FRANKFORT, KY (KFVS) - Universities across Kentucky are offering classes in distilling, brewing and wine making, but students necessarily can't taste the spirits - even if they're of the legal drinking age.
Midway University has a culinary degree program that has included bourbon distilling, according to Rep. James Kay.
The university is now looking at offering degrees for craft brewers and local vintners.
Kay spoke on Friday, August 18, in a testimony before the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations.
He spoke in favor of proposed legislation that would allow accredited universities to conduct alcoholic beverage sampling for students who are 21 years or more to drink as part of an educational program.
"This isn't a booze fest. This isn't so underage kids can drink. This isn't so undergraduates can have a good time at the expense of their parents and their universities," said Kay.
At the University of Kentucky, Professor Seth Debolt directs the wine and brewing programs.
"The way we did that was that we actually went down to Bowling Green and built a brewery on the campus of Western Kentucky University," Debolt said.
"This is our brewery under our license and it is our brewers brewing the beer. What we do is allow the students that are in the program at Western Kentucky University to come into our brewery and use it basically as their lab class – get hands-on experience with the sciences behind brewing and distilling."
Peter Weiss of Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company testified that his company has partnered with Western Kentucky University to brew a type of beer marketed as College Heights Ale.
The program also includes classroom studies where students learn how to run a small business, hire people and read the laws behind brewing and distilling.