Heaven Hill Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam passed away last night, the company said today in a press release.
Beam had been battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. He was 75 when he passed.
“All of us within the company, and the general public, watched with awe and admiration as Parker and Linda waged a much publicized war against this terrible disease, using their courage, his standing as one of the industry’s great Master Distillers and his wide sphere of influence to generate international awareness, and millions of dollars, for ALS research and treatment,” the company says in a press release.
Beam began at the company in 1960 when he joined his father Earl at Heaven Hills, and continued through his appointment as Master Distiller in 1975, succeeding his father. He helped pioneer the company’s first premium small batch and single barrel Bourbons, Heaven Hills says in a press release.
Beam was a charter member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, Whiskey Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame.