UK and Jim Beam partner to create Institute for Kentucky Spirits


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Sierra Anderson

Jim Beam is making history after generously donating $5 million to the University of Kentucky, the largest single philanthropic or educational gift the company has ever donated.

This donation, marked to establish the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits, will allow students to gain knowledge within the distillery profession at the undergraduate, graduate and professional education levels to pursue a career within the distilled spirits industry.

“The institute is a collaboration to increase the longevity and the economic development for the spirits industry in Kentucky,” Horticulture professor and institute director Seth DeBolt said. “It is really driven from an interdependence that we see between the university and the industry, and of course, remembering UK’s land-grant mission is to serve the economy of Kentucky. It’s a win-win all the way around, and we’re really excited about it.”

The James B. Institution for Kentucky Spirits will be led by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. There will be a wide variety of classes available for students from engineering, chemistry, business, horticulture, research development and more.

The institute will build on the previous certification in Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies which is also a collaboration within different colleges at UK to grow more in research and outreach.

“With the continued global growth of bourbon, we need to focus on educating the next generation of distillers, scientists and engineers who can tackle the needs of this industry well into the future,” Jim Beam’s seventh generation master distiller Fred Noe said. “And there’s no better place to make Bourbon than right here in Kentucky.”

Kentucky is a historical landmark for bourbon, and this donation hopes to open many doors for many more Kentuckians, along with keeping the tradition of bourbon alive.