CLERMONT, Ky., Sept. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Fierce competitors set aside their differences in the name of barbecue and a good cause as some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries and cooperages gathered at the Jim Beam® American Stillhouse in Clermont, Ky,. on Saturday for the inaugural «Great Distillery BBQ Cook-off.» Hosted by the world’s No. 1 selling bourbon, Jim Beam®, the event crowned a top bourbon-industry pitmaster and demonstrated that the world’s best barbecue comes from the world’s best bourbon distilleries.

“The Smoking Barrel Boys” of The Independent Stave Company pose with seventh generation Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe after winning “The Great Distillery BBQ Cook-off” at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont, Ky. on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The team was named grand champion, beating eight others in the first annual barbecue cook-off between some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries and cooperages.

«Here in Kentucky, our bourbon is the world’s finest,» said Fred Noe, seventh generation Jim Beam Master Distiller. «But our barbecue is also a force to be reckoned with. That’s why we decided to make history with an industry throwdown. It was big and bold – just like the whiskies my family has been making for more than 220 years.»

Nine four-person cook teams, representing The Bardstown Bourbon Company, Barton Brands, Independent Stave Company, Jim Beam Distillery and Wild Turkey Distillery, competed in ribeye, St. Louis-style ribs and chicken legs. Teams smoked, sauced and seared their way through the day as a prestigious panel of certified barbecue judges and select master distillers determined winners based on overall presentation, taste and tenderness.

Fred Minnick, bourbon expert and author, helped declare «The Smoking Barrel Boys» of The Independent Stave Company with the grand champion prize – bragging rights and a Deep South GC28 Smoker for future team use. Winners in individual categories included:

  • Ribeye – «The Boston Butts» – Jim Beam Booker Noe Plant
  • St. Louis-style ribs – «The Clermont Grillers» – Jim Beam Clermont Plant
  • Chicken legs – «The Smoking Barrel Boys» – The Independent Stave Company

«These teams stepped away from their day jobs and poured their hearts and souls into this barbecue competition,» added Noe. «It  may have been an amateur competition, but these teams were on fire. And the camaraderie we distillers have forged over the years remained.»

The competition not only celebrated America’s native spirit, but also supported Operation BBQ Relief, a nonprofit consisting of volunteers from competition barbecue teams who provide hot meals to displaced families and emergency personnel in areas impacted by natural disasters. The organization is currently deployed in Texas and soon Florida providing relief to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Celebrate America’s Native Spirit with Jim Beam
The spirit of National Bourbon Heritage Month continues at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse and Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse in downtown Louisville throughout the month of September. Bourbon fans from around the world can visit either visitor center to learn more about the bold, rich flavors of Beam’s award-winning whiskey portfolio, plus enjoy a variety of specialty programs and events including the celebrated Jim Beam Day at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse on Friday, September 15. The day includes bourbon-inspired fare from the on-site café, Fred’s Smokehouse, complimentary bourbon schwag, music and more.

More information about the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse and the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, visit or Facebook and Twitter.

Photos and video from «The Great Distillery BBQ Cook-off» are available upon request.

About Operation BBQ Relief
The mission of Operation BBQ Relief is to provide compassion, offer hope and friendship to those whose lives have been affected by disasters across the United States through our expertise in cooking and catering barbecue meals and our ability to quickly mobilize our teams into any area where nature disrupts and tears apart the lives of Americans. Visit operation for more information. 

About Beam Suntory Inc.
As the world’s third largest premium spirits company, Beam Suntory is Crafting the Spirits Brands that Stir the World.  Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands and Suntory whisky Kakubin, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek bourbon, Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki Japanese whiskies, Teacher’s, Laphroaig, and Bowmore Scotch whiskies, Canadian Club whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Hornitos and Sauza tequila, EFFEN and Pinnacle vodka, Sipsmith gin, and Midori liqueur. 

Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and commitment to Growing for Good.  Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan.  For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit and

Jim Beam® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 40% Alc./Vol.
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