WVU Industrial Extension Energy Assessment at Smooth Ambler Spirits


The manufacturing connection between the WVU Industrial Extension and spirits producer Smooth Ambler may not seem obvious at first. Anyone who has worked in the food and beverage industry knows that it is definitely manufacturing. Agricultural production works with many of the same processes and principles as companies that are typically considered manufacturers. Smooth Ambler is poised to take full advantage of many of the WVUIE offerings to continually improve their business.

In October, Dr. Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan, the Director of the DOE/WVOE/EPA/USDA funded Industrial Assessment Center at West Virginia University, and a team of WVU graduate students performed an energy assessment for Smooth Ambler. The WVUIE has coordinated several of these affordable-to-free assessments for manufacturers. The on-site assessment identified energy improvement opportunities and confirmed that many current energy-saving techniques were working as expected. Suggestions ranged from improvements to the steam system, evaporators to remove wastewater, to motion sensitive lighting in rarely used areas. High-end thermal imaging identified areas where the insulation on pipes wasn’t performing as well as it could.

During the energy assessment, Travis Hammond the operations manager at Smooth Ambler and the WVUIE identified additional opportunities to collaborate on business improvement. A mock OSHA inspection has been scheduled with the WVUIE’s Industrial Health and Safety team. Smooth Ambler is also exploring WVUIE’s management systems offerings with a possible long-term goal of receiving an ISO9001 certification.

Smooth Ambler is a great example of the diversity of clients serviced by the WVUIE. The WVU Industrial Extension is focused on helping small and mid-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. If you have questions about how the WVUIE can help your business, we want to hear from you.

Jamie Cope – Manager Business Development