Colin Blake | Director of Spirits Education
Colin joined the Moonshine University team in 2012 as its Director of Spirits Education. As a researcher and writer of spirits and cocktails with a background in film production and comedy, Colin is known for delivering expertly curated courses with an entertaining presentation. He is also the proud co-creator of the Stave & Thief Society. When he isnâ€™t teaching, Colin is busy producing custom educational experiences for craft distillers and large spirits brands, alike.
"This is the friendliest, most open industry I've ever encountered. There aren't too many fields where you can call up nearly anyone in the business, introduce yourself, ask a question and get the answer."
Clay Smith | Distillery Operations Manager
Since 2003, Clay has served across many facets of the liquor industry â€“ from Head Distiller of Corsair Distillery to Liaison of the Kentucky Distillers' Association. Clay has been an educator in botanical spirits at Moonshine University since 2013, officially joining the team as its Distillery Operations Manager in 2018. Clay also assists with on-site consultation and product development services for distilleries nationwide.
"While the Science must be respected, the Art must be loved."
Kevin Hall | Corporate Development
Kevin has been a part of the Moonshine University team since 2011. Through his role in Corporate Development, Kevin spends his time identifying new opportunities in a quickly evolving industry. In addition to sourcing bulk spirits and providing consultation services to students and others entering the space, Kevin serves as an educator and representative at industry events.
â€œIn this business, there is always something more to learn.Â Even the legendary master distillers put in a call to each other from time to time.â€
Lindsey Davis | Registrar
Lindsey joined the Moonshine University team in 2019 as its Administrative Assistant and has since taken on the role of Registrar. She handles all class registrations and customer orders, allowing her to speak with students and clients from around the world. With a background in fine arts, Lindsey enjoys the creative aspect of the industry and how many opportunities there are to create something unique.
â€œI strive to make Moonshine University a welcoming environment for anyone who comes through our doors. I love that we have something for everyone, whether youâ€™re a bourbon enthusiast or the head of a large distilling corporation.â€
Who should attend Moonshine University?
- Entrepreneurs interested in opening their own distillery or launching their own brand.
- Industry professionals who are looking to gain a better overall understanding of the craft, science and trade of beverage alcohol.
- Those looking for careers in the distilling industry.
- Distillery owners/operators who want to specialize or improve in a certain area of their business.
What will I learn?
Our 6-Day Distiller Course provides a complete overview of the craft of distilling and the beverage alcohol industry through comprehensive technical training and business management education. We bring in over 50 industry experts for an intensive, practical, hands-on learning experience that covers every facet of the craft and the industry, from raw materials sourcing and best manufacturing practices to branding and getting your product into the hands of consumers.
Our workshops are designed to advance understanding and skills in specific areas of the business, such as individual distillate specialization, operations, and route-to-market, through practical study and hands-on on application in the classroom setting.
Are your courses hands on?
During our 6-Day Distiller Course, we spend time in the distillery every day. We distill rum, whiskey, gin, and vodka. Our hands-on distilling consultants, Pete Kamer and Randy Allender, are worth every penny of tuition alone. They go above and beyond to spend time with our attendees before and after class and on breaks to answer questions, discuss individual projects, and demonstrate techniques.
We also spend time in the beverage development lab studying beverage development, uses for grain neutral spirits (GNS), chill filtration and the art and science of sensory evaluations.
Similarly our workshops also include hands-on activities designed to incorporate the concepts discussed in the classroom into practical application. Many of our hands-on learning exercises breakdown larger concepts into smaller pieces for a more thorough analysis, such as individual congener study or bench-top distilling.
How are these courses different than other distilling courses?
Faculty: Moonshine University® was created to bring together specialists from every facet of the distilling and spirits industries under one roof to provide education, training, R & D, and support for industry professionals, established companies, and those entering the business. With a faculty of over 50 of the industry's recognized experts, we provide the opportunity to learn from the best of the best, from distillers and marketers of the world's most successful brands to owners and operators of working craft distilleries.
Facilities: Moonshine University® is located on a beverage campus that houses a fully-equipped distillery, state-of-art classroom, production facility with bottling line, extensive sensory library, and 24,000 square foot beverage innovation laboratory. Our proximity to industry supplier and manufacturing facilities allows us to incorporate "field trips" into our curriculum.
Recognition: As the exclusive educational member of the Kentucky Distillers' Association, Moonshine University® has the full breadth and depth of its support. KDA members produce nearly all of the major brands and many of the well-known craft brands in the United States. It is with these resources that we are able to offer such an in-depth training and business education for the distilling industry.
What do I get to take home from the course?
In addition to your learning materials, you will come away with a network of professional contacts from suppliers to distillers to distributors. During your time here at Moonshine U, you will have exceptional opportunities to personally engage with best of the best in the beverage alcohol industry, including:
â€¢ Distillery Equipment Manufacturers
â€¢ Distillery Architects and Contractors
â€¢ Beverage Scientists
â€¢ Distillery Operators
â€¢ World-renowned Master Distillers
â€¢ Brand Managers
â€¢ Distribution Managers
â€¢ Distillery Engineers
â€¢ Beverage Law & Compliance Consultants
Attendees will learn from an experienced distillery construction team made up of:
â€¢ Distillery Architect
â€¢ General Contractor
â€¢ Critical sub-contractors
â€¢ Key equipment manufacturers
â€¢ Distillery Engineer
â€¢ Distillery Operator
Where is Moonshine University located?
Moonshine UniversityÂ® is an artisan distillery and education center located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. For a virtual 360Â° tour using Google Maps,Â click here.
Are you open for tours?
Since our focus is education and not production, are not open to the public or offer public tours.Â Â If you are interested in attending a class and would like to meet the team at Moonshine UniversityÂ® and see the facilities, please contact us to set up an appointment.Â
Is Moonshine University® backed by any professional organizations?
As the exclusive educational member of the Kentucky Distillers' Association, Moonshine University® has the full breadth and depth of its support. KDA members produce nearly all of the major brands and many of the well-known craft brands in the United States. It is with these resources that we are able to offer such an in-depth training and business education for the distilling industry.
Does Moonshine University® offer job placement?
While we do not offer job placement, classes at Moonshine University® will put you in a better position for employment in the industry. The networking opportunities available through our courses are incredibly valuable for advancing in the industry. In addition, Moonshine University® acts as a resource to all graduates, providing information and helping to connect people.
Who makes up the faculty at Moonshine University®?
The faculty at Moonshine UniversityÂ® is made up of over 50 industry experts who represent hundreds of years of experience.Â Â Every class and topic is taught by the professional with years of experience in the area able to present in-depth, practical content and insight. Our faculty is not in house; theyâ€™re out working in the spirits industry. See more on ourÂ faculty page.
What range of classes do you offer?
We offer everything from one-day classes for enthusiast who want an unbranded, hands-on experience, to two-day and 3-day workshops that dive deep into specific areas of production and the industry. We also offer our flagship 6-Day Distiller Course, an intensive, practical, hands-on learning experience that provides a complete overview of distillate production and the beverage alcohol industry.
Do you offer private classes?
Private group classes are available upon request. Pricing varies based on group size and class content. We also offer individual training and product development. PleaseÂ contact us for details.
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