By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky
In a room full of beverage architects and quality control managers, Louisville Water Company had a tough crowd to please with its signature water tasting.
Louisville Water’s Kelley Dearing Smith and Water Quality Manager Chris Bobay joined Moonshine University and Flavorman employees to provide an overview of one of the region’s most vital resources – water.
Moonshine University is an education provider that offers technical training and business management guidelines for start-ups, industry professionals and those looking for careers in the distilling industry. Flavorman, which is coincidentally located right next door, specializes in beverage formation with a technical expertise in development of some of the world’s largest brands.
Dearing Smith opened the presentation with an overview of Louisville Pure Tap®’s history starting in 1860, marketing a product only few would drink. From the very beginning, bourbon distillers were some of Louisville Water’s most faithful customers, Dearing Smith said.
From there, she outlined the mark water has made on the Commonwealth, touching every major industry our economy relies on for growth – from agriculture to distilling to manufacturing.
Louisville Water has been reiterating this message through its Water Grows KY campaign, a statewide educational initiative, highlighting water’s vital and often unexpected role in Kentucky’s largest industries like distilling.
Governor Andy Beshear recently announced that in 2022 Kentucky recorded its best year for growth of its signature bourbon and spirits industry, with over $2.1 billion in new investments and approximately 700 new jobs for Kentucky residents.
Dearing Smith ended her portion of the presentation with a water tasting, much like a bourbon tasting you’d experience at one of the many distilleries on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. Four small tasting glasses were placed on a mat. Dearing Smith instructed the attendees to pick up each glass one at a time first inspecting the color of the water, then the smell and finally the taste.
Words like, “bubbles, thick, magnesium, plastic, softer, neutral, and lingering” filled the room after each blind sip.
After the final glass, Dearing Smith revealed the waters in order from top to bottom – Aquafina, Purified Water from Walmart, Deer Park and Louisville Pure Tap®.
The crowd was pleasantly surprised to hear that one of their favorites was Louisville Pure Tap®. Water Quality Manager Chris Bobay explained how the company arrives at its signature taste and the guiding principles they use – safety, taste and meeting the customer’s standards.
The process begins with physical removal of particles, followed by disinfection of the water from the Ohio River and ends with filtration. Every day, 200 tests are completed before any water leaves the plant, ensuring that every drop is held to the same standard.
For Kadeja Davis, a lab manager at Flavorman, water is something she uses daily. And yet, it’s still something she admits she takes for granted, too.
“I didn’t realize the impact (water) has on our society, although I carry around my one-gallon jug,” Davis laughed. “But still – I don’t think it’s in perspective how important it is. Water is in everything we do, I mean, every single thing, it’s in the air! So, I don’t know if I realized this so fully until today.”
For Collin Blake, Director of Spirits Education at Moonshine University, talking water was nothing new to him, but the technical aspect made all the difference for him and his colleagues.
“For both Moonshine University and Flavorman, water is such an important thing for both of us and to get that deeper dive and be able to talk to experts on what’s happening so that we can actually translate, it is hugely beneficial,” Blake said.
Learn how water can grow your business at WaterGrowsKY.com.