Bourbon Barrel Ale headed to China

As President Obama meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday to talk about trade restrictions, a Lexington-made beer has made its way to China.

Alltech's Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale was introduced Sunday to the Beijing Horse Association. After that event, Alltech received its first Chinese order for 40 cases of the ale.

The order, placed by the Qingdao Bao Hu Village Horse Club, will be used as VIP gifts in celebration of the Chinese New Year, Alltech said in a news release. With more than 200 members, it is the largest horse club in the Shandong province, even though it is only two years old.

"It is a real beer for the horse person," said Yu Rui Zong, president of the horse club.

The beer is made at Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. in downtown Lexington. The company has made beer since 2000, and it introduced Bourbon Barrel Ale in 2006. The beer is put into used bourbon barrels so each barrel imparts flavor to the beer.

The Chinese equine industry is growing rapidly, with more than 400 horse clubs registered in the country. Building on its recognition as the title sponsor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Nicholasville-based Alltech chose to introduce its Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale first to China's equestrian community.

"In terms of total national beer consumption, China ranks highest in the world, and the Chinese people have traditionally had a unique relationship with the horse," said Roland Matyasi, East Asia marketing manager for Alltech.

"It is natural then for Alltech to introduce itself to the Chinese equine community through this distinctive Kentucky brew, which we hope to make available to all major Chinese riding clubs," Matyasi said. "Once the official beer of the Alltech DEI World Equestrian Games, we now want to see Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale as the beer of the Chinese horse community."

Alltech hopes to introduce other products into China. With Lifeforce, a natural daily equine supplement being registered in China, Alltech hopes that the ale will pave the way for additional products into the Chinese equine community.