Ferm Solutions and Wilderness Trail Distillery Receive Small Biz Manufacturer of the Year

The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) announced that Wilderness Trail Distillery and Ferm Solutions won its Manufacturer of the Year Award in the small business category.

Established in 1911, the association advocates for manufacturers. Its mission is to create and protect a manufacturing-friendly environment. The awards were selected based on the following criteria.

  • Innovative and entrepreneurial leadership with regard to products, production method, or services;
  • Recognized leadership in making a key contribution to the quality of life in the Commonwealth and the community; and
  • Active involvement in organizations that advance industry and manufacturing.

“It is a great honor to receive the prestigious Manufacturer of the Year Award from the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and to be recognized alongside other great companies. It is a major milestone for our small family-owned company and we believe it demonstrates the pride and abilities within our team and support from our community,” says Shane Baker, who is co-owner of Wilderness Trail Distillery and Ferm Solutions with Pat Heist.

Ferm Solutions & Wilderness Trail Distillery New Facility
Wilderness Trail Distillery and Ferm Solutions
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“This is our sixteenth year of celebrating the best of the best in manufacturing in Kentucky,” stated KAM President & CEO Greg Higdon. “As has become the norm, we received many worthy nominations this year, making our selection committee’s job a difficult one, but well worth the effort. We thank the committee for their diligent work and congratulate all of our many nominees, and our 2016 winners.”

Baker and Heist founded Ferm Solutions in 2006 as a research, product development, engineering and technical services provider to the ethanol and distilled spirits industries. The company has consistently been recognized as an innovator in the fermentation and distilling industry.

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In 2013, the two expanded their business and founded Wilderness Trail Distillery, a craft spirits distillery that produces bourbon, rye whiskey, vodka and a unique rum made from Kentucky sorghum molasses. With the boom in craft spirits and based on their success in the industry, Wilderness Trail Distillery recently built a brand new distillery and expanded production from two barrels a day to 12 barrels a day. They plan on expanding production again once they complete construction on a brand new barrel warehouse capable of holding 10,800 barrels.

Wilderness Trail Distillery has become a major tourist attraction along the Kentucky Bourbon. The distillery is a leader in environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes — utilizing the first clean-steam boiler, implementing closed-loop processes to become a zero-discharge facility, and by using existing processes to provide cooling to their entire facility without additional energy usage.

In addition to running Ferm Solutions and Wilderness Trail Distillery Baker and Heist teach beer, wine, and distilled spirits curricula at their facility and at several area colleges.

You can learn more about Ferm Solutions yeasts, enzymes, training and other services here.

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Cover Photo: From left, Greg Higdon, President of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, Shane Baker, co-owner of Ferm Solutions and Wilderness Trail Distillery, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Pat Heist, co-owner of of Ferm Solutions and Wilderness Trail Distillery, and Gary Stewart of the awards selection committee.

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