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James B. Beam Institute receives donation of barrel storage equipment to advance teaching, research


By Aimee Nielson
University of Kentucky

An equipment donation from Koetter Construction will enable the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits at the University of Kentucky to construct a modern barrel-storage system inside the Independent Stave Company – Boswell Family Barrel Warehouse at the institute.

“With the announcement that the James B. Beam Institute was going to build a barrel warehouse to go along with the new distillery on campus, we immediately thought what a great fit for our K-RAX system,” said Bob Koetter Jr., president of Koetter Construction. “For years now, our team has been working with Beam Suntory and other distilleries to help improve safety not only for the employees, but also for the product. We hope our donation makes an impact on the growth and development as well as the future education and safety of one of the largest industries in the world.”

The K-RAX system will allow the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits to safely house barrels on campus while teaching students about modern barrel storage. (Koetter photo)

Koetter Construction’s proprietary K-RAX storage system is the company’s response to distilleries’ concerns about structural integrity and safety, modern bourbon barrel storage building codes, safety regulations and understanding of construction materials.

“We are very grateful for this generous contribution of not only equipment, but a commitment to help us train the next generation of distillers about safe barrel storage,” said Seth DeBolt, director of UK’s James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits. “Our scientists and students together will be learning about this cutting-edge system. It puts our students at an advantage, as they will be learning about barrel storage approaches.”

Construction of the system will begin in mid-to-late 2021. For more information about Koetter’s K-RAX system, visit kraxbarrelstorage.com.

The Beam Institute is a collaboration between the UK Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment; Arts and Sciences; Business and Economics; and Engineering. Its vision is to educate the next generation of distillers through a curriculum that develops skills for undergraduates, graduate students and professionals to succeed in the distilled spirits industry.

For more information about the institute, visit beaminstitute.ca.uky.edu.

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