DISTILLERS GRAINS REVERSE PITCH

Bourbon: From the grains to the glass.
Love it. Drink it. Sustain it.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

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BOURBON IS BOOMING...
AND KENTUCKY COULDN'T BE HAPPIER

The growth of bourbon’s popularity across the world in the last 20 years shows no signs of slowing down and Kentucky as a state is thriving while growing with the demand.

 

However, alongside these successes are challenges. With the rise of bourbon and boutique distilleries comes the rise of distilling byproducts, aka “stillage/spent grain.” This unique combination of circumstances has created an opportunity for innovative solutions in one of the state’s signature industries.

 
 

THE DETAILS

Team Kentucky is seeking new and innovative technologies and solutions from problem solvers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses for expanded uses of distilling byproduct (stillage) to pitch in a five-minute presentation to distillers and industry stakeholders at the 25th Distillers Grains Symposium on October 25, 2021.

The submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel and 5-6 solutions will be selected to pitch.

 

Prior to pitching the ideas to distillers, the selected individuals/teams will have the opportunity to refine their pitch by collaborating with entrepreneurship/pitch experts leading up to the pitch. The goal of this event is to foster further collaboration between Kentucky’s distilleries and stakeholders. If selected, the presenters should be prepared to move forward with their ideas alongside distilleries and stakeholders to implement their ideas to address the surplus of stillage in Kentucky.

All winners who are selected to pitch at the 25th Distillers Grains Symposium will receive some amazing prizes that have been graciously provided by the Kentucky Distillers Association, Team Kentucky, and the James B. Beam Institute.

1st Place – The top team will be awarded a feature presentation to an audience of >500 distillery professionals from across Kentucky at the James B. Beam Institute Industry Conference in March 2022. This presentation will give the winning team the opportunity to showcase their technology for the Commonwealth's distillers annual event alongside the latest in distilled spirits science and technology.

The team will also receive a one-of-a-kind engraved bourbon barrel top recognizing the event and first place winner signed by Governor Andy Beshear including a gift basket of local Kentucky treats, KDA’s Maker’s Mark Private Selection bourbon and a collection of the event’s partner distilleries bourbon.

Runner-up Teams - Each runner up will be presented with a Kentucky bourbon gift basket. The gift basket will include a bottle of bourdon donated by the KDA including sipping glasses and other local Kentucky treats.

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THE PROBLEM

The number of distilleries is up 250% over the last 10 years, per the KDA. The industry is expected to continue its strong growth pattern through 2025.

  • For every gallon of bourbon produced, approximately 10 gallons of distilling byproduct(stillage) is left over.

  • More than one billion gallons of stillage are produced from all distilling operations in
    Kentucky.

  • The demand for stillage, with the current industry uses for traditional low-tech uses, is declining while the supply is increasing.

 
 

THE OPPORTUNITY

In order for the industry to properly deal with stillage, there will likely need to be

multi-pronged, overlapping efforts as the industry, technologies and partnerships evolve.

  • The objective is to collate a variety of solutions for stakeholders to review, explore, and implement to sustainably and economically use the excess stillage in Kentucky.

  • Submitted solutions can target a particular distillery size; they do not have to be applicable for all distilleries.

Writing a Sticky Note

IDEAL SOLUTIONS

  • 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 an equipment/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 in the solution (i.e. distillery, end-user, other party, etc…).

  • Highlight the financial, sustainability, and environmental benefits of the solution.

  • Explain if/what testing/pilot demonstration has taken place and was it successful.

  • Highlight the scalability of the solution.

  • Project the solution’s implementation/start-up time.

 
 

WHO'S ELIGIBLE

Solution submissions are open to anyone who has a potential viable solution for use of

stillage and is committed to executing the solution.

 

This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Students

  • Researchers

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Inventors

  • Businesses

  • Farmers

  • Environmentalists

Submissions will be accepted until Monday, August 30th, 2021.

Image by Jonathan Petersson

INDUSTRY CONTEXT

Whole stillage, which is mostly water, is acidic and has a high biological oxygen demand.

 

  • COD = Chemical Oxygen Demand

  • Kentucky Odor Standard Information: Reference (401 KAR 53:010)

  • Roughly 350 gallons of whole stillage is created per barrel of whiskey made.

  • Lagoon/Waste Handling: If excess, unconsumed, distillers grains are put in lagoons, a farm must first get a Industrial Kentucky No Discharge Operational Permit or Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) permit, because the distillers grains is an industrial waste.

INDUSTRY NUMBERS

Stillage Type

Solids %

Useful Life

Current Uses

Whole Stillage

(Thick Slop)

15-20%

2-3 Days

Primary form of stillage for distilleries under 5MM proof gallons.

 

Sewer discharge

 

Farm Animal Feed (100% of small & medium distilleries, 20-30% of large distilleries)

 

On-site processing (most large distilleries)

Wet "Thin"

Stillage

4-6%

1-2 Days

Syrup product - high protein liquid for animal feed (primarily beef and dairy cattle).

Modified

"Wet Cake"

28-50%

~1 Week

High moisture feed

Combined with syrup and hauled away or dried for animal feed use.

Dried Distillers

Grains

85-95%

Extended Shelf Life

Animal feed and supplements.

Image by Matt Hoffman

25th DISTILLERS GRAINS SYMPOSIUM

The Reverse Pitch will take place during the 25th Distillers Grains Symposium

at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, Kentucky on October 25th.

Guests can register now to attend the Reverse Pitch

CONTACT US

For technical questions, please email: bourbonreversepitch@gmail.com or complete the below form.