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Bourbon industry honours Parker Beam

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has inducted five more industry pioneers into its Bourbon Hall of Fame and honoured Heaven Hill’s Parker Beam with its first Lifetime Achievement Award.

Heaven Hill Brands master distillery Parker Beam has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bourbon Hall of Fame
Heaven Hill Brands master distiller Parker Beam has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bourbon Hall of Fame

In addition to Heaven Hill Brands’ master distiller Beam, Owsley Brown II, former CEO and chairman of Brown-Forman; Kathleen DiBenedetto, senior director of commercial marketing, luxury, Beam Suntory; US Senator Wendell Ford; and Donna Nally, co-creator of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival have been given a place in the Bourbon Hall of Fame.

The KDA also unanimously voted to name the Lifetime Achievement Award after Beam, who has served at Heaven Hill for 55 years and was elected a charter member of the Hall of Fame in 2001.

“It is a great honour to not only receive this award, but to have it be established in my name,” said Beam. “(My wife) Linda and I are just thrilled by the recognition and humbled that the KDA and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame would make this gesture.

“I accept the honor on behalf of my father, my cousin, Booker Noe, Elmer T. Lee and all the others who came before and who also devoted their lifetimes to making great Bourbon, and to making Bourbon great.”

Parker Beam, who first joined Heaven Hill in 1960, is a sixth generation master distiller, a title he earned in 1975.

He was named Master Distiller Emeritus in 2013 shortly after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, for which he has widely advocated research care and awareness.

Created by the KDA in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in 2001, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame recognises individuals and organisations that have worked to progress the Bourbon industry.

Last year, Margie Samuels, of Maker’s Mark, became the first woman directly connected to a distillery to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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