When I received a press copy of Fred Noe’s autobiography, “Beam, Straight Up,” I had no doubt the story of this seventh-generation Jim Beam master distiller would be a good one.
Noe is not only a born storyteller gifted with a memory for delicious details, he’s also generous to the cast of characters in those tales, and properly self-effacing when the story swings round to him. Unlike Fox News, Noe’s recollections come off as fair and balanced — helped immensely by their self-deprecating tone.
Simply growing up a Beam ensures one’s life would be adventurous and worth recording. It came with its privileges to be sure, but as Noe details, those honors demanded a price.
Growing up under the withering scrutiny but genuine friendliness of his legendary father, Fred “Booker” Noe, and the expectation that he’d someday assume the throne at Jim Beam was no mean feat. But Noe describes those struggles without bitterness or blame; rather he sees them as life lessons learned across many seasons — maybe too slowly at times, but taken to heart all the same.
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