Heaven Hill distillery has announced in a press release that long-time Master Distiller Emeritus, Parker Beam, died yesterday “after a long and valiant battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.” 

Parker Beam had been with Heaven Hill since 1960, and rose to Master Distiller in 1975, succeeding his father Earl in that position. Heaven Hill offered this assessment of Beam’s contribution to the company: “Parker’s leadership established the foundation for our company and our Bourbon heritage.  It was Parker who saw us through Bourbon’s first golden age in the 1960’s, its subsequent decline in the 1970’s and who led us to today’s new Golden Age, helping pioneer our first premium small batch and single barrel Bourbons, and paving the way for Heaven Hill to be the category leader we are today.”

Parker Bean had been voted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, was awarded the Whiskey Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award and was a member of Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame. The company also called him a “selfless mentor” to a whole new generation of Bourbon distillers, including his son Craig.

Further information about memorial services will be forthcoming from heaven Hill.