Brew Bounces Back At WKU

Jun 18, 2018

  One of the architects of Western Kentucky University’s brewing and distilling program says the future is bright, despite the end of a corporate partnership. Alltech announced last week the end of its brewing collaboration with the school.

The biotechnology company had been operating a full scale brewery at WKU’s Center for Research and Development. The company said the partnership didn’t work out as anticipated, but declined to elaborate. Dr. Andrew McMichael is one of the coordinators of the Brewing and Distilling Arts and Sciences program at WKU. He says he thinks no longer having a brewery will open the program to more collaborations with craft breweries. 

"We've always collaborated with the White Squirrel Brewery in town and they've been huge supporters of ours. We'll do more that. In fact, in the last four or five days since the announcement came out, I've heard from more than a dozen breweries asking if we're now open to other collaborations with other breweries."

"In previous collaborations, what we've done is had a student design a beer recipe. It was then produced by the White Squirrel Brewery and sold at White Squirrel, and a dollar per pint came back to our student scholarship fund. Those are the types of collaborations we'll go forward with."

The end of the brewery partnership means that Alltech will no longer produce College Heights Ale and College Heights IPA, which were sold commercially. The university will continue offering certificate programs and hands-on experience will still be offered through a student lab using a one-barrel system.

WKU was the first university in the state to open a full scale brewery and offer certificates in brewing and distilling. The program currently has 25 students. With Alltech’s exit, McMichael says students will still have access to a lab with small scale brewing capabilities.