Sensory science underpins most of our fundamental and applied research on the production process. Our sensory scientists develop methodologies to analyse whisky and other spirit drinks and manage the data generated by our in-house sensory panel.
We recruit from a range of academic and professional backgrounds, including the wider food and drink industry, analytical labs, newly qualified science graduates and PhDs, as well as those who have previously worked in the Scotch Whisky industry. We offer comprehensive training and development. Many of our scientists have gained industry specific qualifications such as the Diploma in Distilling awarded by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.
Our processing experts work on all aspects of primary production and require expertise in analytical chemistry, statistics and a broad and detailed understanding of the Scotch Whisky production process.
Our analytical chemists contribute to all of our fundamental and applied research. They carry out and develop operating procedures for various chromatographic techniques and have expertise in GC, HPLC, UPLC and various detection methods (MS, UV).
Our maturation scientists are dedicated to understanding the fundamental process of spirit maturation, cask performance and the effect of the warehouse environment on mature whisky quality and spirit losses. This requires knowledge of the chemistry and biology of oak wood, physics and environmental science.
Our microbiologists work on all aspects of yeast and fermentation performance using both traditional microbiological techniques, microscopy and flow cytometry.
Our cereal scientists carry out analysis of new cereal varieties to determine how they will perform in the distillery in terms of their processing characteristics (viscosity) and alcohol yield. We have experts in cereal processing, such as malting, as well as fundamental crop science, including plant genetics and physiology.
Careers at SWRI
The Research & Technology Organisation of the Scotch Whisky Industry
The Scotch Whisky Research Institute currently employs 26 people, the majority in scientific roles. Cross-functional working is critical to success and although all of our scientists require a fundamental understanding of the whisky production process, we have specialists in cereal science, maturation, analytical chemistry, sensory science and microbiology.
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