Bourbon Education Becomes A MBA In Kentucky

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In a story you would only see out of Kentucky, you can now get a MBA in bourbon education. That is to say, it is actually a MBA with Tourism & Event Management concentration focused in the bourbon tourism industry. Midway University is the offering this, alongside a new Minor in Bourbon Studies for undergraduate students.

Given that bourbon is a $3 billion signature industry in Kentucky, generating 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll of $700 million, it is a no brainer these programs have come to life. Students interested in this MBA program can get started at any time, said the university, noting

there are core MBA courses required for every student earning their MBA and then students can choose from among several courses for the 18 credit hour area of concentration. Those area of concentration courses will begin in fall 2016. All of the area of concentration courses will be offered at the Midway campus in the afternoons or evenings and will include many hands-on experiences and trips to area distilleries. Other MBA courses can be completed online which offers working students more flexibility.

“Our goal is to take Bourbon education to the next level,” said Dr. Tricia Day, the program coordinator for Midway, in a statement. “We want to bridge the gap between the manufacturing side of the industry and the enthusiasts’ interest in bourbon as a craft.  The program is designed to combine the two perspectives with a focus on education.  We want our graduates to be highly sought after leaders in the tourism industry.  I see our graduates working in a variety of settings–distilleries and tour operations, local and state convention and visitors’ bureaus, retail and distribution outlets, and hotels and restaurants.”

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Day added that while there are emerging programs focused on the manufacturing and distillation processes that include bourbon, there are currently no programs focused upon “consumer education, interpretation and sensory evaluation.”


image via Kentucky Distillers Association

Should the MBA not quite be up your alley, the new Minor in Bourbon Studies aims to help undergraduate majors in areas such as business administration or marketing better understand “the culture and business of the Bourbon industry. Courses are designed to give students the history of the industry, learn and talk about the Bourbon tasting experience, understand the role of Bourbon in Kentucky’s tourism and hospitality industry and be prepared to gain entry level employment in the Bourbon industry or the supporting tourism industry.”

And yes, in case you are wondering, some classes will effectively card you to make sure you are at least 21 years of age on the first day.