Jim Beam traces its history to Jacob Beam, who sold his first barrels of corn whiskey around 1795. The whiskey was first called Old Jake Beam, and the distillery was known as Old Tub. Eventually the whiskey also took the Old Tub name. It retained it until the early 1940s, when it became Colonel James B. Beam and then Jim Beam, honoring James Beauregard Beam, Jacob Beam’s great-grandson, who ran the company from 1892 until 1944.
Source: The New York Times’ Feb. 27, 2004, obituary of F. Booker Noe II, Jacob Beam’s great-great-great grandson.