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History was made this week when Beam Inc. took a foreign bride.

That’s right, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark will soon be owned by a Japanese firm.

Jim Beam

The Suntory company, the first maker of whiskey in Japan, is buying much of the Beam Inc. stock and debt for a whopping $13.6 Billion!

Beam makes Bourbon.  And Bourbon is a distinctly American concoction.  As a matter of fact, if it’s not made in America, it’s not bourbon.

Some will go as far as to say, “If it’s not made in Kentucky, it’s not Bourbon.”

The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits state that bourbon made for U.S. consumption must be produced in the United States, made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn, aged in new, charred oak barrels, distilled to no more than 160 proof (80% alcohol by volume), entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof, and be bottled at 80%.

And Jim Beam is truly an American company.  OK, so the founders were German immigrants to Kentucky.  During the late 1700s, the Bohm family, who later changed their names to Beam because that’s how it was pronounced, started making the stuff and selling a few barrels.

It grew and grew and became the Bourbon giant it is today through a family’s hard work.

Suntory insists the hooch factory will not leave its American home, but many Beamists are UP in arms over the sale and threatening to boycott.

Yeah, like that’s gonna’ happen.

Suntory assures everyone that the jobs stay – even keeping the same management team, and the company will be run from the current Illinois office.  That may be true, the jobs will stay at home, but the profits won’t.

And although I never touch the stuff (except for cooking) I hate to see a distinctly American Trademark become distinctly un-American.

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