WKU, Alltech Open First University-Based Craft Brewery in Kentucky

Apr 25, 2016

Jon Brown mashing in on the first brew at College Heights Brewing. Alltech and Western Kentucky University are partnering to create a lab for students so they can gain hands-on experience and conduct research within the brewing industry.
Credit Alltech staff

A craft brewery with ties to Western Kentucky University is now producing beer in Bowling Green. 

Lexington-based brewing and distilling company Alltech has opened a production line in the WKU Center for Research and Development. 

College Heights Brewing gives students hands-on experience while earning a certificate in brewing operations.  Dr. Andrew McMichael, assistant dean of the Potter College of Arts and Letters at WKU, says the school tailored a certification program based on conversations with existing Kentucky brewers and distillers.

"What were heard from them was that they didn't need anymore science and what they wish they had known was how to develop a business plan, how to design a label, , the history of the industry, and those kinds of things," McMichael told WKU Public Radio. 

WKU will offer courses on brewing while Alltech will oversee training and operations.  The brewing system is the only one located at a university in Kentucky.  Pete Weiss, marketing manager for the Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company, said partnering with a school has benefits.

"It teaches students that there is an art, as well as a science behind brewing and distilling," stated Weiss.  "There's ways to do it right and there's ways not to do it right, and for the future of the craft beer industry, we of course, want to present the best way to go about brewing."

Beer will not be sold at the WKU production site, but it will be distributed throughout the region under the name College Heights Ale.  The beer will first be sold at local pubs, and eventually in retail stores.