The Scotch Whisky Research Institute

The Scotch Whisky Research Institute is tasked with identifying and evaluating new technologies that may offer benefits to our members. This may be by identifying established technologies used in other sectors and applying them to whisky production or by working with third-party suppliers to help develop specific technologies for our industry. Additionally, we develop new processes based on our own fundamental research to address specific challenges.

One of the main areas in which we are currently seeking new technology is in anti-counterfeiting and authenticity. SWRI scientists are world experts in the field of identifying counterfeit spirit drinks and are leading the Spirit Drinks package of the Food Integrity project, a major Pan-European project aimed at tackling food fraud. Key to this effort is the development of sensors and rapid methods for the analysis of suspect products, particularly those that are field-portable and can be used at point-of-sale or distribution.

We continually monitor advances in all areas of science to identify opportunities that will benefit our members. To support distillery processing, we have helped to develop new analytical tools, such as Flow Cytometry to monitor fermentation performance and Near-infrared Spectroscopy for assessing grain quality. As part of our efforts to help manage the cereal supply chain, we collaborate with plant breeders and plant scientists to apply genetic fingerprinting technology to improve the distilling quality of wheat and barley. Similarly, to help manage the supply of high quality casks to the industry, we have developed a method to extend the useful life of casks and improve their maturation potential. 

Research: Alternative Technology