Lexington, KY – April 17 – Jim Beam® Bourbon will donate $5 million to the University of Kentucky to establish the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits. The Institute will educate the next generation of distillers through a curriculum that covers the skills needed to succeed in the distilled spirits industry at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.
“As the University for Kentucky, we are the engine of our state’s industry — the pulse of its economy,” said University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto. “When we envisioned ways to prepare our workforce to meet the changing needs of our rapidly growing Bourbon industry, a partnership with Jim Beam was a natural fit, and I can’t thank them enough for the generous gift that will help bring our vision to life. Together, as the Commonwealth’s indispensable institution and the world’s No. 1-selling bourbon, we’re inspired by the common goal of maintaining the welfare, prosperity, and sustainability of Kentucky’s spirits industry for generations to come.”
This $5 million gift represents Beam Suntory’s largest single philanthropic or educational gift in the company’s history.
This donation is an investment in the future of Bourbon, and Kentucky’s future workforce, and we are confident that the future for both is very bright indeed
said Albert Baladi, President and CEO of Beam Suntory. “We are excited about the key role that this program will play in the continued global expansion of America’s Native Spirit.”
The James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits, led by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, will offer courses across engineering, chemistry, business, law, horticulture, forestry, food science, and entomology to address spirits industry needs in sustainable agriculture, research and development, and more.
“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,” Fred Noe, Jim Beam’s Seventh Generation Master Distiller. “And there’s no better place to make Bourbon than right here in Kentucky.”
According to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, there are nearly two barrels of Bourbon resting in the state of Kentucky for every person living there, valued at $3 billion, up 300% from 2009. Bourbon contributes $8.6 billion to Kentucky’s economy each year, including $1 billion in payroll, and $235 million in state and local tax revenue. The Bourbon industry also provides more than 20,000 jobs in the state.
“Very few places in the world have a historic landmark product like bourbon,” said Seth DeBolt, horticulture professor and institute director. “The Institute is a collaboration to increase the longevity and the economic development for the spirits industry in Kentucky. 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 university began a popular certificate in Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies in 2014 and its online version is set to launch this fall. The Institute will build on this existing teaching opportunity as well as in research and outreach. It is a collaboration between the Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Business and Economics.
“Our signature Bourbon industry is an incredible economic engine for the Commonwealth and a thriving global symbol of Kentucky craftsmanship and tradition,” said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. “In the coming months, we look forward to sharing details of an impressive statewide initiative that will leverage many of our universities strengths and prepare the workforce of tomorrow for careers in bourbon hospitality, business, and tourism, in addition to distillation and research and development.”
UK and Jim Beam are dedicated to responsible consumption and together will develop and expand successful alcohol awareness programs statewide, including programming already funded by Jim Beam parent Beam Suntory.
About the University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety and the Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for.” We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.
About Jim Beam
Jim Beam is the world's best-selling bourbon, crafted by seven generations of family distillers since 1795. Elegant. Smooth. Refined. That's what years of aging in new charred oak barrels does to our Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Fred Noe, Jim Beam's Seventh Generation Master Distiller, has stayed true to the family recipe that's been passed down through generations. The Jim Beam portfolio of products includes Jim Beam Bourbon, Jim Beam Black, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Devil's Cut, Jim Beam Bonded, Jim Beam Rye, Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece, Jim Beam Vanilla, Jim Beam Honey, Jim Beam Kentucky Fire and Red Stag by Jim Beam among other offerings.
About Beam Suntory Inc.
As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires human connections. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands, Suntory whisky Kakubin and Courvoisier cognac, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Legent bourbon; Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Toki Japanese whisky; Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whisky; Canadian Club whisky; Hornitos and Sauza tequila; EFFEN, Haku and Pinnacle vodka; Sipsmith and Roku gin; and Midori liqueur.
Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and vision of Growing for Good. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamsuntory.com and www.drinksmart.com.
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