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Comment: There is no writing or highlighting throughout the book. The dust jacket is included. The pages, cover & dust jacket have some wear. Overall, the book is in really good condition.
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Beam, Straight Up: The Bold Story of the First Family of Bourbon Hardcover – September 19, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

From the moment newborn Frederick Booker Noe III arrived home from the hospital in a spanking new 1957 Ford Fairlane that his father spent his last dime on, his family had high hopes. As the seventh generation of the world's most famous whiskey-making family, would the young Fred be up to the task of carrying on the 217-year-old legacy of the world's largest bourbon company and one of the world's best known whiskies, Jim Beam Bourbon? Beam, Straight Up chronicles Fred's long and, at times, wild and hilarious journey of doing just that, while offering an insider's look at this centuries-old dynasty.

The first member of the Beam clan to document its illustrious history, Fred shares his own tales of "growing up Beam" in Bardstown, Kentucky, the "Bourbon Capitol of the World," and dives even further into the growth of one of the world's best-selling bourbons. Starting at the bottling line where he began his career, he describes the long and circuitous route he took to become a renowned global bourbon ambassador and the face of one of America's most iconic brands. Along the way, Fred dispenses time-tested, quality business insights on how to maintain and grow a revered brand, along with a well-rounded view of the bourbon industry, the Jim Beam brand, and his role in shaping it, including:

  • The making of a bourbon ambassador, from learning to speak "City-Southern" to an education in the distilling process
  • A simple primer on how bourbon is made, from the effects of the American white oak barrel to the importance of the sweet limestone Kentucky water
  • The art of making your own stories and establishing your reputation, and the role that reputation plays in selling your product
  • How the Jim Beam family helped shape today's thriving bourbon industry

For anyone looking to build a brand or a business that lasts, Beam, Straight Up offers colorful but invaluable business advice and insights that will help you establish your own legacy.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Beam, Straight Up

"I've known Fred for years. He's a natural entertainer—he's lived the life—and this book is pure entertainment."
—Kid Rock

"Fred Noe has made us a part of the 'family' of Jim Beam since the beginning of our relationship thirteen years ago. Cheers to Fred for giving us a glimpse behind the scenes of our favorite bourbon in the world!"
—Eddie Montgomery of multiplatinum country duo Montgomery Gentry

"We're honored to play a part in the storied history of Jim Beam—and there's no better person to tell the story than Fred Noe himself."
—Troy Gentry of multiplatinum country duo Montgomery Gentry

"If you want the inside scoop from Bourbon royalty—and my personal mentor—then read this book and enjoy firsthand the colorful stories of one of the most respected, well-traveled, and hilarious members of Beam's family . . . Fred Noe."
—Bernie Lubbers, "Whiskey Professor" and author of Bourbon Whiskey: Our Native Spirit

"Fred Noe is more than just the scion of a famous family. He is a real guy with real stories, and reading them, you can see how it wasn't all bourbon and roses for him growing up and getting to where he is today."
—Charles K. Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118378369
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118378366
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Beam, Straight Up reads like a great glass of bourbon - smooth, earthy, and with just a little kick on the way down. This is the story of how a distinctly American family produced and nurtured a distinctly American brand. Fred Noe writes with a down-home humility that I found to be engaging. He seems like the kind of guy that you would love to swap stories with over a great glass of bourbon.

This really isn't a business book, although business people can learn many lessons about building a great company, innovating, and staying relevant for centuries. It really isn't a history book, although there is a lot of fascinating history about how bourbon is made. It is absolutely a great book about finding and staying true to your roots.

It is worth a couple of nights with a great glass of bourbon to read.

Randy G. Pennington
Author, Results Rule!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Funny, informative and quick read.

Candid and authentic story of the life of Fred Noe--Frederick Booker Noe III--co-written by Beam’s PR firm/guy, Jim Kokoris. Fred's voice…not Jim’s…comes through authentically

Fred tells the story, with warts and embarrassments included, on his life, the Beam family, the art/science making Bourbon, and building a brand.

Favorite quotes from the book:
* “Things go bad before they go bad.”
* “We changed (introduced Red Stag by Jim Beam) before we had to.”

Funniest part: Fred’s employer hires a speech coach. He is taught how to speak and change his dialect. Hilarious.

Would love having Fred join friends and me for an evening of solving the world’s problems over some drinks.

He even offered his 10 views of growing a business and a brand.

I came away enormously impressed by Beam’s commitment to the product. Something I hope the new mega-corporate owners preserve. Virtually all Beam products are in my bar cabinet.
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By RWK on July 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fred Knoe comes across in the book just as he does in real life. Very down to earth and says what he is thinking. The book is the next best thing to sitting down with him in person for a friendly visit. It is an easy read and very entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book to do a report for a Kentucky History class for college. It fit the criteria and seemed like a book I wouldn't mind keeping around. I was right! This book is funny, interesting and full of nice facts. It is an excellent story told by a very down to earth author. I found it easy to read, it isn't full of confusing wording which I think is a perk to a lot of people. It's as if you're sitting right in front of him the whole time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a personal and heartfelt sharing of the twists and turns in the life of Fred Booker Noe III, in finally taking his place as the 7th generation to lead Jim Beam. He is the great-grandson of Jim Beam, and son of Booker Noe.

He writes in a conversational style. You feel that you are sitting down with him, and sipping a black label 8-year old Beam, listening to him tell tales. You can't help but like this man. Partway through the book you will feel like he is an old friend.

Page 43, how he selected his college, will make you smile.

Chapter 3 is golden. The story of his father's work on smoked hams, beaten biscuits, and finally the development of the 4 small batch bourbons gives a portrait of the work ethic and drive of that man. Booker may just be the one man most responsible for the renaissance of bourbon. At the end, the 4 pages about his father's last few weeks, were extremely moving.

My only criticism is that the book was not longer. I wanted to know about those missing years working every job in the business-- after a wonderful start, in the bottling room, he skips the next 28 years!

I'll be passing this biography on to a friend, and I've already ordered another copy to give as a gift to someone else.

For more history and tech details, also read Charles Cowdery's Bourbon Straight, and Michael Veach's Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great history of an all American family. Great narrative and a good story. The book doesn't go into too great a depth about the business side of Beam but does a great job of explaining the role of the family in a publicly traded company.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fred has a great book. You feel like you really know him after reading this. It is plain, simple and down to earth. For those who doesn't know about the process of making bourbon, you get that too. Love this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended to me prior to my going to the Bourbon Festival in Kentucky. I am so glad I read it prior to my trip. The background and history is very interesting and makes the actual touring so much more interesting since you already have a sense of who the players are and the interaction between them. If you have any interest in bourbon this is a MUST read. Very engaging book and a quick read. I highly recommend it.
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