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The Art + Science of Distilling

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MU Summer Internship Opening

March 1st, 2019

Summary: Operate distillery functions in conjunction with class and production schedule. Will mash, ferment, and distill all products that will be used for Moonshine University activities. Ensure cleanliness of Grease Monkey Distillery and Moonshine University. Assist in product development for Moonshine University clients. Will aid in classroom set up and operations.


Whisky Magazine Names Kentucky Peerless Craft Producer of the Year

February 6th, 2019

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company received Whisky Magazine’s Craft Producer of the Year Award on January 30. Whisky Magazine narrowed it down from over 900 nominations to 20 craft distilleries from all across the world.


Clay Smith is in the house!

December 19th, 2018

Moonshine University is proud to welcome Clay Smith as their new Operations Manager. Clay has joined the Moon U team full time and we are excited to see the growth and new offerings that comes with this much experience, and beard, to the team.


Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2018

September 11th, 2018

What is it?

A celebration of America’s fine native spirit. Anything and everything to do with Bourbon Whiskey.

Where is it?

Bardstown, Kentucky. Bourbon capital of the world.

When is it?

September 12 – 16, 2018

This year marks the 27th annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky. Started in 1992, the festival brings tens of thousands of visitors to the small town to celebrate all things Bourbon. There is something for everyone, with various events, educational opportunities, arts & crafts, music, and of course… plenty of Bourbon.

Moonshine University’s Stave & Thief Society will be presenting several classes at the Bourbon Festival. Stave & Thief Society is the premier bourbon certification program, designed for enthusiasts and aficionados. These 90 minute classes will go in-depth on different topics regarding bourbon production and how each aspect affects the final flavor profile of America’s favorite whiskey. Come join us at our educational sessions, and enjoy some great tasting bourbons.

Title: A Whiskey and its Grains

Thursday 09/13. 10am – 12 pm. Spalding Hall Chapel.

This class examines corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley, the four gains that make up over 99% of whiskies, and how each adds its own specific flavors and aromas. Learn the nuances of each grain and how it impacts the final product. We will also cover the fast-growing trend of using alternative grains and how those might change the whiskies that we know and love. Tasting includes a thorough analysis of each individual grain distillate.

The Flavors of Fermentation

Friday 09/14. 10am – 12 pm. Spalding Hall Chapel.

Fermentation is more than just where alcohol gets created – it’s where flavor gets created. During this session we will explore the how yeast became cultivated, how it works, and how distillers control its environment to make the flavor profile they desire. We will be discussing how without yeast we wouldn’t have beer, wine, spirits, or even things like vinegar. Tasting includes samples of distillates made with different yeast strains and samples of whiskeys made with different fermentation environments.

Title: The Science of Maturation

Saturday 09/15. 10am – 12 pm. Spalding Hall Chapel.

Have you ever wondered what happens inside a barrel? During this session we will take a look at how whiskey matures within the barrel it calls home. Barrels have additive, subtractive, and interactive properties, and each impacts whisky in different ways. Come taste what each action does and how the barrel and where it is stored affects what is happening to the spirit inside of it. Tasting includes analysis of barrel pulls and how each individual barrel imparts its own unique flavor.


May 14th, 2018

Have you ever wanted to create your own bourbon? Gin? Rum? Spend a week as a distiller at Moonshine University, then keep what you make! My Craft Distillery is a week-long custom barrel program that allows you to call the shots and craft your own unique spirit. Create your own recipe for any spirit you want and pick your own barrel. Then ferment it, distill it, and barrel it!

As far a experiential vacations go, you’ll not find a better souvenir than a cask of whiskey or other spirit that you created. The expert staff at Moonshine University will, of course, be available to give as much advice and feedback as requested, but the product will be all yours as you call the shots during the week-long process.

As your spirit ages to desired maturation, we’ll send you samples every six months so you can soothe your anticipation and make sure things are progressing smoothly. In the meantime, while you’re here you’ll have the opportunity to earn the title of Executive Bourbon Steward, a $500 per person value.

Read more, sign up:

How to start building a distillery

August 15th, 2017

Starting a distillery is a dream that more and more people share, but it’s not something you should take lightly or go into unprepared. There are many questions you need to ask and answers you need to know before you drop a wad of cash on a property and a bunch of equipment. Think if you were buying a house. There are certain things you want in a house and certain things you can live without. You’ve got to decide what you need and what you can afford, right?


Moonshine U Presents: BBQ and Bourbon Pairings!

