Brewery future uncertain after Alltech ends beer-making deal with WKU

Brewery Supervisor Joe Walls flushes the line before transferring the wort, a sweet liquid made from steeped grains, from the kettle into the fermenter during a trial brew at the new brewery at the WKU Research & Development Center.  Walls, who started on the  Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company bottling line three years ago, was the sole employee managing the construction and trial runs at this location until recently. The brewery, a partnership between WKU and Alltech, now employs two WKU students and is producing College Heights Ale, which can be found at local restaurants including Mellow Mushroom and White Squirrel. Leanora Benkato/HERALD

Nicole Ziege

The future of WKU’s brewery remains uncertain after the end to a brewing partnership between WKU and Alltech was announced, which is the company that produces two WKU-themed beers.

According to the Bowling Green Daily NewsAlltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company will stop the production of College Heights Ale and College Heights IPA. Both beers were produced exclusively by Alltech.

The company also announced that it will no longer lease space for a brewing facility on WKU’s campus, according to a joint statement released by WKU and Alltech.

“We have enjoyed a rich partnership with WKU in a variety of areas, and we will continue to seek new ways to work together in developing the next generation of farmers, scientists and international business professionals,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president of Alltech, in the statement.

In 2015, WKU partnered with Alltech, which allowed the company to lease space on campus. In return, Alltech provided its company’s equipment to WKU, including a brewhouse, fermenters and conditioning tanks capable of producing a variety of beers.

The collaboration also included a $300,000 donor commitment from Alltech to WKU over a five-year period, beginning in 2015.

According to the statement, Alltech will continue to honor its monetary commitment to WKU, despite its end of leasing campus space.

Alltech’s relationship with WKU predates this partnership, though. Students and WKU have participated in Alltech’s annual Innovation Competition for university business teams and have been selected for its Corporate Career Development Program.

“Additionally, WKU’s Chinese Flagship Program has been a talent pipeline for Alltech’s business operations in China, the world’s largest feed market,” according to the statement.

Numerous undergraduate students have been provided with fully funded internships and housing in Beijing, working for Alltech China.

Alltech and WKU also partnered on an online Master of Science in Agriculture program, and Alltech recently donated a KEENAN mixer wagon to WKU’s Department of Agriculture.

President Timothy Caboni also expressed his thoughts in the statement. He said that the partnership between WKU and Alltech helped launch the Brewing and Distilling Arts and Sciences program at WKU.

“We are grateful for the long-standing relationship with Alltech and for their continued support as we work to offer educational opportunities that build talent for workforce development in the brewing and distilling industries in Kentucky and around the United States,” Caboni said in the statement.

This story has been updated.

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.