Jim Kokoris : The Big Man of Jim Beam Booker Noe and the Number One Bourbon in the World

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''Making whiskey wasn't a job to him, it was a calling,''

Fred Noe writes in the Foreword about his father, the legendary master distiller Booker Noe. As the grandson of Jim Beam, it may seem logical for Booker to step in and run the family business. What could be easier than inheriting a bourbon empire? The Big Man of Jim Beam shows you no silver spoon came in Booker's tumbler as it unwinds the story of how a Kentucky boy, through hard work and perseverance, found his destiny leading an aging family business and in the process, revitalized an entire industry.

The author who first shined a light on Fred Noe in Beam, Straight Up, now goes back a generation to examine the remarkable life of Booker Noe, whose name decorates the Boston, Kentucky distillery he helped build with his ''Uncle Jere,'' T. Jeremiah, the only son of Jim Beam. From Plant Number Two, as it was originally called, Booker filled orders the main plant couldn't handle and soon started outpacing its production numbers. Through firsthand family stories, you get to know the hard-working man who learned how to distill bourbon from grain to barrel to bottle and then went beyond to do it better, even if it meant just one-tenth of a percent better. Without formal training in business, Booker instinctually learned and lived by the principles followed by the most successful business leaders to overcome such setbacks as significant inventory loss during the Kentucky tornado of '74 and a twenty-year market decline when the world lost interest in America's native spirit. Illustrative accounts of Booker's passion for making bourbon give you an insider's look at the complete process, including what happened on the fifth floor of the rack house in Plant Number Two to usher in the current bourbon boom with:

  • Booker's Bourbon, uncut and unfiltered, just like the man himself
  • The bourbon trio, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden's, Baker's, part of the original Small Batch Collection
  • The Big Man himself, an American original who became an ambassador for his brands

To make the best bourbon in the world, Booker Noe needed to redesign a dilapidated distillery, and The Big Man of Jim Beam shows you how he did both.

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