May 23rd, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY – The air gets a little smokier in May as Americans fire up the grill for National Barbecue Month. For this summertime exercise, the team at Moonshine University, the epicenter of bourbon, looked at BBQ sauces from all over the U.S. and did a big taste testing to see which bourbons paired the best with each sauce. Let that stew in your work jealousy for a while. The Moonshine team tried each sauce with both pork and chicken and then narrowed down what bourbons to match to based off the initial tasting notes of the sauce. Here’s Moonshine University’s top BBQ and bourbon pairings.

Alabama White Sauce: This mayonnaise-based sauce hails from northern Alabama. Beyond mayo, this sauce includes: apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper. We found the sauce to be very mayonnaise forward, much like ranch dressing with a slight vinegar tinge.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Booker’s – The higher proof of the Booker’s was mellowed out by the oil in the sauce, letting a lot of the flavors in the bourbon to come out in a way they didn’t on its own. We thought dialing back the alcohol burn really opened the bourbon and since the sauce wasn’t wildly flavorful, we didn’t feel anything was lost in the bourbon or in the sauce. It was a nice juxtaposition pairing : the mellowness of the sauce, with the boldness of the bourbon.

South Carolina Mustard Sauce: This sauce, as the name would indicate, is a mustard-based sauce instead of your typical ketchup or tomato base. The flavor profile is like many of the red barbecue sauces, sweet and spicy. We loved this sauce. It was slightly sweet, a little tangy, and carried a nice balance between apple cider vinegar and mustard. It was loudly exclaimed by a member of the tasting panel, “Ain’t nothing wrong with that sauce!”

  • Bourbon Pairing: Maker’s Mark – Maker’s Mark was a perfect complement to this sauce. The sweetness of the bourbon matched the sweetness of the sauce just right and both flavor profiles complemented each other perfectly. Every time you took a sip after a bite or a bite after a sip, different flavors popped out, often blending together to create a tangy mustard with a sweet, subtle oak flavor. Leaving a light candy flavor aftertaste.


Wave 3 News: Moonshine University offers education in distilling

May 1st, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – There’s no shortage of distilleries opening up in WAVE Country, and around the country.  Some of the people behind these distilleries are getting their education in Louisville, at a place called Moonshine University.

“We consider ourselves the home of distilling,” said David Dafoe, the founder of Moonshine University.  “We thought Moonshine University should be right here.”

It’s located on the campus of his main company called Flavorman, which creates drinks for companies.

Dafoe said he determined there was a need for such a place while attending a seminar.

“I realized in the three day convention they were having there was nowhere to go in the United States to learn how to be a craft distillery,” Dafoe said.  “How to start one, operate it, sell product.”

That’s exactly what Moonshine University does over a week-long course.


Jobs in the Distilling Industry

November 18th, 2016


So you want to get into the distilling industry? Well we’ve taken the liberty of breaking down what jobs are out there to choose from.  Whether you’re the face of the company working the more glamorous aspects of the job or you’re pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into making the actual spirit, you are part of the greatest industry out there. Distilling.

Head/Lead Distiller-As I’m sure you guessed, this is the big dog on campus. Depending on distillery size, you may also be the owner of the distillery if you have this title. You are the one who knows and controls the ins and outs of what goes on in the distillery. Generally you will need at least a few years of experience, an education in science or engineering is a plus, and being a creative problem solver is certainly helpful. Oh and TTB paperwork…lots and lots of TTB paperwork will pass over your desk.  So if you don’t like doing hours of government paperwork every week, make sure you find a sucker who is willing to take this on for you.



September 20th, 2016

8th Street Ventures (Flavorman) Financials and News | 100 Fastest-Growing Inner City Businesses


Flavorman, founded in 1992 by current CEO and passionate flavor formulation aficionado, David Dafoe, creates, develops, and commercializes beverages for companies in every beverage category on every continent. In 2006, in an example of business needs overlapping with community needs, Dafoe turned an abandoned building in inner city Louisville with no windows, electricity, or running water into one of the nation’s preeminent beverage facilities. In 2013, Dafoe recognized there was no place in the country to learn how to open and operate a distillery so he purchased a dilapidated garage next door to Flavorman and opened Moonshine University, the only place in the United States dedicated to learning the distillery business. To date, with just more than 30 incredibly productive employees, the company has developed over 800 beverages for over 450 clients including four of the world’s five largest distilleries, educated almost 500 people in 15 countries about distilling and worked with such recognizable companies as Sunsweet, MillerCoors and Ocean Spray.



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