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.
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.