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Earl Parker Beam (September 17, 1941 - January 9, 2017) was a bourbon master distiller.

Beam was born September 17, 1941 in Nelson County. Beam’s career as a whiskey maker spanned more than a half century at Bardstown, Kentucky-based Heaven Hill, a family owned and operated distilled spirits company and maker of the popular Evan Williams brand. Beam was responsible for distilling and aging Evan Williams — the world’s No. 2-selling bourbon— and other Heaven Hill whiskeys.

Beam’s pedigree as a bourbon maker was impeccable. 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. Park Beam, Parker’s grandfather and namesake, was Jim Beam’s brother.

Parker Beam began his career at Heaven Hill in 1960 and learned the craft by working alongside his father, Earl. The job of master distiller shifted from father to son in 1975 when Parker Beam assumed the role. He developed the company’s first premium small batch and single barrel bourbons.

Beam died in Lebanon, Marion County on January 9, 2017 at the age of 75 after a long battle with ALS. He was buried in Bardstown City Cemetery in Bardstown, Nelson County.

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