A Logo with Spirit

By Mash Bonigala

Sometimes large conglomerates and corporations can be confusing, especially when it comes to how they organize their hierarchy. Most have a stable of brands that fit neatly under their brand umbrella, while others are allowed to stand on their own. Fortune Brands, a business that owns mainly spirit companies, is one such confusing organization.

Jim Beam, formally known as Beam Global Spirits and Wine, was a brand that was somewhat under the umbrella of Fortune Brands. However, Beam (along with several sister brands) is branching out on its own now, as an independent brand owned by Fortune. It will have a new and simpler name, Beam Inc., as well as a new and simpler logo design.

The first and most notable change from a logo with an image and descriptive wording to a simple wordmark. The company has gotten rid of their diamond shaped image and traditional font, adopting a streamlined logo that is simply the last word in the signature of well-known whiskey distillery James B. Beam. He is the Jim Beam in Jim Beam. Using the last name alone reflects the changes in the name, but also creates a simpler and more memorable logo design.

Not only is the new logo simpler, it is also more modern. Despite being based on a signature that is more than a century old, the new logo has the streamlined feeling of a contemporary design. In addition, it is more authentic, because it relates to the company past, which spans over 200 years in the spirits business. The seal may have been sufficient, but it is simply not as relevant.

Sometimes a change in brand is necessary because of a change in organizational structure. That is certainly the case here. Jim Beam is no longer one of many Fortune Brands, but a stand-alone corporation that happens to be owned by the conglomerate. As such, it is important to have a new logo that will work for this newly created business. The old logo was fine for a whisky maker, but not so much for a global corporation. It limited the brand to the spirits sector and was not as corporate as the new Beam, Inc. needs.

Apparently many of Fortune Brands’ larger businesses are stepping out with their own identities. This process should be complete by the last quarter of this year. The brands will still be a part of Fortune Brands but they will have an independent hierarchy and also their own stock trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Beam will be starting at the top, as the fourth largest premium spirits maker in the world. The Beam Inc. company includes not just its namesake bourbon, but several other spirit brands including Maker’s Mark, Teacher’s Scotch Whisky, and Sauza Tequila.