History of Whiskey in America – 1700 – 1799

Basil Hayden, Sr.

Old Grand Dad – King of High Rye



1st Generation – Hayden Family

On January 2nd, Basil Hayden, Sr. is born in St. Mary’s, Maryland.

1st Generation – Beam Family

The 5th of 10 children, Johannes Jacob Beam is born on February 9th. His father, Nicholas Boehm, changed the family name to “Beam” to fit in better in America.



Johannes Jacob Beam

The Founder

Daniel Boone and James Herrod clear the Wilderness Road to Kentucky.





General George Rogers Clark defeatures the British in the Northwest Territory, leading to mass migrations into the territory.

Basil Hayden leads a group of over 50 Catholic families from Baltimore, MD through the Cumberland Gap to settle in Nelson County, KY.





Basil Hayden, Sr. opens his distillery, using a mash bill that was very high in rye, giving him the nickname, the King of High Rye.

Jacob Beam begins selling barrels of his corn whiskey, known as Old Jake Beam



The Old Jake Beam product would take the name of the distillery, Old Tub Whiskey in 1820. In 1860 it was renamed Old Tub Bourbon, then changed to Colonel James B. Beam whiskey in the 1940’s, then finally changed to Jim Beam.



Basil Hayden began mixing rye grains into the mash of the traditional corn whiskey recipe. He conjectured that the spicy flavor of rye would be a compliment to the sweetnes of corn.