Beam Globals Spirits

Beam Suntory

  • USA, Kentucky
  • International Spirits Challenge (ISC) Awards, 2021 International Spirits Challenge, San Francisco Wine & Spirits Competition
Phone Number
  • +15025439877
  • 568 Happy Hollow Rd, Clermont, KY 40110, United States

Row of aging whiskey barrels in dim cellar.

History of Beam Suntory

Formation and Founding

Beam Suntory, a leading name in the global spirits market, represents a rich tapestry of history, tradition, and innovation in the production of alcoholic beverages. This multinational entity came into existence through the merger of two storied companies: Beam, an American brand with deep roots in bourbon whiskey, and Suntory, a Japanese firm known for pioneering whisky suited to Japanese palates.

The origins of Beam trace back to 1795 when Jacob Beam, a farmer and grain mill operator, sold his first barrel of whiskey, laying the foundation for what would become Jim Beam. On the other side of the world, Suntory’s inception occurred in 1899, established by Shinjiro Torii, who endeavoured to create the first whisky that would cater specifically to the tastes of the Japanese populace.

Expansion and Evolution

Over the centuries, Beam evolved through continuous family involvement, innovation, and expansion, leading to its status as a prominent bourbon producer. Similarly, Suntory expanded its portfolio, not only in whisky but also in other spirits, contributing significantly to the global appreciation of Japanese whisky.

The merger in 2014 between Beam and Suntory was a landmark event, creating Beam Suntory Inc., which then became the world’s third-largest producer of distilled beverages. This fusion brought together centuries of heritage, craftsmanship, and a broad portfolio of iconic brands spanning various categories including bourbon, Scotch whisky, Japanese whisky, and more​​​​.

Contemporary Developments

Today, Beam Suntory operates as a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited, based in Osaka, Japan, with a commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and innovation. The company’s portfolio includes a wide range of spirits, from bourbons like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark to Japanese whiskies such as Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki, alongside other spirits categories including Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, tequila, and more.

In response to contemporary challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Beam Suntory has demonstrated resilience and a commitment to community support. For example, its Auchentoshan distillery produced hand sanitiser to donate to the local community, and the company contributed $1 million to support bar and restaurant workers affected by the crisis​​.

Beam Suntory’s history is a testament to the enduring appeal of quality spirits and the successful fusion of Eastern and Western traditions. The company continues to grow and adapt, driven by an unyielding dedication to craftsmanship, innovation, and the global community.

Awards Won by Beam Suntory

  1. International Spirits Challenge (ISC) Awards:
    • Trophy Awards for Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 15-Year-Old, Courvoisier Cognac Initiale Extra, and various El Tesoro Tequilas.
    • Multiple Gold Medals for Auchentoshan Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, Hibiki, and Yamazaki Japanese whiskies.
  2. 2021 International Spirits Challenge:
    • The House of Suntory won the Japanese Whisky Distiller of the Year.
    • Double Gold for Hibiki 21 Year Old.
    • Numerous Gold and Silver awards for Hibiki and Yamazaki brands.
  3. San Francisco Wine & Spirits Competition:
    • Double Gold Winners included Alberta Rye Dark Batch Whisky and Auchentoshan 12 Years Old Scotch Whisky.
  4. San Francisco World Spirits Competition:
    • “Best in Show Other Whisky category” and Double Gold Medal for Yamazaki 18 Years Old.
    • Double Gold Medal awards for Yamazaki 25 Years Old and Hakushu 18 Years Old.
  5. UK International Spirits Challenge 2015:
    • Trophy award for Hibiki 21 Years in the world whisky category for the third consecutive year.
    • Trophy awards for El Tesoro Platinum and Reposado in the tequila category.
    • Beam Suntory Inc. was named Tequila Producer of the Year.

Beam Suntory Tour Information and Experience

Visitors can embark on the “Beam Made Bourbon” experience, a 90-minute comprehensive tour and tasting session that delves into the bourbon crafting process and shares stories from two centuries of distillery history.

The tour is offered Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST, and it’s recommended to book in advance to secure your spot.

The distillery also hosts The Kitchen Table restaurant, offering Kentucky classics with a Beam twist, open from Wednesday to Sunday. For larger groups exceeding 24 visitors, prior arrangements are required.

Suntory Whisky Distilleries in Japan:

Yamazaki Distillery: Established in 1923 near Kyoto, it’s Japan’s first and oldest malt whisky distillery, offering in-person tours and tastings that highlight the connection between Japanese nature and whisky. The region’s soft water and unique climate contribute to the distinctive maturation process of their whiskies.

