Beam began distilling whiskey in 1795. After the whiskey he produced became popular in his Nelson and Washington Counties, he started buying tracts of land from his neighboring relatives. By 1810 he owned 800 acres and sent his first Barrel of whiskey to New Orleans. They liked it so much that they started ordering more whiskey on a monthly basis.
One of his sons, David helped him in the bourbon business. He took over the family distillery in 1820 as Distillery Manager, increased its size and named it the Old Tub Distillery.
Jacob died in 1834.