Kentucky Rye Whiskey Library

Grants and Contracts Details


The James B Beam Institute at the University of Kentucky works to serve the Kentucky bourbon and rye whiskey industry. A 7500 sq foot distillery and 600 barrel maturation house are under construction on campus (Nicholasville Rd and Cooper Dr). The new date for completion of construction for operation is April 2023. This project proposal aims to create a series of aged Kentucky rye whiskey expressions from the breeding lines available for Kentucky growers. The proposal was submitted last year and favorably viewed but due to delays in the construction process it is being resubmitted as a 2022/23 project. The University will work with members of the small grains council to grow a limited number of rye varieties that show the most promising yield and flavor expressions. It was decided that no more than five varieties should be grown. These will be mashed, fermented and distilled at the Beam Institute and aged in the Boswell Family Maturation facility. Samples from new make distillate will be analyzed for variation, but importantly these will be aged to evaluate aged expressions of Kentucky rye over time. While the project lasts two years to get the barrels filled, the Beam Institute will hold onto these barrels for a minimum of 4 years and target of 6 years. Distillers can then evaluate Kentucky rye whiskey expressions, understand varietal difference and connect with Kentucky rye producers (small grains council) to produce their material. Success in the project will be defined by long term adoption rates of Kentucky grown rye into distilled spirits. UK Beam Institute will work closely with the Grains Center for Excellence and Kentucky Small Grains Council to define agronomic expectations as well curate a list of grains producers available to distillers.
Effective start/end date9/1/2212/31/24


  • Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association: $19,350.00


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