Written by Daniel O’connell
For centuries, Distillation has been described as a mature and stand-stood technology that no longer requires attention from research and development. This may have been the case, back in the simpler times when a glass of gin and tonic was the most exotic drink available on a Friday night after a long week’s work, however, the alcohol industry has got a new lease of life in the past ten years and the various types of drinks available now need their very own dictionary.
Distilleries all around the world found a surge in the mixology of spirits due to trends, whether it’s gin, whisky, and even the first-ever developed alcoholic drink, mead, which is bringing a new innovative face to the game.
Gin already has been a highly demanded drink for generations with major profitability. Recently the industry has joined forces with new technology creating new variants by researching new botanical mixtures, investigating of new filtration methods which allow distillers to produce successful new flavoursome products. The complexity behind this creativity is far from easy and requires a lot of attention to detail and copious amounts of trial and error.
Previously when you would walk into an off-license and see that the range of whisky you would include is high-end brands with original blends. Nowadays we see a range of whiskies that have blends of seaweed, honey, chilis etc. whatever crazy concoction you can think of, you can be sure a distiller has more than likely already had it in their list of ideas. Production of whisky is a difficult and tedious process that requires diligence. With the increasing technology of whisky distillation, R&D plays a massive role in finding the success path of new production of whisky.
Although the distillation of Gin & Whisky is currently stealing the spotlight, other spirits are making their own journey to new traits of inventive development. Let’s face it alcohol has been around from nearly the beginning of time, so it is safe to assume that the alcohol industry is saturated, therefore research and development play a key part in finding new innovative solutions to seek success.
The new-age trends of distillation are becoming more accountable on R&D. If we take the latest craze of premixed spirits cans. Distillers had to go back to the initial drawing board of processes by trailing with new raw materials, changing the alcohol content of the product, extending the shelf life of the product. These examples are just minimal areas of modifications that are required to finalize the product.
Depending on the flavour used, distillation methods must be adjusted for each fruit type and variety. Production of various kinds of fruit spirits requires an individual approach based on expertise, knowledge and a firm understanding of desirable spirit quality.