Jim Beam donation to create Kentucky spirits institute

Posted at 12:14 PM, Apr 18, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Bourbon is synonymous with Kentucky, and now the state's flagship university wants to teach the next generation of master distillers who will produce the amber spirit.

Jim Beam bourbon said Wednesday it will donate $5 million to the University of Kentucky to establish the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits.

Albert Baladi, the top executive at Beam Suntory, which owns the Jim Beam brand, says the donation is an investment in bourbon's future.

The institute will offer courses across engineering, chemistry, business, law, horticulture, forestry, food science and entomology.

Fred Noe, Jim Beam's seventh generation master distiller, says the industry needs to focus on educating new distillers, scientists and engineers to continue bourbon's global growth.

The Kentucky Distillers' Association says the bluegrass state produces 95% of the world's bourbon supply.