Hakushu Distillery: Founded half a century after Yamazaki, it’s located at a high elevation near the forests of the Southern Alps, known for its soft mountain water and cool climate, ideal for whisky production. Visitors can explore how this unique environment impacts the whisky’s quality.

Chita Distillery: On the Chita Peninsula, known for producing high-quality Japanese grain whisky, and the Osaka Distillery, where Roku Gin is crafted, emphasizing the balance between traditional and uniquely Japanese botanicals.

Osumi Distillery: The latest addition to Suntory’s distillery family, embodying the company’s philosophy of selecting the best ingredients and innovative techniques to create spirits of unrivalled quality and character.

For visiting the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, guests are invited to explore the production process of the world’s #1 bourbon. Tours are available Monday to Saturday every half hour from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. EST, and on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST.

The guided tour, including tasting, lasts approximately 1.5 hours, with adults (21+) charged $10 and those under 21 free of charge. It’s advisable to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled tour to ensure your spot​​.

Flask & Barrel Review of Beam Suntory

Being a whiskey collector, I’ve visited my fair share of distilleries, but the experience at Beam Suntory is something else. I’d easily give it a solid 4.7 out of 5, and here’s why.

First off, the tours. Each one I’ve been on, whether it’s the James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Clermont or the Suntory Whisky distilleries in Japan, has been top-notch. You can really tell they put a lot of effort into making each visit memorable, from the storytelling to the in-depth looks at the distillation process. Plus, ending each tour with a tasting session? Sign me up any day.

The “Beam Made Bourbon” experience was a standout for me. Lasting about 90 minutes, it was the perfect blend of education and entertainment, diving deep into how they craft their bourbon with plenty of stories from their two centuries in the making. And let’s not forget about the guided tasting at the American Outpost – a highlight for any whiskey lover.

Visiting the Yamazaki Distillery in Japan added a whole new layer to my appreciation for whiskey. The meticulous craft and the connection to nature there is something you have to experience firsthand. The climate, the water… everything contributes to making a uniquely Japanese whisky that’s hard to find anywhere else.

The Kitchen Table restaurant at the Clermont location deserves a shoutout too. The food, inspired by the original Beam family table, is just as good as the whiskey. It’s the perfect spot to refuel after a tour with some Kentucky classics and a Beam twist.

What To Do Nearby Beam Suntory

Near James B. Beam Distilling Co., Clermont, KY:

  • Tour the Distillery: Experience the heritage of Beam bourbon through a tour and tasting at the distillery, located just 30 minutes from Louisville, Kentucky. Visitors can book a tour to learn about bourbon making and taste premium whiskeys​​.
  • The Kitchen Table Restaurant: While at the distillery, enjoy a meal at The Kitchen Table, offering dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and providing stunning views of the distillery grounds​​.

Near Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, Shimamoto, Japan:

  • Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art: Just 0.4 miles away, this museum is set in a beautiful villa and offers a collection of Western and Japanese art, including works by Monet, amid lush gardens​​.
  • Hoshaku-ji Temple: Located 0.3 miles from the distillery, this temple offers a serene environment and a glimpse into local spiritual practices​​.
  • Shiio Shrine: A short walk (0.2 miles) from the distillery, this shrine is nestled in a tranquil setting, perfect for experiencing the local culture and history​​.
  • Minase Jingu Shrine: Approximately 0.5 miles away, this shrine is a significant cultural site, offering insights into the local religious practices and community​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Beam Suntory?

  1. The Stave: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (859) 879-0101. Their address is 5711 McCracken Pike, Frankfort, KY 40601.
  2. Cattleman’s Roadhouse: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (502) 848-0023. Their address is 151 Jett Boulevard, Frankfort, KY 40601.
  3. Thai Smile: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (502) 227-9934. Their address is 1193 US-127, Frankfort, KY 40601.

What hotels are near Beam Suntory?

  1. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lexington-Downtown/University, an IHG Hotel: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (859) 389-6800. Their address is 1000 Export St, Lexington, KY 40504.
  2. Hampton Inn Frankfort: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (502) 223-7600. Their address is 1310 US-127, Frankfort, KY 40601.
  3. Capital Plaza Hotel: It has a rating of 4.0 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (502) 227-5100. Their address is 405 Wilkinson Blvd, Frankfort, KY 40601.