Sunday, July 30, 2017

Baker Beam's Birthday Is Tomorrow


Baker Beam (in 1992), sampling new make at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY. (from the documentary, "Made and Bottled in Kentucky")
Baker Beam turns 81 tomorrow. Beam Suntory is promoting the anniversary with the 'Baker's 81 Bar Salute,' and conducting a state-wide toast to Baker Beam on his 81st Birthday, at 7:36 PM. (Baker was born in 1936, so they used the year as a time, 19:36, i.e., 7:36 PM.)

Simultaneous parties, known as Baker�s Birthday Bashes, will be thrown at bars across Kentucky from 6 PM- 9PM. They are using the following hashtags to follow the Salute: #bakersbourbon,  #bakers81barsalute, #bakersbirthdaybash

Baker and his younger brother, David, shared distiller duties at Clermont for many years. Their father, Earl 'Shucks' Beam, was distiller there before them, as was his father, Park Beam, Jim Beam's younger brother.

Baker and David grew up in the big house on the hill above the distillery. As distillers, Baker worked days and David worked nights. At the same time their cousin, Booker Noe, was distiller at the Boston (Kentucky) plant that now bears his name.

Baker Beam and David Beam, on the lake at the Boston, KY Beam distillery, for a Jim Beam ad in the '60s.
Unlike Booker, Baker is soft-spoken and taciturn, as are most Beam family members I have known. Like many in the clan, he loves motorcycles and trucks. For many years after he retired, he would show up at the distillery just to ride along on the trucks going up to the corn silos in Indiana, where he had many friends. As kids he and David, with their cousin, Parker (the late master distiller at Heaven Hill), used to ride bicycles together in Bernheim Forest, which is right across the road from the distillery.

Baker has always been very kind to me.

I have always liked his Baker's Bourbon too. Whenever I have drinks with a certain friend, that is all we drink. It is a tradition with us almost as old as the brand itself.

So this will be my salute. Happy birthday, Baker. And many more.

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