Jim Beam prepares to go public on NYSE - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jim Beam prepares to go public on NYSE

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CLERMONT, KY (WDRB) -- The world's largest bourbon producer will become a stand-alone spirits company on Tuesday. Fortune Brands, Inc. will officially change its name to Beam, Inc. – as in Jim Beam, the world's best-selling bourbon.

Company executives celebrated the change at a ceremony at the distillery in Clermont, KY Monday afternoon. After selling off its golf and home security issues, Beam, Inc. will solely focus on spirits.

The move is designed to stream-line the company's product line and bring in more revenue into Kentucky - where most of the world's bourbon is produced.

"So today, we are one family. We are all Beams," said Beam, Inc. CEO and President Matt Shattock.

Fred Noe, the master distiller and great grandson of Jim Beam, unveiled the company's 12 millionth barrell of bourbon.

"My father Booker was always proud of every drop of bourbon he made," Noe said.

Next year Beam Inc. will produce 60 percent of its volume in Kentucky or more than 180 million bottles.

"We've seen a lot of growth and as we consolidate our business into Kentucky from a product perspective - it's bound to increase over time," said Bill Newlands, President and CEO of Beam, Inc.'s North America operation.

With a new name comes a new label. Jim beam officials say even with the sale and spin-offs of Fortune's companies they believe they can do well,  even in a rough economy.

"We've seen growth in Jim Beam. And in our higher end products - it's been a little tough. But as the economy recovers - it will come back to us," said Fred Noe.

Noe appeared unphased by the recent volatile stock market and fears of a global recession.

"We are the fourth largest spirit company in the world ... the number one in the U.S. So I guess you would say the skies the limit for us right now," Noe said.

Beam, Inc. officials will ring in the opening bell of the NYSE on Friday. The company is entering the stock market in a time when public distaste for Wall Street is growing. Several hundred people have been arrested in New York as demonstrations continue in lower Manhattan. A Louisville gathering is scheduled for noon Tuesday on the Belvedere. 

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