Meet the Man, himself...

Evan Williams

Those who met him learned quickly what a likable kind of guy he was. Williams was down to earth, willing to get his hands dirty, not afraid to kiss off the good life to follow a dream.

And like its namesake, Evan Williams the Bourbon has the same strong character. Allow us to introduce you to Evan Williams The Entrepreneur, The Politician, and most importantly The Distiller. Click to Learn More

Parker Beam has been practicing his family's craft at Heaven Hill Distilleries of distilling, aging and selecting some of the world's most critically-acclaimed Bourbons.

Nowadays, Parker is joined by his son Craig, who works alongside his father in much the same way as Parker did years before with his father, Earl. Together, the two are responsible for making sure that the Heaven Hill Bourbons that are produced at the historic Bernheim Distillery possess the same high quality and consistent taste that consumers have come to expect from such storied brands as Evan Williams and Elijah Craig.

Park Beam, Parker's grandfather and namesake, was the brother of James Beauregard Beam, better known as "Jim" Beam. It was Parker's father, Earl, who was the first to ply his trade at Heaven Hill. Earl, in turn, then turned the reins over to Parker in 1975. Parker's son Craig joined Heaven Hill in 1982, and with Craig firmly entrenched in the business as the eighth generation of Master Distillers, the family's continued legacy of Bourbon- making is assured.

In addition to overseeing all production, the two are also charged with safeguarding the world's second- largest supply of aging Kentucky Bourbon whiskey, an inventory of more than 675,000 barrels currently aging in Heaven Hill's 40+ open rick warehouses.

It's no secret that Evan Williams set up his distillery on the banks of the Ohio River back in 1783. Since then, the basic process of making Bourbon hasn't really changed much. Today, it is our Master Distillers, Parker and Craig Beam, that oversee the entire distillation and production process every step of the way.

1. GRAIN HANDLING AND MILLING

Corn, malted barley, rye and wheat are selected and ground according to the particular recipe, or mashbill, being used.

2. mashing

The milled grains are cooked in Kentucky limestone water, in a specified order and at specific temperatures, to create a sweet, porridge-like “mash.” The mash is then transferred to “fermenter” vats.

3. Backset or “sourmash”

A portion of the prior day’s distillate is added to both the mash cooker and the fermenter. Known as the sour mash process, it serves to maintain continuity of flavor and regulate pH.

4. fermenting

Our Master Distiller’s 7th generation family yeast strain is added to the cooked mash in a large vat, where the yeast naturally converts the sugars into alcohol through the fermentation process. Over several days, the fermenting mash bubbles violently, creating “Distiller’s Beer,” a thick, low alcohol (6-7%) liquid that is ready to be distilled into whiskey.

5. Distillation

In the 70 ft. tall column stills, the Distiller’s Beer drips slowly down a series of perforated copper plates while steam blasts up from the bottom. The alcohol vapors rise to the tops of the stills, where they are captured, condensed, and then re-distilled in the thumper. The purified, concentrated “new make” reemerges at 68-70% alcohol or 136-140 proof.

6. gauging and barreling

The newly made whiskey is stored in a holding tank, where the proof is “gauged” and brought down to barreling proof (62.5% alcohol or 125 proof) through the addition of pure, Kentucky limestone water. It is then transferred to a new, charred white oak barrel and sealed with a poplar “bung.”

7. maturation

The newly filled barrels are placed in open-rick warehouses, or rickhouses, to naturally age from 4-20 plus years. During the aging process, the whiskey acquires its distinctive amber color, smooth character, and vanilla and caramel flavors.

Here you'll find the latest news on what's happening with Evan Williams and our family of brands.

Evan Williams Bourbon Unveils New Advertising And Promotional Campaign For 2013-2014 - July 25, 2013 | Bardstown, KY

Second largest selling Kentucky Bourbon in the nation and the world to continue mercurial growth Second largest selling Kentucky Bourbon in the nation and the world to continue mercurial growth using all elements of marketing mix [...]

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Heaven Hill Distilleries Offers New Proprietary Bottle, Updated Packaging For Evan Williams Bourbon Family - June 14, 2013 | Louisville, KY

Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the country′s largest independent family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer, announces the newest addition to the Evan Williams Bourbon family-Evan Williams Apple Orchard Seasonal Liqueur [...]

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Kentucky Lieutenant Governor, Louisville Mayor Join Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. Announcing Downtown Louisville Attraction The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience™ - April 09, 2013 | Louisville, KY

Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., along with Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, announced today in Louisville the September 2013 opening of The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience™ [...]

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