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At Heaven Hill, Bourbon's Still in the Family

The aging barrels of whiskey in the background underline Parker Beam's deep ties to the bourbon business. He's related to James Beauregard "Jim" Beam.
Jack Speer, NPR
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The aging barrels of whiskey in the background underline Parker Beam's deep ties to the bourbon business. He's related to James Beauregard "Jim" Beam.

Bourbon aficionados from all over the world are in Bardstown, Ky., this weekend. They've come for the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and a chance to sample their favorite spirits.

Bardstown is home to the Heaven Hill distillery and master distiller Parker Beam. A descendant of Col. James Beauregard Beam -- yes, the Jim Beam -- the 63-year-old Parker Beam has been making whiskey for decades, and can trace his family's whiskey-making roots for generations.

Heaven Hill is the only remaining family owned distillery in Kentucky, a state with more than 200 years of bourbon-making history.

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Jack Speer
Jack Speer is a newscaster at NPR in Washington, DC. In this role he reports, writes, edits, and produces live hourly updates which air during NPR programming.