The Jim Beam Company has launched an interactive, on-line educational Website for enthusiasts, retailers, distributors and bartenders.

The Spirits Academy (www.spiritsacademy.com) offers a large selection of topics ranging from Prohibition and tasting etiquette to in-depth explanations on distilled spirits production and labelling. A searchable database provides links and descriptions of most brands and visitors can win branded merchandise and other rewards such as barware collections and neon signs for participating in quizzes, on-line tutorials, and sweepstakes like the search for the best bar joke.

The site was launched earlier this year after Kentucky-based Jim Beam marked a historic milestone, filling its ten-millionth barrel of bourbon.

Spokesperson and 'dean' of the Academy is actor George Wendt, better known as Norm, the corner barstool fixture of the US sitcom Cheers.