The James B. Beam Distilling Company (JBBDCo) celebrated more than two centuries of bourbon legacy with the completion of a revamped distillery homestead and visitor experience, now featuring the newly opened Fred B. Noe Distillery and The Kitchen Table Restaurant. During the ceremony, Fred Noe, the James B. Beam Distilling Company’s 7th-generation master distiller, announced the appointment of his son, Freddie Noe, as master distiller of the new facility.
“There is nothing in this world that would give me more pleasure and make me prouder than seeing Freddie step into the role of master distiller,” says Fred Noe. “One of my biggest regrets is to never have distilled alongside my own father, Booker, so working side-by-side with Freddie will be a dream come true.
“I believe that a master distiller should understand the craft of distilling, uphold quality, and honor tradition while spearheading innovation,” he adds. “Freddie embodies this wholeheartedly and I look forward to seeing Freddie lead the charge in creating the next generation of whiskeys that help to grow the American Whiskey category around the world.”
Conversely, Freddie Noe had previously honored his father in 2019 when he announced the name of the new distillery as the Fred B. Noe Distillery (after Freddie’s grandfather, Booker Noe). The new distillery celebrates Booker Noe as an innovator of whiskey premiumization, continued today through brands such as Bookers and Little Book. Little Book reference’s Booker’s nickname for Freddie, a nod to the similarities between grandson and grandfather.
The new distillery marks the first time in the history of JBBDCo that there are two family members, working alongside one another, sharing the master distiller title.
“It is an honor beyond words to follow in my father’s footsteps,” says Freddie Noe. “I will continue to honor the 227 years of family craft and experience in my work every day by dedicating myself to making genuine quality whiskey while pushing the brand forward.”
While Fred Noe will maintain his role as master distiller, overseeing the James B. Beam Distilling Company’s portfolio of brands that include Jim Beam Bourbon, Knob Creek Bourbon, Basil Hayden and others, Freddie Noe will oversee the Fred B. Noe Distillery as master distiller. In this role, Freddie will experiment with fermentation, distillation and blending techniques. He will also lead experiential distillation sessions and seminars with activities in the blending lab.
Also housed at the Fred B. Noe Distillery is a classroom for the University of Kentucky’s James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits. Freddie developed an apprenticeship program after the institute was launched, with 200 hours of customized technical content for James B. Beam Distilling Company operators. The institute is designed in partnership with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Distillers Association to educate the next generation through a curriculum that covers the skills needed in the distilled spirits industry.
The Fred B. Noe Distillery was part of a multi-million-dollar renovation to highlight the stories of the Noe family, known as bourbon royalty. This revamp also includes an updated visitor experience, offering behind-the-scenes peeks at the brands, a tasting room and customizable experiences. The James B. Beam Distillery Co also launched an exclusive membership program, Barreled & Boxed, which allows consumers to receive the company’s releases at their doorsteps (available in select markets).
The reimagination of the homestead happened with the help of designers and builders including LOVE, who led creative direction design, parent brand identity and the visitor experience, and Pearlfisher | Hakuhodo, who developed the brand architecture, creative and communications strategy.
Additional partners included Bergmeyer, who led the development of The Kitchen Table, the Fred B. Noe Distillery VIP experience and the campus visitor experience; Joseph & Joseph who designed the base distillery build; OJB, who designed the landscape across the campus; and Buzick Construction Inc. and Shawmut Design and Construction, who all led construction efforts.
Project management and owner’s representation for the visitor experience were led by Stys Hospitality Initiative.