Do Some Research Jim Beam.

If you follow me on twitter, and I am assuming you don’t, you will know that this Jim Beam commercial has caused me some consternation in the last few days.


All around it is a well-produced spot focusing on the rebirth of Jim Beam after the fall of prohibition. Talking about how “Jim Beam” didn’t take a drink until it was one that he had made himself, so it was imperative to rebuild the distillery.  The message was clear, Jim Beam puts a premium on quality over expediency, and there is a pride in the product and a duty to provide quality to the consumer.

The issue I took initially was the timeline, the commercial implies that Jim Beam himself rebuilt the distillery with the help of “friends” in a scant 120 days. No issues with that yet.  The problem is with the fact that Jim Beam has been around “Since 1795” 138 years before the fall of prohibition.  So the initial thought is that there was no way that THE Jim Beam was present for the reconstruction after the 21st amendment.

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A quick browse through Wikipedia quickly cleared this up, the grandson of the initial founder was  named James Beam, and was at the helm before during and after the prohibition era.  The initial founder was named Jacob Beam, so in fact "Jim Beam" has not been around since 1795, but the company that evolved into it has.  Never the less this leads to another question for me, why not mention that?  One line in the ad uses the phrase “Raised Right” why not make a note of the family nature of the business?  That the dedication to a quality beverage was instilled in the Beams from generation to generation.  That type of history would only benefit the narrative of the commercial. 
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"Jim Beam" was sold as "Old Tub" from 1880 to 1943


Some would argue that my interest in the history of Jim Beam has been in someways a success for the advert, but in the hours I have spend stewing, researching, and now writing about this, I noticed a couple other issues. The image of the competed distillery shows the modern Jim Beam logo, that name was not applied to the brand for another 20 years.  Anachronisms aren't uncommon in commercials and this one would have probably gone unnoticed had I not had to do a deep dive on the 138 year old Jim Beam.

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