A huge shout out to Leith over at Beam Suntory for connecting with us on a idea for a custom patch for a select few in the Beam Suntory Group. We threw quite a few ideas on the table but we kept coming back to a traditional old style patch that would blend with the Jim Beam brand and Americana identity. We decided on a heavyweight chino cloth with our Iron Thread exclusive chain stitch patterns. Then had the cloth soak in a tea stain bath blend that Iron Thread has created for a aged perfection. We were really honored to work with an American company with such a deep history as Jim Beam Bourbon, “We are a born American brand made in the USA – Always will be!”
As Stated by Jim Beam Company-
“A HISTORY AS SPIRITED AS BOURBON ITSELF”
“THE FIRST PASSING OF THE TORCH”
In 1820, Jacob Beam handed the distillery over to his sharp-as-a-tack son, David Beam. At this time in history, bourbon could only be practically distributed locally, so instead of bottling it and selling it in stores like we do today, people simply brought their own jugs to the distillery to fill them up straight from the barrel. David, however, could sense that a change was coming, and he had the foresight to enlarge the distillery for future growth and transition from pot stills to column stills to enable continuous operation. He also renamed the bourbon Old Tub® to match the name on the distillery.
“IF SOMETHING AIN’T RIGHT, BURN IT”
With the arrival of trains and steamboats, distillers could now ship their bourbon out of their local areas to increase sales. But this expanded bourbon market created a new issue: a barrel shortage. Without enough barrels to go around, distillers began putting their bourbon in used fish and vinegar barrels—a decision which had some obvious and very unfortunate side effects. Luckily, they soon found that burning the insides of those barrels removed the unpleasant smell and prepared them for whiskey storage. This is how distillers originally began using charred-oak barrels.
Since travel at the time wasn’t exactly speedy, after the barrels were loaded onto steamboats headed for New Orleans, the bourbon had time to seep into the wood and extract the caramelized sugars created by the charring process. This added a spectacular caramel taste and golden color to the whiskey that quickly made it amazingly popular. It didn’t take long for folks to start asking for this new kind of whiskey by where it was from: “old Bourbon County whiskey.”
“WHEN IN DOUBT, BET ON THE RAILS”
Let’s skip forward to 1854. After taking over distillery operations from his father, David M. Beam wanted to take advantage of bourbon’s newfound popularity. And having learned of a planned extension to the railroad line, he relocated the distillery to Nelson County, KY under the name D. M. Beam & Company. Now, mere yards from the new tracks, he was able to ship Old Tub both north and south. And by bottling and branding each bottle, he began to transform his bourbon into a national brand.
“WAR AND BOURBON”
By the time of the Civil War, bourbon had reached such popularity that even General Ulysses S. Grant had become an avid fan. And due to the general’s success, President Lincoln is reported to have said about him, “Find out what he drinks, and send a case to my other generals.”