Bourbon, brew, and Louisville Water: supporting Kentucky’s beverage industries

Louisville Water often says it’s “bourbon’s best friend,” and now it’s official. The company is now a Partner Member of the Kentucky Distillers Association and received an official welcome during the association’s annual meeting in Bardstown this week.

“You can’t have good bourbon without good water,” said KDA President Eric Gregory.

The association’s Partner Members have a direct link to Kentucky’s bourbon industry but do not distill spirits. This type of membership allows partners to connect with industry leaders and key staff, join conversations on a range of issues, bring new ideas and perspectives to the table, and take advantage of KDA resources, networking and support.

There are more than a dozen distilleries in Louisville Water’s service area, and several others use Louisville Pure Tap™ through the company’s wholesale operations. KDA recently announced a record for Kentucky bourbon: more than 10 million barrels in inventory.

Louisville Water plays an especially important role in Kentucky’s signature drink because the company’s treatment and quality control processes result in water with a minimized level of metals as well as a calcium content and alkalinity level that support production of high-quality bourbon.

Louisville Water also plays an important role because the water’s great taste supports the flavor of bourbon whether it’s part of the distilling process or added as a few drops or a “rock” in a drink when a bourbon lover enjoys the beverage. In addition, water is the only ingredient that can be added to bourbon once it leaves a barrel and goes into a bottle.

Louisville Water also participated in another beverage industry event this week. At the Kentucky Guild of Brewers’ annual conference, which brought craft beer brewers from across the state, Louisville Water scientist Mark Campbell gave a presentation focused on water chemistry and treatment.

“The talk provided an overview of drinking water requirements for municipal water treatment in Kentucky and highlighted the key treatment processes that influence tap water quality,” Campbell said. “I focused on the aspects of source water and treatment that influence the specific qualities of tap water that are crucial for water used in brewing beer.”

The presentation also highlighted the expansion of the craft beer industry across Kentucky, “which prompted some great follow-up discussion about regional water differences and similarities,” Campbell added. “I urged the audience to engage with their local water supplier as they will likely find a helpful technical resource and maybe even a customer. The audience seemed to really enjoy the talk. The discussion ran over time, and we continued to discuss later in the day.”

An Affiliate Member of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, Louisville Water also provided a hydration station for the conference. Campbell as well as Larry Bryant, Louisville Water Director of Production Operations, and Kayla Hinrichs, Public Relations Specialist, staffed a table to answer brewers’ questions during the event.

Hinrichs said many brewers stopped by the table “to chat about their own unique water challenges. It was exciting to engage with a mix of local Pure Tap fans and brewers from other water service areas.”