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University of Kentucky, Beam Suntory continue Beam Institute partnership

A $7.5 million investment from alcohol company Beam Suntory is going towards supporting the University of Kentucky’s James B. Beam Institute.

The institute researches the distillation of whiskey and educates UK students about the spirits workforce.

“We're really trying to develop both the grains, trying to develop the process and the distillery, and also trying to develop the overall network,” Beam Institute Research Director Brad Berron said. “There are all the supporting industries that really build out around bourbon and really are central to their success.”

Another $1.88 million will also be granted by the state’s Research Challenge Trust Fund for a total investment of $9.3 million.

Berron says the money will end up supporting the students involved.

“If you can apply it to an industry that really hits home here in Kentucky, it's a lot easier for the students to get engaged, excited,” Berron said. “So we see a lot of students paying more attention in class when we start talking about bourbon, we also see students getting excited about doing research outside of class.”

A conference for the state’s distilled spirits industry is also scheduled at the Institute next week, which will focus on technical education in the bourbon industry.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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