Parker Beam, Master Distiller Of Heaven Hill Bourbon Dies

Jan 9, 2017

Parker Beam, longtime master distiller for Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Distilleries, has died after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 75.

Heaven Hill Master Distiller Parker Beam
Credit Nunn Center

Beam's career as a whiskey maker spanned more than a half century at Bardstown-based Heaven Hill. Beam was responsible for distilling and aging Evan Williams — the world's No. 2-selling bourbon— and other Heaven Hill whiskeys.

As a grandnephew of Jim Beam, Parker Beam was born into a family that traces its whiskey-making roots in Kentucky to 1795, when Jacob Beam set up his first still. Parker's grandfather was Jim Beam's brother.

Parker Beam was among a small fraternity of master distillers who oversaw production at various Kentucky distilleries during bourbon's revival.