The Art + Science of Distilling

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Celebrating the “Moonshine” in Moonshine University

July 29th, 2020

As the distilling industry’s premier education provider, we often get questioned about our name – Moonshine University.

If you’re unfamiliar with moonshine in its modern context, then we can certainly understand why our namesake might initially raise a brow. You might be surprised to learn that what was once known as “Popskull,” “White Lightning,” and “Mule Kick” can actually be understood as representative for a breadth of spirits styles – and here’s why.

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4 Responsible Ways Distillers Use Spent Grains

July 22nd, 2020

Waste is not the first thing that comes to mind when daydreaming about being a distiller, but it’s a reality you do need to consider before launching a distillery.

Undoubtedly, a byproduct of your production will be spent grains, also called thick stillage. Once grains make their way through your mash, fermentation, and distillation processes, what’s leftover is hundreds of gallons of the stuff, depending on the size of your operation.

When you’re producing every day, that’s a lot of spent grains to deal with. So where does it all go? Well, that depends on the operation. Some small distilleries and breweries might consider depositing their haul at the local landfill – but the good news is there are better options than condemning your stillage to rot at the dump.

Instead of opting for disposal, give stillage a second life. Consider these 4 more responsible and sustainable ways to upcycle your spent grains.

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Which Tequila Is Best For Your Palate?

July 15th, 2020

With over 300 different characteristics, tequila possesses a depth of flavors and aromas that rival any good spirit. Depending on the unique conditions in which its agave was grown, as well as the techniques utilized in its production, this delightful spirit can range from light and fruity to deep and smokey – and everything in between.

Unfortunately, most Americans have only known tequila through mixto expressions – essentially, a blended liquor of at least 51% agave distillate and as much as 49% alcohol from some other source. The result is a harsher flavored spirit – often saved by the presence of lime and salt – that is also more likely to give you a hangover… Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

But don’t worry, there is a way to chase away those college memories marred by a bad mixto! You just need to learn how to pick out a good tequila.

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Introducing The Stave & Thief Society

July 8th, 2020


Moonshine University is the premiere education provider for all things distilling. Located in the heart of Bourbon country, it’s natural that the world-class distillery school would also offer a special curriculum dedicated to America’s native spirit. Enter, The Stave & Thief Society.
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Cocktails to Sip This July 4th

July 1st, 2020

Since 1776, Americans have celebrated our nation’s independence with fireworks, baseball games, carnivals, and the like. While this year’s July 4th festivities might look a little different than those of years past, we can still count on good food and great drinks to raise our spirits.

To help you out with your weekend preparations, our Moonshine University educators and staff are sharing 5 of their favorite cocktails to pair with your Independence Day excitement. Here’s the list:

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Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine & Beer

June 24th, 2020

By law, Bourbon must be aged in new charred oak barrels. That means that after a Bourbon has finished up its time in the barrel, it cannot be used again to make more Bourbon. Facing a lot of empty barrels, winemakers and brewers have since found a creative solution by creating a new style for consumers to enjoy – Bourbon barrel-aged wine and beer!

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The Rise & Fall of The Whiskey Trust

June 17th, 2020

Written by John Raiona, Executive Bourbon Steward.

As Kentuckians, we are proud of our bourbon heritage – and we should be! After all, 95% of the world’s bourbon supply is produced right here in the Bluegrass State. However, you might be surprised to learn that in the mid-to-late 19th century, there were many who believed that the whiskey capital of the world was actually Peoria, Illinois. Why? It all starts with the formation of The Whiskey Trust.

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Hidden Magic: On Writing a Technical Manual of Whiskey Making

June 10th, 2020

By Shelley Sackier, Director of Distillery Education, Reservoir Distillery. Story originally published to Reservoir Distillery.

I’m nearly finished writing another book. This one won’t be published for the public though. It’s a technical manual.

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On Bourbon and Sharks

June 3rd, 2020

Written by Tim M. Berra, PhD. To learn more about the author, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Rob Snow (OCEARCH) and used with permission of Robert Hueter

In January 2020, CBS 60 Minutes Overtime re-ran a previous story from September 2019 about tagging White Sharks off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The research vessel, MV Ocearch, is a 125-foot converted crab boat with a hydraulic platform that can be lowered off the starboard side, and then can lift up to 75,000 pounds (34,019 kg) back to deck level. When a shark is caught on a line, it is guided onto the submerged platform, which is then elevated above water level essentially beaching the shark. A hose is inserted into the shark’s mouth so sea water can aerate the gills. Scientists can then get to work. They examine, measure, take blood and tissue samples, and tag the shark with acoustic and satellite transmitters. After about 15 minutes, the platform with the shark is submerged, and the shark is guided back into the ocean to freedom.

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3 Tips for Storing Your Spirits At Home

May 27th, 2020

If you’re a fan of liquor, chances are that you’ve got more than one bottle at home. Maybe you have a fully stocked bar, or perhaps you have bottles scattered around your house – in your cabinets, on your shelves, or even buried in the back of your freezer (hey, we don’t judge!) But if you want to know the best way to keep your liquor tasting its finest, then follow these three rules for storing your spirits.

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