Beam Suntory

Beam Suntory, the world’s third largest premium spirits company, has completed the relocation of its global headquarters from suburban Deerfield to downtown Chicago.

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“Being in the industry we’re in, it was really important that the first thing people see when they walk into our headquarters is a bar,” says Paula Erickson, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Beam Suntory. Known as “Fred’s Rackhouse”—a tribute to Jim Beam’s master distiller, Fred Noe—this warm gathering spot just off the lobby is used for events, education sessions and informal meetings. Other nods to bourbon-making when you first walk in include a barrel-ring pendant lamp and a copper-fronted reception desk, alluding to the copper pot stills used for distillation. It’s not all Beam, though. Five brands from the company’s portfolio are represented with their own “neighborhoods” in the 110,000-square-foot space on the 16th floor of the Merchandise Mart. Each has a design that reflects its place of origin (the neighborhood of Japanese whiskey brand Yamazaki, for example, has a more minimalist look, with primarily shades of blue in the decor). “We did this not only so people always know where they are, but to celebrate the global aspect of the company and the heritage behind each brand,” says Jim Dionne, global director of marketing and indirect procurement/marketing operations.

*The text in this case study is from Crain's Chicago Business 2018 Coolest Offices.