Jim Beam celebrates 13 millionth barrel of bourbon
CLERMONT, Ky. (WDRB) -- At Jim Beam Distillery in Bullitt County the bourbon barrels just keep rolling off the line into the warehouses for aging.
On Wednesday, the company toasted the good times for Beam and the bourbon industry as Master Distiller Fred Booker Noe III raised his glass for a taste of bourbon.
It was a ceremony surrounded by members of the international media as Noe filled the company's 13 millionth barrel since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.
"It just shows how much bourbon is growing," says Noe. "We are doing right at 300,000 barrels a year, the demand for bourbon is going through the roof."
The milestone was achieved less than three years after the filling of the 12 millionth barrel.
"I'm seeing it all over the world in my travels," says Noe. "People from Australia, from England, and from here in the U.S. are all loving bourbon."
What is happening at Beam is also happening at distilleries all over bourbon country. Domestic sales of bourbon have increased by 40 percent during the past five years. Exports have topped the $1 billion mark.
Says Noe, "There are emerging markets around the world that are just beginning to learn what bourbon is all about, we see bourbon demand continuing to grow will into the future."
During the past several years Jim Beam has invested more than $30 million upgrading its operations in Bullitt County.
The upgrades include a new research and innovation center and a new visitors center that has been attracting more than a hundred thousand people a year.
"Right at a hundred thousand," says Noe, "and we see that number going up significantly and with the Derby coming up next week this place will be like Disneyland."