"Beam Straight Up" by Fred Noe is a captivating and insightful memoir that delves into the history of one of America's most iconic bourbon distilling families, the Beams. Fred Noe, the seventh-generation master distiller of Jim Beam, takes readers on a personal journey through the Beam family's rich heritage and the evolution of the bourbon industry. There is also input from Jim Kokoris, a novelist and longtime friend and publicist for the Beams.
The book provides a compelling blend of family anecdotes, bourbon-making techniques, and the challenges and triumphs of running a successful bourbon business. Noe's writing style is candid, genuine, and filled with a deep love and respect for his family's legacy. He shares stories of his childhood growing up in the bourbon country of Kentucky, the wisdom passed down from his father and grandfather, and the unique character of each generation of Beams.
One of the strengths of "Beam Straight Up" is the way Noe intertwines the history of the Beam family with the history of bourbon itself. He provides a detailed account of how bourbon emerged as a distinct American spirit, from its humble beginnings to becoming a global phenomenon. Noe also discusses the challenges the bourbon industry has faced over the years, including Prohibition, changing consumer tastes, and the competitive landscape.
Beyond the historical aspects, "Beam Straight Up" also delves into the intricacies of bourbon-making. Noe shares his insights into the craft of distilling, from selecting the right grains and barrels to the art of blending and tasting. He also reveals some of the secrets behind the iconic flavors of Jim Beam bourbon, giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at the craftsmanship that goes into every bottle.
What makes "Beam Straight Up" truly special is the personal touch that Noe brings to the story. He shares his own experiences, challenges, and lessons learned as he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to become the master distiller of Jim Beam. Noe's passion for bourbon and his deep connection to his family's legacy shine through in every page, making for a truly engaging and heartfelt read.
As a memoir, "Beam Straight Up" offers readers a unique perspective on the bourbon industry and the Beam family's role in shaping its history. Noe's writing is conversational, approachable, and filled with colorful anecdotes that make the book an enjoyable and educational read for both bourbon enthusiasts and those interested in American history and culture.
In summary, "Beam Straight Up" is a well-written, informative, and heartfelt memoir that offers readers an intimate look into the history of the Beam family and the world of bourbon. Fred Noe's personal stories, passion for bourbon, and deep family roots make for a compelling read that is sure to leave bourbon aficionados and history buffs alike with a greater appreciation for this iconic American spirit. Highly recommended for anyone interested in bourbon, family legacies, and the art of distilling.