Heaven Hill’s Beam Moves into Consultancy Role

Heaven Hill Distillery’s master distiller Craig Beam will be moving into a consultancy role, says Heaven Hill spokesperson Larry Kass.

An internal announcement was made in May, Kass says.

“Craig continues in his master distiller role,” he says. “But he has a lot going on with his life. This is for personal reasons. This is about him spending more time with his dad.”

Beam was not available for comment.

Last year, Beam’s father, long-time master distiller Parker Beam, announced he was battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Craig Beam was thought to be his father’s replacement.

Beam now operates from home, but Kass says he’s still doing all his normal master distiller duties.

“We categorically deny that he will not be our master distiller,” Kass says.

As evidence that Beam continues in his normal role, he has a master distiller event this Saturday at Belle’s in Lexington, Kentucky, and is scheduled for other national talks throughout the year.

After Heaven Hill announced Parker’s illness, the family-owned distillery said its Parker’s Heritage Collection 2013 release would benefit the ALS Association in the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund. The goal was to raise $250,000. The distillery community also chipped in, donating whiskey for a special bottling “Master Distiller’s Unity” bourbon at WhiskyFest New York.

Last year, Heaven Hill also opened the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville and unveiled new labeling for Henry McKenna and Rittenhouse brands. The company is currently pursuing an aggressive advertising multimedia campaign with its Evan Williams Bourbon, the No. 2-selling bourbon.

I’ve always believed Heaven Hill makes incredible whiskey, and Craig Beam is one of the major reasons why. It goes without saying the entire whiskey community pulls for his family, and this new role sounds like the same one to me. So, don’t expect to see a change in the whiskey. There’s a Beam still making it, after all.

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