Spent an hour or so at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY.
Today, Jim Beam Brands manufactures and markets nearly 80 brands of distilled spirits and fine wines in 160 countries across the globe. With over 200 years of history under its belt, Jim Beam has long been the world's best selling bourbon.
Shortly after the Revolutionary War, the newly formed U.S. government encouraged homesteaders to settle west of the Appalachian Mountains. Settlers were promised 60 acres of land in return for clearing the land and growing corn for at least two years. Among the homesteaders was Jacob Beam, a miller from Germany by way of Virginia, who in 1788 brought his family and his belongings--including a copper still--to Bourbon County, Kentucky. And the rest, as they say, is history.
We enjoyed the visit but it was not what we expected. There is no “tour” of the distillery. There will be a tour starting in 2010 but they are now in the midst of revamping part of the property to accommodate that tour.
We did see some some freshly filled barrels headed for the rack house for aging. The big highlight of the visit. Actually that is not true, we were given a piece of bourbon chocolate candy that was darn tasty.
Our time consisted of hanging out in the gift store waiting to watch a movie. Going to the Beam house to watch the movie (7 minutes), then getting to taste a couple of Jim Beam small batch brands. Now that I think of it, maybe the tasting was the highlight. One of the brands was Basil Hayden's and it was excellent – really smooth, a super good sipping bourbon. The other was 107 proof Bakers – it was ok after adding an ice cube but the first sip about did me in. Don't worry – they only gave us about 2 sips of each kind.
The moral of the story is – if you want to go to a distillery to take a tour – make sure they have a tour before you go.