In 1795, Jacob Beam sold his first barrel of whiskey in Kentucky. 216 years later, Beam Inc. is the fourth largest spirits company in the world producing and distributing some of the most well known spirit brands like the eponymous Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Sauza Tequila, Courvoisier, Knob Creek, and Effen Vodka, among a portfolio of 65 brands. Previously part of major holding company Fortune Brands, Beam is now an independent company that began trading on the NYSE earlier this month. Their new logo was introduced in August.
The new logo features the single word “Beam” in the signature script of fourth-generation distiller James B. Beam, whose namesake Jim Beam Bourbon is the company’s flagship spirits brand.
“Our new corporate identity is simple, authentic, memorable and is the perfect reflection of our commitment to the Beam family’s pioneering vision established more than 216 years ago,” said Matt Shattock, Beam president and CEO. “The Beam signature will now be on every aspect of our global business, serving as a powerful and enduring endorsement of our dedication to quality, innovation and authenticity as we enter an exciting new era of growth as a leading pure-play spirits company.”
— Press Release
The old logo was a perfectly fine parent company mark. It had a nicely executed monogram and the typography was decent. But it lacked any kind of personality and it failed to capture the much more overt and bold personalities. Not that the parent company has to compete with them, but it’s certainly better if they match in attitude. Using a founder’s signature is no new concept in identity design and it’s always done for the same reason — to communicate heritage, legacy, and tradition and to humanize a company. You just hope the signature is cool enough. Jim Beam’s signature isn’t that great but it’s short, simple, and strong. And as an endorser for all of their different brands it’s a perfect sign-off, as if every bottle had been approved by the man himself.