of millions of dollars into a new Kentucky distillery to boost production of craft whiskeys.

Beam Suntory executives broke ground Thursday for the production facility at their flagship bourbon distilling operation in Clermont. It's part of a $60 million investment that includes raising Beam's profile by upgrading the "visitors' experience" at Clermont as bourbon tourism grows.

The company is looking to build on the momentum for its super-premium craft brands, which have experienced double-digit yearly growth. The bulk of sales are in the U.S.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet

As nearly 10,000 people descended on the small town of Owenton, Kentucky, for the annual county fair earlier this month, so too did the miles-long bourbon plume leftover from the fire at the Jim Beam warehouse upriver from the drinking water supply.

In the wake of the bourbon spill, thousands of fish died as dissolved oxygen levels plummeted in the Kentucky River.

But when Owen County residents turned on their taps, nothing but cool clean water came out.

Stu Johnson/WEKU

Authorities say Jim Beam will be fined for the warehouse fire that contaminated nearby waters with bourbon and killed fish.

Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman John Mura tells WKYT-TV that there will be a penalty. He says the state Department of Fish & Wildlife may also fine the company. The cost of the fines was unclear as of Wednesday.

A lightning strike set the Woodford County warehouse on fire last week and destroyed about 45,000 barrels of bourbon. The site burned for days and runoff filled with alcohol and firefighting chemicals bled into nearby rivers and creeks, removing oxygen from the water and killing fish.

Bourbon Plume Reaches Louisville’s Drinking Water

Jul 10, 2019
Ashlie Stevens/WFPL

The bourbon plume from last week’s Jim Beam warehouse fire has floated to Louisville’s drinking water intake in the Ohio River.

The Louisville Water Company says the city’s drinking water supply is safe, but the utility has adjusted its treatment strategy to protect the taste of the water and absorb any lingering odors.

“So Louisville Water has added a little bit of extra carbon to our water. Customers will not notice a difference at all,” said spokeswoman Kelley Dearing Smith.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet

A massive slug of Jim Beam bourbon from last week’s warehouse fire entered the Ohio River on Monday after traveling more than 20 miles down the Kentucky River, according to the latest from Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet.

The plume is expected to hug the shoreline and dilute as it enters the Ohio River where it could continue to pose a limited threat to fish and other aquatic life, said John Mura, cabinet spokesman.

“The plume, which is about 23 miles long, entered the Ohio River very early this morning and began dissipating,” Mura said.

Stu Johnson/WEKU

The fire that destroyed a massive Jim Beam warehouse filled with aging bourbon in Kentucky continued to burn Thursday as officials said the decision on whether to extinguish is still a day or two away.

Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler said in a telephone interview the only thing left burning is ethanol fumes. Officials believe letting the fumes burn will have less environmental impact than spraying the fire with water, which could wash the bourbon into a nearby creek that flows into the Kentucky River.

Thousands of Barrels of Jim Beam Bourbon Burn in Kentucky

Jul 3, 2019
Jim Beam

Firefighters in Kentucky are trying to extinguish a burning Jim Beam warehouse filled with about 45,000 barrels of bourbon.

Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler tells WKYT-TV that two barrel warehouses caught fire late Tuesday. Crews were able to put one out, but the other kept burning for hours.

Chandler says it may have been caused by lightning.

Jim Beam

Striking Jim Beam workers at two Kentucky distilleries have accepted a contract offer, ending a walkout that lasted nearly a week.

United Food and Commercial Workers union official Tommy Ballard says workers approved the proposal on a 204-19 vote Friday and will return to work Monday. The strike began last Saturday when Beam workers at two distilleries turned down a prior offer.

The workers' main complaint with the world's leading bourbon producer was not money but time. The union wanted more full-time workers hired, rather than a greater reliance on temporary workers.

Jim Beam

Union workers at one of Kentucky’s biggest bourbon distillers are going on strike.

The decision impacts Jim Beam employees who are members of the local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

The Kentucky Standard reports 201 workers voted to reject a contract offer by parent company Beam Suntory.

Nineteen voted to accept the offer.

Unless an agreement is reached soon, union workers will go on strike at midnight Friday.

Workers say they plan to protest with picket signs at the Jim Beam facility in Bullitt County, with a possible protest at the facility in Nelson County.

Jim Beam

Jim Beam is turning to Hollywood for its latest spokesperson as the company gets set to launch its first-ever global marketing campaign.  

In a video posted on the Jim Beam website, Master Distiller Fred Noe takes actress Mila Kunis on a tour of Jim Beam's Kentucky facilities.

Kunis, who’s starred in movies along with TV shows like That 70s Show and Family Guy, will be the centerpiece of Jim Beam’s new campaign branded “Make History”.  

The announcement of the world-wide marketing effort comes two weeks after Japanese company Suntory announced it was purchasing Jim Beam. The ads featuring Kunis start next month.

Jim Beam

A Japanese company has announced plans to acquire the producer of Jim Beam bourbon.

Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan, has agreed to purchase Beam Incorporated for $16 billion.

The Courier-Journal reports that under a deal approved by leadership at both companies, the current Beam management team would continue to lead the business from Beam headquarters outside Chicago, with Jim Beam maintaining its distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.

Beam Incorporated owns many of the most famous names in the world of bourbon, including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Bookers, and Old Grand-Dad.

The company’s portfolio also includes brands of vodka, rum, tequila, as well as Irish and Scotch whiskies.

The acquisition of Beam Incorporated by Suntory Holdings is expected to finalized in the second quarter of this year.