The Scotch Whisky Research Institute

Minimising Maturation Losses

Whisky production is energy intensive but there are various parts of the process where consumption can be reduced. SWRI has carried out research and made practical recommendations to help its members successfully implement energy saving measures in distillery and bottling hall processes.

We carry out research to help distillers minimise spirit losses during maturation. There are two main aspects to this. Firstly, understanding the different ways in which spirit is lost to improve cask integrity and secondly, examining how the warehouse environment influences the rate of loss. 

Research: Conversion Efficiency

We conduct research to develop a fundamental understanding of yeast physiology and assess the effect of fermentation conditions (e.g. temperature) on yeast performance and alcohol yield. By applying this knowledge, we help distillers to enhance fermentation performance to increase alcohol yield whilst reducing energy and water usage in the distillery.

Distillers continually search for ever greater efficiencies in an effort to reduce costs and increase return on investment. The success of Scotch Whisky in markets globally means that production requirements have increased significantly in recent years. Additionally, there is a need to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint and energy consumption. Our research ensures that distillers can meet this increase in demand without impacting on spirit quality and flavour.

The production process involves a number steps, all of which are a target for increasing efficiency. Efficiencies can be found in optimising the processing of raw materials (cereals), maximising alcohol yields through more efficient fermentation, reducing spirit losses from casks during maturation and reducing the amount of energy used in production. SWRI helps members improve efficiency in all of these areas while mitigating the effects of any changes to the production process on spirit composition. 

Reducing Energy Consumption

Improving Fermentation and Yeast Performance