Kansas State Wildcats Get Their Own Licensed Whiskey

By Hannah Kanik / September 9, 2021

Kansas State University Athletics and Boot Hill Distillery recently partnered to launch Wabash Reserve, the Wildcats’ first officially licensed whiskey. 

Fans of a legal drinking age can purchase the new whiskey locally. Wabash Reserve was distilled by K-State alumni at Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City, Kansas, and was made from grain grown on Boot Hill Distillery’s farm.

“We are thrilled to work with fellow K-Stater Hayes Kelman (Owner/CEO) and his entire Boot Hill Distillery staff on this unique and exciting project, which we know will be popular with our fans,” Athletics Director Gene Taylor said in a prepared statement. “There are very few universities with officially branded whiskey partnerships, and we are appreciative of the work of our staff, our partners at Learfield, Affinity licensing, the great people at Boot Hill and all of the statewide businesses who will carry this premium beverage.”

Wabash Reserve

Wabash Reserve (image via Kansas State Athletics)

Each bottle purchased goes to support K-State and an alumni-owned Kansas company. 

“Whiskey brings people together. K-State to me has always brought people together, so if we can combine K-State & this Wabash Reserve/Boot Hill Distillery & we can bring people together to enjoy a good, high-quality glass of whiskey & talk about K-State & all the great things we have going, that’s success in my opinion,” Hayes Kelman, owner, founder, CEO and distiller at Boot Hill Distillery.

Wabash Reserve is described as a high-wheat Kansas Bourbon and has a mash bill of 55% corn, 35% wheat and 10% unmalted barley. It is bottled at 90-proof and was aged two years. 

The distillery said in official tasting notes it has hints of leather, dried fruit and allspice on the nose and roasted sweet corn, orange peel and caramel on the palate.

“Our goal with this project is to bring people together,” Kelman said. “Whiskey brings people together and K-State is a place that brings people together, so what better way to do this than for all K-Staters to be able to gather and enjoy a high-quality glass of whiskey.”

The product is available at local liquor stores across the state of Kansas and in restaurants and bars across the state.

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