Keynote Speaker

Dr. Heist is well known in the beverage alcohol industry for problem solving skills relative to the microbiology and biochemistry of fermentation. Education includes B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Kentucky in Plant Pathology and microbiology-related fields. Dr. Heist spent 6 years as a Medical Microbiology Professor at Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine before co-founding Ferm Solutions, Inc.

Ferm Solutions is a provider of yeast, fermentation products and technical services to hundreds of distilleries in the U.S. and worldwide. Dr. Heist and his research team collaborate with industrial and academic partners on projects related to controlling bacterial contamination during alcohol production and yeast strain selection and improvement for Bourbon and other distilled spirits and have published multiple times.

In 2013, Dr. Heist, along with his business partner Shane Baker, co-founded Wilderness Trail Distillery, which is currently one of the fastest growing premium bourbon whiskey distilleries and in nine short years has grown to become the 14th largest Bourbon producer in the U.S. and the 18th member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Dr. Heist also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the James B. Beam Institute in the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky. He has published and contributed to numerous research articles, such as this one about yeast’s role in bourbon production.

Watch Dr. Heist's TedTalk

Keynote Address: Academics to Industry- Realizing the American Dream Through Teaching

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