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UK’s Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits inks partnership with Scotch Whisky Research Institute


By Aimee Nielson
University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky’s James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits recently announced a partnership with the Scotch Whisky Research Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. The partnership will enhance stability in the spirits industry worldwide and allow the institutions to study distilled spirits together.

“This is a great opportunity to carry our efforts beyond Kentucky and the United States,” said Seth DeBolt, director of the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits. “To partner with such an established institute will elevate the efforts we’ve already begun at the Beam Institute.”

The Beam Institute and the Scotch Whisky Research Institute have similar missions and will work together to develop research activities, especially in the area of maturation. The partnership will allow students and scientists of both institutions an opportunity for exchange of skills and ideas.

“Distillers in Scotland and Kentucky have strong shared values in heritage, quality and sustainability.” said James Brosnan, director of research for the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. “This gives a firm platform for SWRI and University of Kentucky collaboration where joint research on areas like maturation will benefit our member companies on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The SWRI was established in 1974 and has been delivering innovative scientific support to the industry for more than 40 years on all aspects of Scotch whisky production. While SWRI’s primary area of expertise is Scotch whisky, many of the institution’s members have diverse portfolios and interests in other spirit drink categories. As such, SWRI carries out research and provides advice on distilled spirits such as gin, rum, vodka, tequila and non-Scotch whiskeys.

The Beam Institute is comprised of experts from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Gatton College of Business and Economics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering and the UK Rosenberg College of Law. The institute offers multidisciplinary research strengths to ensure sustained competitiveness of Kentucky’s spirits industry and its supply chain. The Beam Institute is committed to developing the state’s workforce and providing opportunities for economic growth via process efficiency and outreach.

“We are grateful to partner with this distinguished institute,” said Nancy Cox, UK vice president for land-grant engagement and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We look forward to sharing best practices.”

In creating exceptional teaching, research and outreach programs, the Beam Institute is a leader for Kentucky’s spirits industry from farm to product, which matches the SWRI’s commitment to research from barley to bottle.

“We have been and continue to be supportive of research collaborations between our Institute and premier entities such as The Scotch Whisky Research Institute,” said Lisa Cassis, UK vice president for research.

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