The Research & Technology Organisation of the Scotch Whisky Industry

Collaborating Partners & Projects

The Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC) brings together academic researchers with plant breeders and the end-users of various crop plants. SWRI’s Director of Research is part of the CIRC steering committee, ensuring that this research has relevance to the distilling industry. Of interest to distillers are projects looking at grain skinning (Scotland’s Rural College), malting efficiency (John Innes Centre), the processability of malting barley (James Hutton Institute) and wheat starch properties (National Institute of Agricultural Botany). The research is part-funded by government through the Biology & Biotechnology Research Council with additional financial input from its industrial members.



The MATIN Project - The MATIN (Maturation Innovation) project brought together our member companies and the SWRI Maturation group with the Building Research Establishment (the Research & Technology Organisation for the building industry). Part-funded by the UK Government through Innovate UK, the project examined how warehouse design and construction influences the warehouse environment and how this in turn influences spirit losses during maturation. The outputs of this project are now being used by our members to inform warehouse design, construction and refurbishment.​


Soft Wheat Project – To support grain distilling we are working with a plant breeder (KWS), another food and drink sector research organisation (Campden BRI) and other industrial end-users (Nestlé, United Biscuits and ADM Milling) to develop a new soft wheat variety with improved processing properties such as low viscosity and high alcohol yield. This project is part-funded by Innovate UK through the Agri-Tech Catalyst scheme.


The Food Integrity Project - Our Product Protection research group is engaged in a Pan-European project, which has a total of over €9 million of EU Framework 7 funding across the 38 consortium partners. The spirit drinks work package of the Food Integrity project brings together academic and industry scientists, experts in sensor technology and equipment manufacturers. The overall aim is to develop novel laboratory and field-based technologies to identify counterfeit food and drink products. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No. 613688.



IMPROMALT – To support malt distilling we are working on a £2.5 million, five-year LINK project funded by the Biology & Biotechnology Research Council, the Scottish Government and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds. The aim of the IMPROMALT project is to improve the quality and resilience of UK malting barley. The consortium combines the research expertise of the James Hutton Institute and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany with the breeding skills and resources of KWS UK, Limagrain, RAGT, Saaten Union, Secobra and Syngenta, as well as the malting and distilling expertise of the Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain (MAGB) and SWRI.



PhD and Masters studentships - Our members benefit from research undertaken by Masters and PhD students as part of our collaborative research with a number of academic institutions including the University of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt University, the University of Nottingham and the Université de la Rochelle. Research topics include the influence of peat source on flavour, yeast performance during fermentation and the development of high-resolution analytical techniques to study Scotch Whisky composition.



Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre - SWRI is a member of IBioIC, the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre. Based in Glasgow, IBioIC brings together academics and industrial end-users to generate new technology which will generate economic growth based on sustainable industry. Membership of IBioIC facilitates access to a network of experts in many different disciplines and acts as a platform from which SWRI can attract the interest of other science and technology providers who can bring new technology and innovation to the industry. www.ibioic.com




​Examples of our collaborative research projects and consortia include: