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BEAM: Company to get new name, spot on NYSE

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By Thomas Barr

 CLERMONT - Those who play the stock market will now have a local company that has been an international leader in its industry to watch.

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On Tuesday, Beam Global spirits became part of the New York Stock Exchange and a new company name was unveiled.

With the separation of Fortune Brands’ businesses, Beam Global became its own company.

Company officials gathered with employees at the Clermont plant, as well as business associates from around the world, for the formal announcement Monday.

Not only will the company become part of the public trading, it will have a new name - Beam.

Company representatives will ring the bell to close the day’s activities on Friday.

“Today is your day,” Matthew J. Shattock, president and CEO of Beam Inc. told the employees who assembled on Monday. “Today is an exciting day.”

In joining the stock market, Shattock said it would lead the country’s largest spirits company to even greater heights.

“I hope this gives stocking up on Beam a whole new meaning,” Shattock said with a smile.

While the public will have an opportunity to be part of Beam’s continued growth, so will the employees, who will have a chance to purchase stock at a reduced price.

“Our people are passionate about winning and are focused squarely on outperforming our markets and creating long-term value for our shareholders,” said Shattock.

He expects the momentum gained over the past few years to continue internationally, where bourbon is the number one spirit and Beam is the fourth largest premium spirits company in the world.

Gov. Steve Beshear said the bourbon industry is a key player in Kentucky’s economic development. With companies like Beam and Maker’s Mark, which is now part of the Beam family, Beshear said no matter where he travels in the world, people know about Beam products.

The companies have highly visible brands and that draws attention to Kentucky whenever he is out on economic development trips. The governor said the bourbon industry accounts for over 10,000 jobs and an annual payroll of $442 million.

Despite a tough economy, the bourbon industry has added around 200 jobs over the past five years.

Rob Samuels, an eighth generation member of the Maker’s Mark family, said the relationship between the Samuels and the Beam families go back for years. Ninety years ago, the two were neighbors in Bardstown.

While the adults sipped on the product, the youngsters could be found playing together.

He credited his grandfather with being a craftsman and not actually a businessman who worried about stock markets or profits. But, because of the care given to the product by both families, their bourbons were much smoother.

Now, bourbons marketed under the Maker’s Mark and Beam labels are “trendy” drinks across the world, said Samuels who is now chief operating officer of Maker’s Mark.

While entering the stock market and unveiling a new name is serious business, Freddie Noe is still a most sought after dinner speaker.

He felt the Beam name was simple and to the point. 

“We’ve come a long way,” said Noe, a master distiller and ambassador of the company and the industry.

Noe was excited about seeing how high the stocks can grow. Besides making a lot of money, he is hoping the company continues making a lot of whiskey.

Soon, barrel number 12 million will be filled at the Clermont plant and there is already a special barrel ready for the occasion.

“The demand for our bourbon has been good,” said Noe. “Quality is the key. We do things right.”

He said the employees are proud of their product.

“Our pride has been our guiding light,” said Noe.

The company is also working on its new multi-million dollar visitor’s experience, which will be the first stop in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The company’s efforts to open up the distillery in Clermont to plant tours, as well as the visitor’s center, will be done in phases with work to be completed next year.