Last night, I toasted to Parker Beam — Heaven Hill‘s master distiller emeritus who passed away yesterday at age 75 — with a sip of the smooth Elijah Craig.
Beam started working at Heaven Hill alongside his father, Earl, in 1960, essentially starting from the ground up. He’s credited with creating one of the first small batch bourbons, Elijah Craig, and raising the distillery’s barreling proof to 125, among many other accolades.
I never got a chance to meet Parker, but from what I hear, he was a well-respected, humble man, as most master distillers of his generation are.
I have no doubt Beam will take his place among the angels in Heaven Hill rick houses to watch over (and sample) the work.