• 1795

    Jacob Beam sells his first barrel of whisky and lays the foundation for Jim Beam Bourbon.

  • 1810

    The Johnstons begin distilling whisky in Islay and five years later Laphroaig whisky is born.

  • 1811

    Courvoisier Cognac earns "Le Cognac de Napoleon" distinction when Napoleon Bonaparte visits the warehouse and later takes several barrels of Courvoisier with him to St. Helena.

  • 1830

    William Teacher, young and ambitious, started selling a whisky blended from carefully selected distilleries at his wife’s grocery shop.

  • 1840

    T.W. Samuels builds the family's first commercial distillery in Samuels Depot, Kentucky.

  • 1843

    Felix Courvoisier establishes the Courvoisier business in its current locations of Jarnac, France.

  • 1856

    An astute young Detroit grain merchant, Hiram Walker, bought 468 acres of land on the Canadian side of the Detroit River where he built a mill and distillery later to become the birthplace and home of Canadian Club.

  • 1863

    Teacher’s Highland Cream became an established spirits brand, and the family business quickly grew through exports of Teacher's.

  • 1869

    Courvoisier was named “Purveyor by special appointment to the Court of Napoleon III,” the first of a number of royal appointments.

  • 1873

    Don Cenobio Sauza founds a distillery in Tequila, Mexico called La Perserverancia.

  • 1889

    Courvoisier won the ultimate prize, the Medaille d’Or at the World Exhibition and was served at the official opening of the Eiffel Tower.

  • 1894

    The Canadian Club Brand Center was constructed in 16th Century Italian Renaissance style. Today, the building is host to many of our employees from around the world participating meetings and events.

  • 1899

    The Suntory business was founded as Shinjiro Torii starts the Torii Shoten store in Osaka, Japan and initiates production and sales of grape wine.

  • 1903

    Teacher’s Highland Cream exports reach America.

  • 1923

    Construction of the Yamazaki Distillery, Japan's first malt whisky distillery, began in Yamazaki in the outskirts of Kyoto - marking the first step toward the production of Japanese whisky. Distillation began in 1924.

  • 1929

    Suntory Shirofuda, Japan's first genuine whisky, was introduced. After further refinements to suit the discriminating market of Japan, the blended whisky Kakubin ("square bottle") was born in 1937.

  • 1931

    Don Francisco Javier Sauza led the charge to establish a “Denomination of Origin” for tequila, insisting that tequila must be made in Mexico, where the best blue agave grows.

  • 1935

    Jim Beam rebuilds the family distillery following the U.S.'s "noble experiment" -- prohibition -- the James B. Beam Distilling Company.

  • 1945

    Chicago spirits merchant Harry Blum buys the James B. Beam Distilling Company.

  • 1953

    Bill Samuels Sr. purchases what is known today as the Maker’s Mark distillery and burns the 170-year old family recipe. He develops a bourbon whisky made with red winter wheat and soon after begins barreling Maker’s Mark.

  • 1962

    Teacher’s opens a new state-of-the-art bottling and blending facility in Glasgow producing 4 million cases per year.

  • 1968

    American Brands, Inc. purchases the James B. Beam Distilling Company.

  • 1973

    The Hakushu Distillery is established at the foot of Mt. Kaikomagatake in Japan's Southern Alps.

  • 1975

    Bill Samuels Jr. becomes President and CEO of Maker's Mark.

  • 1978

    After initially debuting as Hermes Melon Liqueur, Suntory-owned MIDORI is introduced in the United States.

  • 1983

    Courvoisier stands as the only cognac house to have received the La Prestige de la France.

  • 1984

    YAMAZAKI, Suntory's flagship single malt whisky, is released.

  • 1987

    James B. Beam Distilling Company purchases National Distillers, including brands such as Windsor and Old Crow and distribution rights to DeKuyper. The company is renamed Jim Beam Brands Company.

  • 1996

    DeKuyper line of "sweet and sour" schnapps debuts with Sour Apple Pucker.

  • 1999

    Jim Beam Brands, Remy Cointreau and Highland Distillers form Maxxium, a joint venture to handle sales and distribution of the company's brands outside the U.S.

  • 2004

    Suntory HIBIKI 30 Year Old whisky becomes the first Japanese whisky to win the Trophy, the top prize, at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) in the UK.

  • 2005

    Fortune Brands closes on $5 billion acquisition of more than 20 former Allied Domecq and Pernod Ricard brands; Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. becomes 4th largest premium spirits company in the world.

  • 2006

    Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. renames itself Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. to reflect its global position.

  • 2007

    Jim Beam® adds Fred Noe to its iconic bottle, marking the seventh generation of Beam family members to appear on the label.

  • 2007

    Beam Global makes strategic move to sell the wine business to focus solely on spirits.

  • 2008

    The Beam portfolio expands with the addition of Ardmore™ Traditional Cask and Cruzan® Rum.

  • 2009

    Beam Global partners with The Edrington Group to sell and distribute its brands around the globe.

  • 2009

    Matt Shattock joins Beam Global as CEO & President and rolls out Vision Into Action, Beam's long term growth strategy.

  • 2009

    Red Stag by Jim Beam, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey infused with natural black cherry flavor, is launched pioneering the flavored whiskey category.

  • 2009

    Beam Global acquires EFFEN Vodka from Sazerac, expanding the company’s presence in super premium vodka.

  • 2010

    Beam introduces its first innovation for Maker’s Mark called Maker’s 46.

  • 2010

    Beam Global's parent company Fortune Brands announces intent to separate their three businesses; Beam to remain as sole company and operate as a pure play, publicly traded spirits company.

  • 2010

    Suntory honored as international "Whisky Distiller of the Year," at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) - a first for any Japanese company. Suntory goes on to win this award again in 2012 and 2013.

  • 2011

    Beam Global announces long-term sales, distribution and RTD manufacturing agreement with Coca-Cola Amatil in Australia.

  • 2011

    Beam Global acquires the Skinnygirl® spirits brand from renowned natural foods chef, reality TV star and entrepreneur, Bethenny Frankel.

  • 2011

    Beam's robust innovation pipeline continues with the launch of Devil's Cut.

  • 2011

    Beam separates from Fortune Brands and becomes a stand-alone public company.

  • 2012

    Beam acquires The Cooley Distillery in Ireland to enter the Fast-Growing Irish Whiskey Category.

  • 2012

    Beam acquires the fast-growing Pinnacle Vodka brand, significantly enhancing its presence in the large and growing vodka category.

  • 2012

    Beam opens the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Ky., as well as the company’s Global Innovation Center to fuel Beam’s innovation development around the world.

  • 2013

    Beam is named by Forbes as the No. 21 most innovative company in the world in August 2013.

  • 2014

    Suntory Holdings acquires Beam Inc. to create Beam Suntory, the world’s 3rd largest premium spirits company.

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Our Heritage

The people of Beam Suntory are the custodians of brands that have heritages measured in centuries. In 1795, a farmer and grain mill operator named Jacob Beam produced the first barrel of whiskey that would become Jim Beam, our flagship brand now overseen by seventh generation Beam master distiller Fred Noe.
 
The history of Suntory begins in 1899 when the founder Shinjiro Torii started producing sweet wines. He then courageously produced the first Japanese whisky and today, Suntory is the No.1 whisky distiller in Japan, known for its flagship single malt whisky  “Yamazaki,” “Hakushu,” and the blended whiskies “Hibiki.”


Suntory has at its origins a “Yatte Minahare – Go for it!” spirit that encourages its team to dream big … the very same values and entrepreneurial spirit that have built Beam for more than 200 years and will guide Beam Suntory as a global leader in premium spirits.