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Alltech and WKU Partnering to Create Craft Beer Production Line in Bowling Green


A Lexington brewing and distilling company is setting up a beer production line in Bowling Green.

Alltech, which produces Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, delivered a production-level brewing system Wednesday to WKU’s Center for Research and Development. No date has been set as to when the production line will begin operating, though it could start sometime this fall.

When complete, the brewing system would be the largest to be located at a university.

Alltech is leasing the space from WKU and will begin a craft beer brewing operation, while also paying the renovation and installation costs.

Meanwhile, some WKU administrators have been working on a proposal for a major and minor in brewing and distillation. Potter College of Arts & Letters Assistant Dean Andrew McMichael says the university has been seeking input from industry leaders.

“And we’ve been asking them two very simple questions: what do you want to see on a transcript from a WKU grad in order to hire them, and what do you wish you had known before you got into this business.”

McMichael says beer industry employees said they wish they knew more about managing workers, handling spreadsheets, the chemistry behind the brewing and distillation processes, and a host of other things.

McMichael and Cathleen Webb, Associate Dean for Research at WKU’s Ogden College of Science and Engineering, are hoping to present WKU faculty with a brewing and distillation curriculum proposal this fall. According to McMichael, he and Webb believe any future programs should include classes on chemistry, business, and hospitality.

The school already has some classes related to the beer industry up and running.  

“We’re offering three courses this summer on brewing and distilling, fermentation, and what’s called cold-side processes—the mechanical side, how to use equipment,” McMichael said.

The Alltech beer production line at the school’s Center for Research and Development will include a lab where students can get hands-on experience in the brewing and distillation process.

No beer will be sold at the production line.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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