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Kentucky looking for solutions to bourbon industry’s surplus stillage

For every gallon of bourbon produced, approximately 10 gallons of stillage remains, with an...
For every gallon of bourbon produced, approximately 10 gallons of stillage remains, with an estimated 96 million gallons of stillage produced statewide annually.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 8:21 PM CDT
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KENTUCKY (KFVS) - As the number of Kentucky distillers increases, the state is looking for a solution to the industry’s surplus in stillage.

According to the state, the number of distillers has increased 250 percent in the last decade. Now, they need help finding a solution to all of the spent-grain byproduct, known as stillage.

You can submit your idea by August 30 and the top one will enter a reverse pitch competition on October 25 during the 25th Distillers Grains Symposium in Louisville.

“Our state’s bourbon industry continues to grow at an incredible rate. That means more revenue coming into the state, more quality job opportunities for Kentucky residents and more global recognition for our outstanding brands,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “However, it also means a rise in byproduct within the industry, so we are asking people for their best ideas to use this stillage in ways that create jobs and moves Kentucky’s agritech industry forward. We’re building a sustainable economy that works for all Kentuckians, and that includes ensuring our industries operate as efficiently as possible.”

Ideally, pitches should meet the following criteria:

  • Prioritize sustainability and environmental impact
  • Demonstrate an economic value to the distillery and the end-user of the stillage
  • Identify the size of the distillery the solution is targeting
  • Address the location and space requirements of the solution, if any equipment or process footprint is required
  • Estimate product development costs, if applicable
  • Estimate the initial investment, ongoing costs and profits, if applicable, of the solution to the parties involved
  • Highlight the financial, sustainable and environmental benefits of the solution
  • Explain if/what testing or pilot demonstration has taken place and whether it was successful
  • Highlight the scalability of the solution
  • Project the solution’s implementation/start-up time

Among other prizes, the pitch competition winner will get the opportunity to work alongside distilleries and stakeholders across the state.

For every gallon of bourbon produced, approximately 10 gallons of stillage remains, with an estimated 96 million gallons of stillage produced statewide annually.

While mostly water, whole stillage is acidic and has a high biological oxygen demand.

Some current uses of stillage include animal feed and supplements.

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