WATCH: New California Distiller Nixes Wooden Barrels, Claims to Make a More Sustainable Whiskey in Lab
The world is changing. We are in a new era, where people care about the environment and their carbon footprint. In Silicon Valley, Martin Janousek and Stu Aaron have found a way to make whiskey without using any oak barrels or wood from trees. Their new brand Bespoken Spirits uses syringes and beakers instead of large oak casks to distill the alcohol.
Bespoken Spirits was founded on the idea that modern science, technology and data may be used to create, engineer and precisely control a spirit’s color, aroma, and most importantly, flavor. Bespoken Spirits instills the barrel in the spirit instead of leaving it in a barrel waiting for nature to take its course.
This sustainable method appears successful: Bespken Spirits can produce some 10,000 bottles per year without chopping down any forests.
Sustainable Whiskey Lab Method
According to ESM Magazine, the spirit undergoes three to five days in a metal barrel-like keg. The oxidation process is accelerated by the technology, changing the whiskey’s flavor and extracting color, smell and taste profile from a piece of oak about the size of a pinky finger.
After the oak is charred in the laboratory, it is cut into tiny pieces known as microstaves, which are roughly 1/25,000th the size of a genuine barrel. Janousek, a material scientist and company co-founder, said this enables them to use 97% less wood.
They may also avoid cutting down trees and spending years storing barrels in a controlled environment. Because of the short maturation time, Bespoken doesn’t lose liquid to evaporation, which is known as the “angel’s share.” This enables them to use 20% less water, Aaron said.
Bespoken Spirits has found a great way of doing both by innovating on its whiskey distillation process with new technology. Will this trend catch on? Only time will tell, but it is another great example of the spirits industry looking to take sustainable steps in their processes.
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